Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Recipe: Zucchini-Raisin Bread

Having put only 2 of the 8 zucchini I harvested earlier in the week to rest using my fried zucchini recipe, I decided to use 4 more to make some zucchini bread today. But oh, what recipe to use? I finally reached for the 1985 Betty Crocker Cookbook. I used to adapt many of my recipes from this cookbook, but then after several moves, lost it. Fortunately, about a year ago, my aunt Barbara had several cookbooks of my grandmother's and invited me to select one. Imagine my delight when I spied this very same cookbook! As a bonus, it contains inserts of some other recipes Grandma liked to make, along with her marginal notes about the tastiness (or lack thereof) of some recipes as well as recorded changes she made to others. Grandma was a wonderful cook, so I am blessed to have this special remembrance of her.

I need to warn you: I seldom, if ever, make a recipe as it is written. I usually object--mildly or strongly--to one or more ingredients for any number of reasons, and therefore end up substituting some other ingredient I prefer, or I may try to make the recipe a bit healthier. My recipe for zucchini-raisin bread is an adaptation of the BCC recipe for zucchini bread. I've tried to "healthify" it a little by substituting organic extra virgin, cold-pressed, olive oil for the shortening. We'll see what effect that has on the finished product. Additionally, the BC cookbook calls for 2/3 c. coarsely chopped nuts, but I really don't care for nuts in soft baked goods--to me, crunching down on a nut in a soft bread or cookie is like biting down on an eggshell piece in a cake. [shiver] So instead, I increased the raisins from 2/3 c. to 1 cup.


2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil (substituted for the same amount of shortening)
2 2/3 c. sugar*
4 eggs
3 c. shredded zucchini
2/3 c. water
3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 c. golden raisins (I prefer these to regular raisins)

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottoms only of two 9x5x3 loaf pans or 3 smaller loaf pans.

Mix oil and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, zucchini, and water. Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Add 2 tsp. vanilla. Stir in raisins. Pour into loaf pans.

Bake until wooden pick or knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Cool slightly. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to a rack. Cool completely before slicing.

*I like to use non-sweetener sugar substitutes when possible, but I haven't tried baking with them yet. I'll experiment sometime with agave nectar (a liquid), stevia (a dried, powdered herb), and Just Like Sugar (a fiber extracted from chicory root).

If you have a zucchini recipe you're willing to share, please post it in the comments--I love trying new recipes! Also, if you have any experience using agave nectar, honey, stevia, or Just Like Sugar in baking, please let me know what you have discovered.

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