Weekday breakfasts are a complicated matter.
I am not the sort of person who can have cereal, oatmeal, or toast every single day of the year, as great as they are for folks like me who are married to their computers. Sure, I’ll go through week-long spells of eating one of the aforementioned foods. But then I get bored and move on to the next, and the next, until the cycle repeats itself. Every once in a while (too often, actually), I’ll break down and buy a bagel. But alas, one can’t do that every single day, especially with the amount of cream cheese New York bagel shops typically slather on.
Lately, I’ve gotten back into baking. And hopefully this will solve my breakfast dilemma. My goal is to bake at least one new (healthy-ish) breakfast item a week that can last me 3 or 4 mornings. Then maybe cereal and oatmeal won’t seem so boring after all.
First up is zucchini bread, something we’ve adored in the US since the 1960s. I had been craving zucchini bread since Saturday, when my friend Amy told me she made a loaf to get her vegetable-phobic husband to eat something green. (He ended up loving it.) And I had been wanting to try out a bookmarked zucchini bread recipe from The American Century Cookbook. The author got the recipe in the 1970s from an Illinois woman she interviewed for Family Circle magazine. “This was my first encounter with zucchini bread but by no means my last,” the author wrote. “I have been offered zucchini bread recipes by cooks from all over the country but have yet to find a finer one.”
And it certainly was better than other zucchini bread recipes I’ve tried. There is a good amount of zucchini here, but it still feels like a solid bread. The ground cinnamon and ginger notes are faint but pleasant, and lemon and orange zest add a nice citrusy scent. (I substituted orange zest for the orange extract in the original recipe.) But mostly it was because the outside developed a perfect crust while the insides stayed moist and light.
Now I’m off to look for more bread ideas for next week. If you have a recommendation, let me know!
Makes 1 loaf
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini, packed (about 2 medium zucchini)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a mixer, beat the eggs at medium speed until foamy on top. Continue beating while you carefully add the oil. Add the sugar and cream the mixer on high speed. Add in the zucchini, lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter one cup at a time, stopping the machine once the last cup is well-incorporated so you don’t over-mix. Manually fold in the pecans.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, checking at the 60 minute mark. The bread is done when the top is brown and a butter knife or toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the zucchini bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. (It might fall apart if loosened too soon.) Loosen the bread around the edges with a spatula or butter knife, then turn out onto the rack. Allow it to cool for another 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.
Adapted from The American Century Cookbook by Jean Anderson