Well here it is: zucchini season. And well-timed, too. Just as I sense fall is in the air and as if on cue, crave moist, delectable baked goods, zucchini, the moist-and-delectable maker, arrives in droves. You can do a lot with zucchini besides bake with it, but when I know a particularly awesome quick bread or cake could be in my near future, it’s hard to interest me in anything else.
I just got my first batch of zucchini from a friend’s garden and as I was trying to decide what my first bake with it would be, it occurred to me that zucchini might make a hell of a mean gingerbread. Barely a moment’s research later, I was schooled: this was not an original idea by any means, but still, probably a good one. I found a great basic recipe and made it with Eat Healthy flair, as in half the sugar, fat shaved to within an inch of its life and flavor so cranked it’ll rattle your tastebuds and frighten the elderly.
So I was totally surprised when I tried the first slice. I was expecting GINGERBREAD, only moister. What I got was Zucchini Bread Gingerbread. Huh! I thought zucchini would buckle under the weight of the baking equivalent of a truckload of flavors and spices, but no. It stood its dense, moist, zucchini-esque ground, and controlled all the popping flavor firecrackers in a subtle, mannerly way. I have a newfound respect for zucchini after this experience.
So this isn’t zucchini gingerbread. This is Gingered Zucchini Bread, where all the gingerbread flavors you know and love come to play with zucchini bread and have a wonderful time. Instead of wistfully saying goodbye to summer or hitting you in the face with a fall pie, it combines summer and fall tastes – dare I say it – artfully, but I can’t take the credit. It all goes to zucchini.
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup Stevia In The Raw® (count this as 1/2 cup sugar if you’d like to replace it with another sweetener)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup fat-free yogurt (fat-free sour cream and vegan yogurt and sour cream should also work)
3 eggs (even better: use your favorite egg substitute like flaxseeds, banana, etc. I was out of everything.)
1 tablespoon vanilla
the grated zest of 2 oranges, more if you love orange flavor (it comes through pretty subtle in this recipe)
roughly 3 cups shredded zucchini, lightly squeezed to remove some of the excess water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaping tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
walnuts, dried fruit, or whatever else you’d like to stir in
1. Position a rack mid-bottom of the oven, and preheat to 325°. Give two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans a light coating of cooking spray. Shred the zucchini and zest the oranges while the oven’s heating up.
2. Combine all the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Stir and fold until thoroughly combined.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir together well with a whisk.
4. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Repeat. Fold in your optional ingredients if you have some.
5. Divide the batter between the loaf pans. Bake for about 60-65 minutes, or until a tester comes out mostly clean. Let the loaves cool completely on racks before easing them out of the pans with a knife or spatula.
I don’t think I need to say this, but this calculation doesn’t factor in optional ingredients or substitutions.
Per 82g slice: 155 calories; 2.2g fat (.6g sat); 31mg cholesterol; 179mg sodium; 29g carbohydrates; 4.5g protein; 1.2g fiber
Now, I know what you’re saying to yourself. That’s all very well and good Gin, but what about that scrumptious-looking spread you’ve slathered all over your bread? What’s going on there? Well, get this – it’s Easy Homemade Peach Butter, emphasis on the easy, and it tastes like the inside of a peach cobbler in spreadable form. I made it specifically to go with Gingered Zucchini Bread, and it rocked. Peaches and gingerbread WORKS. Plus, 33 calories for two tablespoons, and none of that nasty “I’m low sugar jam from the store” aftertaste. Oh. Yeah.
So here’s the recipe for Easy Homemade Peach Butter. It goes great with this bread, but you can use it on English muffins, bagels, toast, your cat, just about anything. I’m already planning a date with another batch and vanilla ice cream in some shape or form.