Recipe From Paula Deen at foodnetwork.com
Every year I have a bumper crop of zucchini and yellow squash. I’ve asked myself, what do you do with so much squash? Years ago I researched zucchini bread recipes and made a number of them to figure out which one I liked best. It was an easy decision. This is by far the best Zucchini Bread recipe I’ve ever made. I make this by the dozen every Summer and freeze them so I get to enjoy Zucchini Bread all winter long made with my own garden fresh Zucchini. There’s just something about this recipe, aside from being delicious, that makes it so great. I’m pretty sure it’s the crust-like texture this bread forms while baking. It’s almost like a very thin, sweet crust forms around the bread. It’s just slightly crunchy while deliciously sweet without being too sweet. And, following my grandmother’s tradition, she always added maraschino cherries to her Zucchini Bread. Although the recipe doesn’t call for them, I add them. There is no measurement, however many you’d like. It doesn’t interfere with the recipe or baking. I must warn you, this bread is addicting. Once you try it, you’ll realize why I freeze so many loaves.
3 1/4 cups all-purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3 cups Sugar
1 cup vegetable Oil
4 Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup Water
2 cups grated Zucchini
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans
As always, I line up all my ingredients so everything is ready to go. And, I put everything away as I finish with them so there’s essentially no clean up, aside from dishes, once they go in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and sugar. Mix it well. Depending on how much you do or don’t like cinnamon and/or nutmeg, you can always adjust them to your taste.
In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice (I use fresh lemons) and the maraschino cherries if you’d like. Stir until it’s all combined.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold in the chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts).
The instructions call for greasing 2 standard loaf pans, yes, this recipe makes TWO LOAVES. I use 9.25 by 5.25 inch pans. I spray them good with cooking spray. However, after years of making this recipe, I’ve learned that the loaves like to stick to the pans despite the cooking spray. It happens every single year. I’ve learned to cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the bottom of the pan and line the loaf pan with the parchment paper. Spray the pans with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper then spray again with cooking spray. It’s so much easier and doesn’t destroy the bottom of your Zucchini Bread. You’ll be happy you did. Once the loaf pans are prepped, pour half the bread mix in one pan, and the other half in the other pan.
The instructions call for baking for one hour or until a tester comes out clean. Every oven is different and only you know your oven. I set the timer for one hour but check after 45 minutes just to make sure all is good. They’ll look done but more than likely, they’re not. You can test just to be sure. When the time goes off I do my test. I find that they’re still not done. Most times I have to bake them for another 15 minutes. Again, they’ll look done. They may even look almost to done. They will get golden brown because of that crust-like texture. You’ll just have to be the judge on testing and yes, they will burn. I keep them in the center of the oven and if I’m baking four loaves at once, I carefully turn them and switch their oven shelves.
In the end, you’ll be happy you discovered this recipe. The bake time and extra steps to test them will be well worth the time investment. In the middle of January when it’s thirty below zero and there’s twenty-seven inches of snow on the ground, you’ll be thankful you’ll have this bread and will look forward to the coming Summer so you can make more.