Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Low-Sugar Zucchini Bread - Three Ways

(Spiced, “Carrot Cake-ish,” or Chocolate Chip)
A "go to" breakfast bread for us!

            I cringe – physically cringe and gag – when there is too much sugar in a recipe. 

            Whenever I make dessert for other people and I try to pour in the called-for amount of sugar (which is usually double what I put in for my family), I physically cannot make my hand pour the whole amount in.  I start to sweat and panic at the thought of too much sugar.  So I always stop short. 

            Personally, the ratio of sugar to flour that I think is perfectly sweet is about 1 cup sugar to 4-5 cups flour, maybe with a spoonful of sugar sprinkled over the top to trick your mind into thinking that it’s sweeter than it actually is. 

            But the recipe that I found for zucchini bread in a cookbook is more than 1 cup sugar to 2 cups flour.  UGH!  So I made this one with less sugar.  I think that the less sugar you have, the more flavor you can actually taste in your food and the better you feel about yourself.

            Also, since I am lazy and don’t like to make dishes, I do not mix up the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another and then combine.  I mix all the wet ingredients in the bowl, add the flour on top of that, add the baking soda and cinnamon and salt on top of that, flick them around with my fingers to mix them into the flour, and then mix it all up.  Works for me. 
            (Also, I do not usually measure ingredients, except the flour because there is a measuring cup in the container I store it in.  I generally eyeball all the other ingredients and it usually turns out just fine.  But for this recipe, I measured it all to get proper amounts for you.  But feel free to adjust a bit here and there.) 

            I make this bread all winter with pre-shredded and then frozen zucchini.  When zucchini really get growing in summer, just shred them (even huge ones – cut in half, scrap out the big seeds, then shred), measure out 3 ½ cups or so of zucchini per freezer bag (or two or three big handfuls) and then wrap them in foil and freeze them.  Then when you want to use them, thaw them out (I place the bag in warm water), squeeze out the extra water, and use as you normally would.  This zucchini would also work well in shredded zucchini fritters (with a little egg and spices and onion and garlic).  Just pan-fry in oil like pancakes.

 

Heather’s Low-Sugar Zucchini Bread:  Spiced, “Carrot Cake-ish” or Chocolate Chip

In a big bowl, mix:

            3 to 3½ cups shredded zucchini

            3 eggs

            ½ to1 cup applesauce, optional

            ½ cup olive oil, melted butter, coconut oil, or whatever oil you prefer

            1 cup sugar

            1 tablespoon vanilla extract

            (If you are making the spiced zucchini bread, add ¼ cup molasses or sorghum syrup.  Or maybe you would prefer honey or maple syrup for a lighter taste.  Your choice.  You can add or leave out the molasses for the “Carrot Cake-ish” one, depending on your preference.)

 

After mixing this, top with:

            4-5 cups flour, start with less and add more if too runny (I use about 4½ cups of fresh-ground flour that I grind at home)

            1 teaspoon salt

            1 tablespoon baking powder

            (If you are making the spiced zucchini bread or “carrot cake-ish” one, add 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  A little sprinkle of nutmeg or allspice or cloves or ginger might be nice, too.)   
            If you are making the chocolate chip zucchini bread, do not add the cinnamon or molasses, but do add 1 cup chocolate chips.)

            1 cup walnut pieces or pecan pieces, optional

 

            Flick the spices around into the flour then mix it all into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula.  If it’s too dry, add a little water or applesauce.  If too wet, add a little more flour.  Scrap it all into two greased bread pans or one 9x13-inch greased baking dish (or pans of comparable volume).  Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar all over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, but start checking on it after 45 minutes.  Let cool and then remove from the pans if using bread pans.  Serve the spiced one with butter and a drizzle of honey.  Serve the chocolate chip one plain or with a little butter.


            To make the “Carrot Cake-ish” one, add a cream cheese frosting to the spiced one:
            Simply whip together ¼ cup softened butter, 8 oz softened cream cheese, a dash of vanilla, about 3-4 cups powdered sugar (I prefer 3), and a couple spoonfuls of water until it has the spread-ability that you want.  Frost the cooled bread and – presto! – you now have something similar to carrot cake.  (We do not put nuts in the bread because not all of us like nuts.  But if I make it like this, I sprinkle cashews on top of the frosting.  So good!) 

            One recipe made a large "muffin" bread (for my father-in-law) and two small, shallow, rectangle breads (in about 9x6-inch dishes)

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