Zucchini bread is one of life’s great comforts. Fortunately, it is also one of the simplest recipes in the world. Much like with it’s sibling, Banana Nut Bread, I can live off this from first cut to last crumb. It has veggies in it so that is OK, right? And nuts. Nuts are good for you.
But all kidding aside, this recipe pleases me on several counts. One, I get to make it in my Papaw Virgil’s aluminum tube pan and, two, it is made with a lot of maple syrup. Please remember that I mean real maple syrup here and not maple flavored syrup which is simply a cruel joke on humanity, not really a topping or ingredient of any sort…except in emergencies or at the IHOP. Then it is O.K. There is in fact a time and place for every foodstuff under the sun, but if you are going to invest your time in baking, get the real syrup. You will not look back.
2 cups grated, unpeeled, zucchini (2 medium or 3 small zucchini)
2½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup safflower oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup milk
1 cup pecans, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a tube pan (9″ across) by buttering and flouring it, tapping out the excess flour. You may also use 2 medium loaf pans.
2. Grate the zucchini and press on it with paper towels to remove the excess moisture.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vanilla, oil, and eggs and beat for 2 minutes. Add the syrup, and milk and beat until combined. Add the zucchini and mix until just combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium-low until it is fully incorporated. Add the pecans and mix to combine.
5. Pour the batter (expect a very liquid batter) into the tube pan or loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Adjust the time accordingly if using loaf pans. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a knife loosen the bread gently from the edges of the pan. Invert the bread onto a plate. If the bread doesn’t come out, gently use your fingers to pull the top away from the edges and middle (without so much force as to tear the lovely top). Invert again. You can also give it a firm tap (“thud”) and it should release. Invert the bread again onto a serving plate, pretty side up. Slice and enjoy. For a real treat, eat it warm with softened butter.
Note: In the photo, you can see that I inverted it onto a plate and then laid a cooling rack over it and carefully flipped it back over. This should be done quickly and confidently but with great care…and never with the dog in the kitchen. My dog will beat me to flying food every time.