The Home Cook
Emily Capo Sauerman
Now is the time for all good Nashvillians to eat zucchini bread
‘Tis the season for squash, zucchini squash that is (fa la la la). Whether your garden is overflowing with squash or you find yourself the recipient of a neighbor’s bumper crop, the question stands: what to do with all this zucchini? Thankfully, the answer is simple: Zucchini bread.
What isn’t simple is how to make it and what recipe to use. Should I add oats, nuts, lemon peel or chocolate chips? Should I risk tricks for cutting calories? Applesauce possibly? Which fat? Oil, yogurt or butter? Should I make mini loaves to give away, or 1 big one to keep for myself? (OK, this last question is easy.)
On the road to the perfect zucchini bread, I baked three batches using varying amounts of all the ingredients above. Without getting all Cooks Illustrated on you, suffice it to say that after it was said and done (and eaten), I hit on my ultimate, go-to zucchini bread recipe. And now it’s yours. Here are my new-found rules.
Butter & Oil: Mix!
You can use all butter or oil, but the combination of the two provide just the right flavor (from the butter) and the right moistness (the oil).
Don’t necessarily go healthy.
While applesauce and shredded pineapple sound kind of good, in reality, friends wanted a sweet, moist, cake-like product. Zucchini bread is a treat, after all, and not a diet food. Don’t skimp on oil or butter. While the addition of yogurt may be good, be leery of fat substitutes. Let them eat cake.
Don’t forget the cinnamon.
When I did in one version, it seemed to confuse taste-testers. Cinnamon is the perfect ingredient, one that harmonizes but doesn’t scream, “look at me, look at me.” While folks couldn’t put their finger on what was missing, they knew something was, and it turned out to be cinnamon.
Note: If adding chocolate chips, I recommend cutting back about a ¼ cup of sugar. The chocolate adds its own sweetness, so no need to overpower your palate.
Emily Capo Sauerman is a writer, photographer, curious cook and the author of Learning To Whistle.
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