My garden got off to a slow start this year. The dogs ate all the broccoli and cauliflower before I could harvest any, and I have approximately 1,000 green tomatoes.
The snap peas and herbs are happy and plentiful. The zucchini plant, which you’d think would be impossible to kill, is finally ramping up to full production. So, at least I have that going for me. I picked the first two vegetables a few days ago and couldn’t resist making my favorite zucchini bread.
This is a recipe my mother made for me when I was growing up. She clipped it from the newspaper back in the 1980s and still makes it today. Now I make it for my kids and the tradition continues.
The recipe makes one giant loaf. It can be deceiving because the crust gets very dark and you might worry that it’s burning or drying out, but it isn’t. The crust is a tiny bit crispy and the inside is moist and delicious.
I like to add dark chocolate chips and toasted walnuts for crunch and texture, but don’t feel like you must follow suit. Often, I split the recipe between two smaller loaf pans and make one the way I like it and the other with nothing extra for my kids, who love the chocolate but don’t like the nuts. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
I will mention, though, that if you have a large loaf pan (9x5) and a little patience (80ish minutes cooking time), the recipe just works better. The texture of the bread, with its crispy crust and soft, dense interior, is perfection.
• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.
Zucchini Bread with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bread pan with parchment paper or coat it in cooking spray. Beat eggs and oil for 2-3 minutes until creamy in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugar and mix for another minute. Add zucchini and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Slowly combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients until well-combined. Stir in chopped walnuts and dark chocolate. Pour batter into bread pan and bake for about one hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the bread comes out clean.
If the bread is getting too dark on top but isn’t finished baking, fold a piece of tin foil in half and create a little “tent” to cover the bread. It will continue cooking but the top won’t get overly brown.