Moist, tender zucchini bread, perfectly spiced with cinnamon and cloves and studded with chopped walnuts. This is the best zucchini bread ever and the perfect way to use up all those zucchini that are growing in the garden!
I’m feeling a little behind on my blogging game lately. I remember thinking before school started for Clara that once Kindergarten began we would get into a routine and find a rhythm to our days and things would feel a little easier but so far that has not been the case. A big part of that is because Paul & I are deep in the weeds of a major remodeling/landscaping job on both our front and back yards. (Do you see what I did there? In the weeds? Landscaping? No? Anyway…)
Every weekend for what feels like months now, we have been working tearing up and moving concrete and dirt and rocks to form new retaining walls. The past two Saturdays have literally been spent lifting shovelfuls of gravel or dirt from huge but now slowly dwindling piles and moving them around to other parts of the yard where they were needed to create hardscaping. The focus has been on a french drain and retaining walls. It’s backbreaking work, but at least we are getting our exercise, it’s free for DIY-ers like us, and the girls have loved helping push the wagon up our steep driveway to “help” us, shovel dirt around right by us as they played and got filthy while we worked and got filthy, and generally spent all day outside.
Since we have been working on this massive yard project since the start of summer, we didn’t put in a garden this year. It’s something that we have loved doing in the past and I miss it! Thankfully, we are starting to see real progress on our remodel projects and I plan to have a nice backyard garden in 2017. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy all the wonderful seasonal produce that September has to offer! We are lucky to have some really amazing farmer’s markets that we visit on an almost weekly basis. And there is almost always someone in the neighborhood looking to give away produce. We have been lucky to have neighbors in the past bring over boxes of plums or apples grown in their backyards. And everybody always seems to have too much zucchini during the summer and on into September!
Zucchini is one of my absolute favorite vegetables – I’ve posted before about how we use it for Zoodles in place of pasta, but it’s also a favorite pizza topping (something I picked up while traveling in Italy and falling in love with slices of zucchini pizza that I kept seeing in Florence). And of course, there is always zucchini bread! My favorite zucchini bread is always loaded with walnuts because I love nuts in pretty much everything. And it can’t be dry, dense, or too heavily spiced. This version is the perfect balance of cinnamon and cloves and the texture and crumb are perfect thanks to a combination of applesauce and oil, along with the zucchini, of course, which bakes up wonderfully well.
The recipe makes two large loaves of zucchini bread and I usually slice one up and divide it between Ziploc freezer bags so that I have a stash of zucchini bread on hand in the freezer for quick breakfasts (just like how I approach lots of favorite breakfast foods like my favorite breakfast burritos that I posted about last week!). It is also a favorite mid-afternoon snack with a glass of milk or some sliced up peaches. My friend, Tracey, gave me this recipe almost 15 years ago when we were living in New Jersey and I have used it ever since, making only a few slight changes.
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- 1 cup oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 3 cups zucchini, grated
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray two 8x4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat until creamy and light.
Add the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and zucchini. Stir to combine, scraping the sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Stir in chopped walnuts.
Pour the zucchini bread batter evenly into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes at 325 degrees, being careful not to overbake it. You can test for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into the middle of a loaf and checking to see whether it comes out clean.
Remove the loaves of zucchini bread from the pans and allow to cool on a wire rack, then store in ziploc bags.
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