I didn't grow up as a kid whose parents snuck vegetables into things. We either had to eat it, or we went hungry. It was expected that we ate a wide range of things, and I am insanely grateful for it now that I'm older. My Dad, ever the scientist, had read something somewhere that said that you had to try something at least 17 times before you could say you didn't like it - I remember counting down the times until I was allowed to say I didn't like raw tomato. I think I just gave up before I got to 17.
Because I ate most things, I was always confused by my friends who had parents who would try and 'trick' them into eating vegetables - peeling them and chopping them super tiny and adding them to weird things, grating them very small so you couldn't taste them, and adding vegetables to things like chocolate cake. As far as I was concerned, adding zucchini to a chocolate cake is a quick way to ruin a cake.
This zucchini bread isn't pretending to be anything. It's just really good. It's definitely not something to make if you are looking for a health food (mind you vegetables in a 'bread' is pretty much just a sandwich right?!), but we are totally addicted and we can't stop eating it. We are getting loads of zucchini in our CSA share each week, and I always have good intentions of adding them to stir fries, salads etc, but by the end of the week there are a few left, and they normally end up in this zucchini bread. The zucchini lends a lovely moisture to the bread, and the flavour improves over time (if it lasts that long, ours never does).
This recipe comes together in one bowl, and is super quick to throw together with ingredients you will most likely have on hand. I elevated the flavour of this bread a little by browning the butter - totally not a necessary step, but the toasty nutty taste it imparts on the bread is lovely. I then totally ramped it up by dumping an oaty brown butter streusel on the top. Again not necessary, but there are few baked goods that don't taste better with a solid whack of streusel on the top. Leave it off if you like, but it's extra awesome with it added.
A few wee notes:
I tried to be fancy and do butter maths to work out the total amount of butter needed, and how much brown butter that would result in, and how much weight each portion of brown butter would be needed for the bread and the streusel, but it got confusing fast, so I'm going to get you to brown two different quantities of butter. If this sounds like a pain in the butt, I would just brown the butter for the bread, and melt it for the streusel. You do you here.
If you don't want to make the streusel, you can leave it off completely - it will still be awesome without it.
If you want to keep this dairy free, replace the butter in the zucchini bread with a neutral flavoured oil, and the butter in the streusel with melted margarine.
Brown butter zucchini streusel bread
- Makes one loaf -
Zucchini bread adapted from Smitten Kitchen
4 Tbsp (60g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100g) raw sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup (75g) flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup (200g) raw sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup grated zucchini (about 220g zucchini, or 2 smallish)
2 cups (300g) flour
- PROCESS -
Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until melted, then continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until it goes the colour of caramel and begins to smell nutty. Watch carefully to ensure you do not burn it. Pour into a medium bowl.
Add the sugar and salt, and stir to combine. Add the oats and flour, and mix well until it begins to go clumpy. Set aside while you prepare the zucchini bread.
Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Grease a 9"x5" loaf pan and set aside.
Place the butter in a small pan, and brown following the method above. Pour into a large bowl and allow to stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Add the sugar and eggs, and whisk well to combine. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and whisk again. Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth down with an offset spatula or back of a spoon. Sprinkle over the streusel.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve thick sliced, with butter.