Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New spin on Zucchini Bread...

Besides apples, the next sweet ingredient that pops into my mind when fall time comes around is always pure maple syrup! Our pantry is never without a bottle of that rich, sticky syrup - besides its everyday use on pancakes, we use it in several different recipes like bread, cake, a wicked peanut brittle, and the syrup has even made it's way into savory dishes like those pork medallions and spiced tenderloin.

Since we're posting this on a Tuesday, I bet you can guess where we used it this time... you got it, the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day! Maple syrup even plays two roles in this Zucchini Maple Bread with Cream Cheese Maple Butter we made - once in the bread and the other in a decadent spread!

While we didn't plant any zucchini this year, we had no problems finding a friend who was wanting to get rid of bunch - no surprise there! Using the classic quick-bread method, the batter for this bread came together quickly with little mess as you just need pouring the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine - no creaming involved. You can even make this a one-bowl batter if you like to reduce clean up by making a well in the center of the flour mixture, pouring in the wet and then mixing the liquids together as you pull the flour in from the side. Out of habit, I just do the two separately and then marry them together - works great either way!

While brown sugar is used for structure and to sweeten, a couple glugs from our jar of maple syrup adds another depth of sweetness, yet won't make the bread seem like candy. Using a generous amount of shredded zucchini, the loaves were also spiced up with fragrant ground ginger. I say "loaves" because while the recipe is written for one loaf, I made double the recipe and split it between two pans. To accommodate different tastes at Jeff's office, we thought we would try one of each optional add-ins (being chopped toasted walnuts and chopped dates) in separate loaves. Feel free to add both of them into one loaf or just skip them entirely if you don't like either - we found this bread to be pretty open to interpretation!

While the batter was in the oven baking away, I had cleaned out the mixing bowl to start on the maple butter we were going to have in a separate crock on the side to serve with these. Using softened cream cheese and butter (can't go wrong there!), we dosed the two with more maple syrup and just a touch of brown sugar. You can do this with a wooden spoon, but to whip in plenty of air to give this a light and fluffy texture, I pulled out our mixer and let it go to town. My plan is to hold this in the refrigerator overnight, but will make sure it sits out for a bit to take the chill off before he brings it in.

With all the moisture added from the zucchini, the loaves do take awhile to bake - it was over an hour before they released a wooden skewer that was mostly clean. You don't want any wet batter on the skewer, just a couple moist crumbs that cling! Give them just a few minutes to set up in the pan before turning them out - just like muffins, quick breads can sometimes get a tough crust if left to steam in the pan while cooling down. I'll be slicing these in the morning to arrange them on the tray Jeff uses to carry them in, but I did take off a few pieces tonight from each version we made - for pictures and of course, quality control, as Jeff calls it!

The bread with the walnuts was Jeff's favorite - the little crunchy nuggets in the bread fit in well with the maple and zucchini; just be sure to toast them first so they have more stage presence and don't fall away into the background! I think I preferred the date version just for the fact you don't see them used that much in breads like this anymore - the pockets they dotted the slices with gave off a unique sweetness that grabbed my attention and didn't let me forget. Both of us thought they would make a killer bread when all combined into one loaf though, especially with a dollop (or two...) of that creamy maple concoction spread over!


  1. Mmmmm...I love maple syrup and dates, so I can't wait to try this bread! Since there is just the one egg in it, I think using flax as an egg replacer should work perfectly--thanks for posting this!


  2. I always have 5-6 cans of maple syrup in the house. It's so good with anything. I love to use it in recipes. At this time of the year it's great to use zucchinis in baked goods. I made a very good chocolate chips zucchini cake. This looks good Joe.

  3. Courtney - I keep meaning to try those "flax eggs", but always forget about it until I'm done!

    Helene - Have you seen those caramel zucchini bars? Those are wicked good too!

  4. Looks wonderful. I've never tried zucchini bread with maple syrup - sounds yummy

  5. This is really good, but I did not make the cream cheese "frosting". While I'm sure it it quite tasty, it stands on its own quite well without it. I did add walnuts for the little bit of crunch and raisins in lieu of the dates. Definitely a keeper.

  6. Wondering if everything is alright there - long time for no news from this great blog?

  7. Denise - I'm glad you liked it without the frosting! Nice to know it works well with raisins too.

    Mary - We posted an update as to where we were!