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Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is a retro-style treat, but once you pop a warm lightly buttered bite in your mouth, you won’t care what century it’s from. The prunes—actually dried plums—provide moisture to the bread and help replace the need for a large amount of fat in the batter. If walnuts aren’t your thing, go for pecans or almonds.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) zucchini, trimmed
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) chopped pitted moist-pack prunes
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line three 6-by-3-inch (15-by-7.5-cm) loaf pans with parchment paper, cutting the short sides to fit and cutting the long sides so that the parchment comes 2 inches (5 cm) up the sides of the pan. Alternatively, use one 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan.

Using the large holes on a box grater-shredder, shred the zucchini. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 1 minute. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the shredded zucchini until blended.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, prunes and walnuts. Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir with the wooden spoon just until combined. The batter will be stiff. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s).

Bake until the bread is firm to the touch and pulls away from the pan sides, 35 to 40 minutes for small loaves or 50 to 60 minutes for a large loaf. A toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf should come out clean.

Transfer the pan(s) to a wire rack and let cool slightly, then turn the loaves out onto the rack and let cool completely before serving. Makes 3 mini loaves or 1 regular loaf.

Sweeten them up: For an unconventional twist, add 1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, to the flour mixture, or serve slices with honey and butter. Swirl the two condiments together or spread them on separately.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Bake Good Things (Weldon Owen, 2014).