I recently read that Zucchini Bread was the most frequently made and the most ‘gifted’ away bread of any other variety….it is also the one most likely to be thrown out by the recipient of said ‘gift’. This is likely due to the fact that zucchini all by itself is seriously lacking in the flavor department. Zucchini can also contain a whole lot of moisture, and if we don’t address that issue our bread ends up looking, and tasting like a flavorless hunk of sea sponge. I know this from first hand experience while creating this recipe, which was not a good one. The only person who would eat that first attempt was my mother, who said “Hey, you can’t be Martha Stewart every day – get over yourself”. That comment was enough to get me back to the drawing board, and the result is this Zucchini Lemon Bread is bursting with fresh, citrusy flavor. We squeeze the living daylights out of the grated zucchini, which goes a long way to eliminate that spongy element of my prior attempts, and then top the whole thing off with a generous crackling crust of lemon sugar. It’s fun to make, it’s easy, and I guarantee nobody will be secretly tossing this out if you can make yourself give it away.
As noted earlier, there are a couple of simple tricks to turning this bread into something special as opposed to something headed to the compost bin. First of all, we get rid of every drop of excess moisture the zucchini has to offer. This, I find, is best done by using your own bare hands. Grate it, grab it, squeeze it until you can’t squeeze it any more. You will be amazed at how much liquid there is lurking inside that innocent looking vegetable.
Secondly, we must address the lack of flavor issue. Lemon to the rescue. You’ll see that the recipe not only has lemon zest, and a whole lot of that, but fresh lemon juice as well. And then – lemon extract for a little deeper, more mysterious lemon essence added to the whole thing. Not done yet! Let’s add some texture (and even more lemon flavor) by making a healthy dose of lemon sugar and sprinkling it over the top of the batter to create a sweet and citrusy, extra crunchy topping.
So nice to look at, don’t you think? I made mine with yellow zucchini, just because when I ventured out into the garden the other day, yellow zucchini the size of baseball bats greeted me. Green zucchini would be beautiful too, so go for what you’ve got.
Just wait until you taste it! Hope you love it as much as I do! May you never fear zucchini again. Thanks for reading today. xoxoxoxo
- FOR THE BREAD
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 2 ½ cups grated yellow or green zucchini (depending on the size of your zucchini, this could be one huge one or 4 smaller ones – you’ll just have to figure that part out as you go)
- NOTE: Before grating, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out as many seeds as you can with a spoon. We are after the firmest part of this guy, and as much colorful skin as possible. After the zucchini has been grated, grab your zucchini by the handful and squeeze the living daylights out of it – get as much moisture as you can out. Put your squeezed out zucchini in a separate bowl.
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- FOR THE LEMON SUGAR
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- FOR THE BREAD
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare 2 loaf pans by spraying liberally with cooking spray. As an added suggestion: Make an aluminum ‘sling’ by fitting a piece of foil so that it covers the bottom of the loaf pans widthwise, with enough left over that you can fold about 2 inches down the outside of the pans. Then liberally spray the foil. When your bread is done, you just lift the loaf out with your handy little sling. That way, you don’t risk spilling off any of the Lemon Sugar, which would be a shame.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, and zest of 2 lemons. Mix only to combine.
- Stir in the grated and squeezed dry zucchini, only until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon extract.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, only until everything is well incorporated with each other.
- FOR THE LEMON SUGAR
- Place the ½ cup sugar into a small bowl.
- Add the zest of 1 lemon, and mush the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is a little damp feeling with the oils of all that zest and the whole thing smells super fragrant. Set aside.
- RIGHT BEFORE BAKING
- Pour equal amounts of batter into each prepared loaf pan. The dough is fairly thick, and doesn’t even fill the pans half full, but never fear – this will change in the oven.
- NOTE: if you have a kitchen scale, it’s really handy to weigh each pan to make sure you’ve got equal amounts of batter in each.
- Sprinkle the Lemon Sugar over each loaf (I used right about 4 tablespoons of the Lemon Sugar on each loaf – there will be a little left over but that is a good thing. You can use it on summer berries, top biscuits, and a million other things with it.
- Bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. This loaf is a little tricky to tell when it’s done. You can use a wooden skewer, placed in the middle of the loaf to make sure it comes out clean which is a pretty good indicator, but I’ve found that once that happens, it’s good to give the bread another 5 minutes or so just to be on the safe side.