hazelnut-zucchini bread

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For some reason I never learn.

I always only make one loaf. I do the same thing with other things: one happy hour beer before the hour becomes less happy, and my honey-blonde glass has drained itself out two strokes before the tap becomes a couple of dollars more expensive and couple of dollars less desirable. One slice of toast when I should have made two, and then I’m back at the toaster with half a slice eaten and another browning.

It’s a problem.

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I say we change our ways.

Or at least, this is a minor manifesto for myself: Universe, I will make two loaves from now on. It’s practical. Practicality is a word-thing that I’m always fighting with because nothing about being led about by the practical sounds at all daringly romantic.

I’d like to think I’m driven to a different notion: “Let’s go/do/become,” because our hearts will turn against us otherwise, and not because it’s practical.

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But, if we must be practical, or atleast if we should be rational, and since I am strung along by logic: when it comes to two loaves, at worst I will be forced to freeze one and more likely I will be charmed to share it, with good people. I might even discover a few someones with the same heart for zucchini that I’ve got, which would be more than practically winning. (Thanks for hanging in there on this pre-emptive zucchini binge, ya’ll). Plus, who likes to measure and split eggs in half? Not I. But I do it and I’ve done it.

But I won’t anymore.

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You’ve probably heard about using olive oil in a cake.

The Italians and people along the Mediterranean do it quite a bit, I’ve heard. I’ve done it here as well just because I love the intensity it brings to other things and the texture it adds to the bread overall. Plus, something about olive oil just feels good — in the opposite kind of way that butter feels good. But you can just as easily use vegetable, canola or sunflower oil, or whatever you have on hand. I’ve also added some hazelnuts and fresh orange zest for good measure.

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But, that’s my kind of good measure, go follow yours: toss in whatever you’ve got and whatever you’re brave enough to try. Maybe even some chocolate chips? Go mad.

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Adapted from Someone’s Mom’s Zucchini Bread.

For two loaves, because you’re smarter than I am.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup olive oil (or another oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest and juice of  one orange (optional)
  • 2 1/4 cups zucchini (~2 large zucchini), grated
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Grease a loaf pan, lining its base with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat eggs together with sugar until light and fluffy, forming a “ribbon.” Add orange zest and in a steady stream, pour in olive oil, beating continuously.

Slowly fold in flour mixture, until just combined. Fold in zucchini and hazelnuts.

Bake bread for 45-60 minutes (mine took 60 minutes), or until a skewer inserted into its center comes out clean.

Allow bread to cool in its pan for 10 minutes and then using a knife to loosen bread, flip it out onto a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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