quick bread

zucchini peach bread

It’s officially September you guys. I know.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Back to school season. Pumpkin spice everything. Sweaters in store windows…

While some people lament the end of summer and others celebrate the onset of fall, for all intents and purposes, it’s actually still summer. Like SUMMER. Dog days style.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Here in Brooklyn we’re in the midst of yet another record-breaking heat wave. My backyard looks incredibly parched, sad, and droopy; and the heat over the past few days has felt downright oppressive and just generally awful. In fact, the other day many schools in the area announced they’d be letting out early because of a heat advisory, in their first week back!

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Trying to take full advantage of the extended summery weather, Russell and I took a trip to the farmer’s market over the weekend. I’ve been really stumped about what to do and make for the ol’ blog lately, because I’m having such a hard time deciding what would be considered seasonally appropriate right now. Last week I posted a recipe for some hot and steamy soup, and then the weather decided to follow my lead and went all hot and soupy too.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I figured I should just go and see what spoke to me, and hoped I’d be able to make a plan from there.

Wandering the stalls of the market I was met with piles of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and bushels of ripe sweet corn, but for some reason stacks of bright green zucchini were what called out to me, along with some seriously beautiful local peaches. But, what the heck could I do with peaches and zucchini in the same dish? I thought about just making a peach crumble or something, and then using the zucchini for dinner later on. I paid up and was on my way, and by the time I got home I knew what I had to do.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was little I was a big fan of banana bread, especially my grandma’s banana bread. As I got older I started to develop a “distaste” for bananas that eventually blossomed into an intense hatred for bananas and anything banana related.

I usually pride myself in my openness to any food available to me, and my willingness to try anything someone might dare me to eat, but bananas are just an absolute no-no. I don’t know why, but I really can’t stand them. The tiniest piece of banana snuck into a smoothie deems it unfit for anything but the trash bin. Even the smell of them makes me retch, and my co-workers are well aware that eating a banana anywhere near me is absolutely forbidden.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

For the past few years there has been a banana bread shaped hole in my heart, but thankfully zucchini bread has stepped in to fill that giant void in my life.

So those bright green beauties fresh from some local farm had a clear and bright future, grated and baked inside a loaf of warm nutty quick bread, along with the tastiest peaches summer had to offer. (Thankfully we recently got a new AC unit so turning on the oven didn’t turn our tiny apartment into a sweltering inferno)

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

These loaves are every bit as tender and moist and delicious as you could want, with a wonderful crunchy top thanks to the addition of some demerara sugar sprinkled on just before baking. They’re really the perfect transitional food between summer and fall. The zucchini and peaches are bright and fresh and summery, but they’re paired with warm autumnal spices and crunchy bitter walnuts. I never liked walnuts in my breads when I was younger, but I’ve learned to absolutely love the contrasting texture and flavor. I think the bright sweetness from the peaches really calls for the slight bitterness of the walnuts for balance, so I really recommend you don’t skip them.

The peaches aren’t really the stars of the show here, but take a backseat to the zucchini. The flavor is very similar to a normal (albeit really delicious) zucchini bread, with an added touch of sweet peachiness. I personally love the subtle addition of summer fruitiness, but if you’re looking for something with bright peach-forward flavor, I’m not sure this is the recipe for you. I added a little bit of wheat flour to soak up some of the extra moisture, but I fear that adding too many more peaches to the recipe could render your loaves dense and soggy.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Zucchini Peach Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins
  • Print
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup finely diced peaches
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon  table salt
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup demerara sugar (or other coarse sanding sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Liberally butter and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans. Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. Add zucchini and peaches and stir to combine.

Combine flours, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and walnuts. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour egg mixture in. Gently fold and stir just to combine. Do not over mix. Divide the batter into prepared pans and sprinkle each with demerara sugar.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If making muffins instead, they should bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing from pans, and cool for at least 30 minutes more before slicing.

Advertisements

blueberry zucchini oat muffins

I’ve had the same schedule at work for almost three years now.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

Working in retail means that having both Saturday and Sunday off isn’t really an option, but I do get Sundays off so I still (sort of) get to enjoy the weekends with the rest of the world. The only problem, especially in the summer, is that the only green markets that are even remotely convenient to me aren’t open on Sundays.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

The green market in Union Square is open on Saturdays and Mondays, but of course I don’t have Mondays off either. This means that Russell, who is off on Mondays, is responsible for any green market purchases for the week, and the remainder of our groceries are purchased at our neighborhood grocery store.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

Sometimes I have specific things in mind that I ask Russell to pick up for me, but usually he just wanders around until he sees something that looks good and he grabs it. This usually works out just great, but sometimes I get home from work on Monday to find a bag full of really random and disjointed produce purchases that I get to plan around for the rest of the week.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

If this sounds like a complaint, I assure you that it’s not. It actually kind of forces me to get creative and try to make meal plans and think of blog posts that would work with the items at hand. I am (or at least I try to be) pretty anal about the whole “waste not want not” thing, so it drives me crazy to let our produce spoil before we get to use it up. Sometimes I’ll just come up with some kind of “kitchen sink” recipe like a salad or stir fry to use everything up if I really have no clue what to do. Sometimes these recipes don’t really work out, but they usually do, and sometimes they can really pay off.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is one of those pay off recipes. Russell came home with a bag full of stuff on Monday, including a couple big zucchinis and a pint of some of the season’s first blueberries. On seeing those blueberries I knew pretty instantly that I wanted to make some muffins, but after some thought I decided to throw in one of the zucchinis just for fun.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

The next morning, as I went to gather my ingredients, I realized that I was dangerously low on flour and wouldn’t have enough for a full muffin recipe. It was pretty early, Russell was still sleeping and I was still in my boxers, and I reeeeeally didn’t want to go to the store. If I don’t have to put pants on on my day off, believe you me, it ain’t gonna happen.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

For a brief second I was ready and willing to accept defeat and just toast an English muffin for breakfast instead, but then I remembered these cookies I made in March. To give the cookies a really interesting lacy texture, old fashioned rolled oats are turned into oat flour in the food processor, which is then mixed with regular white flour and some whole rolled oats. Not only is oat flour a healthy(ish) whole grain alternative to white flour, it also adds a really warm nutty flavor and chewy texture to anything you make with it.

So, out came the food processor and oat flour happened yet again.
The only issue is that oat flour doesn’t really seem to absorb liquid the same way as white flour, so the batter seemed a bit loose, and the muffins didn’t really rise as much as I’d hoped they would. I ended up making them again a few days later (at Russell’s request) and tried using a little bit more white flour to thicken the batter just a bit, and that seemed to do the trick to get them to rise. This second batch came out slightly lighter in color with a more rounded and crunchier top, but I’m a terrible lazy blogger and they didn’t really look all that different so I didn’t bother shooting new photos. The photos here are of the first batch, but the recipe below reflects the added flour and slightly thicker batter.

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

Look. I understand that I’m essentially asking you to mill your own flour for this recipe, but I swear it’s not a big deal. If you have a food processor or a blender it takes less than five minutes and then the rest of the recipe is basically just stirring.

I promise you that the little bit of extra effort is worth it; these muffins are seriously tasty. They’re just sweet enough with a little bit of extra sweetness and crunch from the demerara sugar on top. They’re soft and tender and moist, but with a really delicate chewiness (and nuttiness) from the oat flour. The zucchini and blueberries complement each other surprisingly well, and Russell keeps saying that these little muffins taste like summer. You may have figured this out when I said that he requested I make them twice in one week, but they’re totally addictive. In theory they’re also pretty healthy(ish) if eat just one or two, but between the two of us half a dozen were devoured less than half an hour after they came out of the oven, so I’m not sure if “healthy” is a word that would actually apply anymore!

blueberry zucchini oat muffins | Brooklyn Homemaker

Blueberry Zucchini Oat Muffins

  • Servings: about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen muffins
  • Print
adapted from Yellow Bliss Road

1 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup demerara sugar or other coarse sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place 1 cup of rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor and grind into a fine powder. It’s okay if there are some unevenly sized pieces, but you want it to resemble the texture of whole wheat flour. Transfer oat flour to a large bowl along with the remaining 1/2 cup of rolled oats and all remaining dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and oil together until combined, and then stir in the grated zucchini. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the zucchini, egg, oil mixture. Gently stir together until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries just until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper liners and fill the liners about 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle a little bit of demerara sugar over the tops of each muffin just before they go into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool for about 15 or 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing the muffins to cool completely.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread

It’s been a minute I know. I’m sorry.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I think this little two week break is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts since I started this whole adventure. I promise that I have a very good reason for for my little hiatus.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve been working on giving my kitchen a little facelift. I told you a few weeks ago that I wanted to change a few things in there, and your comments and encouragement gave me the strength to take action on a project I’ve wanted to tackle for years but never did. I don’t want to give anything away just yet, but rest assured things are looking rather different in there.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve still got a bit of work to do, but I hope to be able to give you a peek at the progress in a week or two. Right now though, the kitchen is a total mess, and Russell and I have been surviving on delivery pizzas, tacos, and Thai food. I really can’t wait to get back in there and start cooking again, and get back into the swing of things over here too.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Luckily, I had the foresight to make one last treat before the disarray began. I’ve been so distracted over the past few weeks though, that it’a just taken me this long to get around to posting the recipe.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

This cold weather has me craving some homey comforting sweet bread, with a healthy dose of warm spice. At first I was thinking about making pumpkin bread, but on a whim I decided to try it with butternut squash instead. Butternut squash, roasted and pureed, has much the same texture as pureed pumpkin, but has a brighter, fresher, sweeter flavor.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

To compliment that brightness and sweetness, I added a bit of fresh orange zest to the recipe. I kept the cinnamon in the recipe for the traditional warmth, but in place of nutmeg I substituted a bit of ground ginger and clove to compliment the citrus.  Then I topped the whole thing with a thick orange glaze.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

This loaf is incredibly moist and tender, with a wonderfully homey and satisfying flavor. It’s such a fun yet familiar twist on traditional pumpkin bread. The warm spice is perfectly suited to the flavor of the earthy roasted butternut squash, and the orange zest adds a lovely touch of brightness. The bread itself is so perfect on it’s own that it doesn’t even really need the glaze, and would be just as good with a simple swipe of soft unsalted butter.

I added the glaze to boost the citrus flavor, but I have to admit that I found it just a bit too sweet for my taste. My sweet tooth just prefers something a bit more subtle. If you think you’re like me and might prefer a more refined sweetness, you could skip the glaze altogether if you like. You could also try using less sugar to make a thinner glaze, or even try a cream cheese icing instead. If you like a nice dessert-like sweetness though, just make the glaze as is. Either way, a slice of bread will be heaven with your morning coffee or perfect as a treat at the end of the day.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Orange Glazed Roasted Butternut Squash Bread

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Print
adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Bread:
1 small to medium butternut squash
2 teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs

Glaze (optional):
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Rub flesh with oil and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until soft when pushed with a finger. Cool until cool enough to handle.
Peel the skin off the outside of the squash, and puree the flesh in a blender or food processor, or in a bowl using an immersion blender.
Measure out 2 cups of puree and save the rest for another use, or feed it to your dogs.

Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pans.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, and spices in a bowl. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together sugar, melted butter, and squash puree. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Fold squash mixture into flour mixture until combined.
Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for about 65 – 75 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

Once the loaves are cooled, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and free of lumps. Pour over the loaves and smooth the top. Let the glaze set for a bit before slicing.