Sweet breads are the ideal easy bake. They have simple ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand in your pantry and fridge. They’re endlessly adaptable and super-easy to pull together. They are also a terrific way to use vegetables in interesting and surprising ways. Carrots, parsnips, orange squashes, beets, and sweet potatoes are all terrific in various sweet breads. But zucchini tops them all. This mild-flavored summer squash brings both moisture and texture to the party, plays well with nuts and chocolates and spices galore, and is often growing amuck in gardens all summer long. 

While there are many recipes out there for zucchini bread, this one is my personal favorite. A loaf with a great crunchy crust and tender crumb, plenty of zucchini, bolstered with a slightly more upscale set of mix-ins with toasted pine nuts and white chocolate chips. I love how the resiny flavor of the pine nut enhances the vegetable, while the white chocolate brings pops of creamy sweetness without making it all about chocolate. Cinnamon is my go-to for this version, but again, spices are a zucchini’s pal, so experiment. You can swap in any mix-in combo you like, from almonds and dark chocolate with a hit of Aleppo chili, to walnuts and golden raisins with nutmeg, to pistachios and dried white mulberries with a pinch of curry powder.

Cooking dinner shouldn't be complicated

It also scales up well, so feel free to make a double batch.

Get the recipe: Zucchini Bread With Pine Nuts and White Chocolate Chips

The only thing to note is that the grated zucchini is measured after it’s squeezed dry, so assume you’ll need to start with about a cup and a half of grated zucchini to generate a cup after removing the excess liquid. Be sure to break up the zucchini after squeezing to prevent clumps.

First, preheat your oven to 350 and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, then place a strip of parchment paper across the middle to give you a sling with which to remove the baked loaf. Give the parchment a little cooking spray for good measure.

In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, mix 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 large eggs, and and 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract until everything's well blended. Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 a teaspoon salt, and 1/4 a teaspoon baking powder. Mix well. Stir in a cup of shredded zucchini, and then 1/2 a cup of toasted pine nuts and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (or whatever mix-ins you'd like), and mix till well combined.

Using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean, about 70-80 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 15 minutes, then gently remove from the loaf pan using the parchment as a sling. Let continue to cool on rack until fully cooled before slicing. 

Get the recipe: Zucchini Bread With Pine Nuts and White Chocolate Chips. 


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