Although most of the U.S. experiences an abundance of zucchini this time of year, that was not the case while I was in Aruba.
I was coming across so many zucchini recipes on blogs and in the food magazines I brought with me, and I was craving it fiercely.
I wandered into a local Aruban grocery store and asked the clerk who spoke Chinese, Papiamento, and broken English for a zucchini. There was another woman who spoke Spanish, broken English, and broken Chinese.
No one could communicate with anyone and we all just stared at each other blankly.
Had I asked for beer, a bathroom, or to buy fireworks, that would have been easy. Zucchini? Not so much.
I found cucumbers, held one up, and kept saying zucchini. Zucchini. Zucchini.
A lightbulb finally went off and the two women both exclaimed at the same time, ZUTCH-ahh-Knee!
They disappeared and about ten minutes later came out with a zucchini the size of something very x-rated. I asked them for a smaller one because I wanted to make one loaf of bread, not seven.
More confusion, more disappearing, and they reappeared with three small ZUTCH-ahh-Knees. Good enough.
I went home and made this bread. Consider it Part Two of Banana Bread Fest.
From a flavor perspective, this is banana bread with zucchini incorporated rather than zucchini bread and a hint of banana. I find bananas have a way of dominating all other flavors when they’re present.
They also have a way of making everything softer, tender, and moist. Between the bananas, zucchini, yogurt, and little packet of pudding mix I tossed in, this is the moistest and softest zucchini-based bread I’ve ever had.
Unfortunately, I’ve eaten my fair share of dried out and tasteless zucchini bread that makes cardboard seem like a delicacy.
It’s also a fast and easy, one bowl, whisking ingredients together (no creaming or mixers required) recipe.
Scott, who is not a fan of zucchini, or he thinks he isn’t, exclaimed that this was,”The best chocolate banana bread he’s ever had.”
I replied, “Babe, there’s no chocolate in it.”
He said, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m positive. That green stuff is zucchini, not chocolate.”
He said he thinks it made the bread taste like chocolate and it’s the best banana bread he’s ever had. Okay, I’ll go with that.
I personally don’t think it tastes like chocolate but whatever mind games work for him, work for me.
I didn’t want to mask all those healthy flecks of greenery with artery-clogging browned butter cream cheese frosting for the photos, but in reality I was clogging my arteries plenty.
Really good bread, with a liberal application of browned butter cream cheese frosting, became even better.
This bread is long gone and just looking at the pictures makes me want to make another loaf and I won’t even have to stand on my head and tap dance just to obtain a ZUTCH-ahh-Knee.
Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf (Note: I made as one 9-by-5-inch loaf but you may wish to divide batter among two 8-by-4-inch loaves and reduce baking time by about 10 minutes; or bake as 3 or more mini loaves, bake in a 9-inch square pan, as 10-cup Bundt cake, or as muffins; adjusting baking times as necessary)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
6 ounces vanilla or plain yogurt (one standard-sized small container; Greek yogurt preferred, or sour cream may be substituted – do not use fat free or light yogurt or sour cream)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup grated zucchini, loosely packed
1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (1 large or 2 small very ripe bananas)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes, optional (I didn’t use)
one 3.4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve), optional see notes below
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
Preheat oven to 325F, spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray with flour (I use Pam for Baking) or grease and flour the pan(s)s; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. To the melted butter, add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the zucchini, bananas, optional coconut, and stir to incorporate.
Add the dry pudding mix, and stir to combine (Note: You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient. You don’t have to use pudding mix but it creates wonderful moisture and flavor in the bread. If omitting, you may wish to add an additional 1/4 cup granulated sugar and an additional 1/4 to 1/3 cup flour, based on taste preference and how your batter looks). Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 60 to 65 minutes (this is for one 9-by-5-inch loaf), or until top is golden and set, and a wooden skewer, cake tester, or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If bread is browning a bit fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 300F midway through cooking, at about the 30-minute mark if your oven runs hot or tent the pan with foil in approximately the last 20 minutes of cooking. Allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes just over 1 cup frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste
You can brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heating over medium heat. Swirl the pan or stir frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
Or, brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl by heating it on high power, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. The same rules apply in the microwave as on the stovetop; watch it closely and start checking it every 15-to-30 seconds starting at about the 5-minute mark, so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
Transfer hot butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired frosting consistency and taste preference, add the cream or milk one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla in this frosting, no cream). Drizzle or spread frosting over the top of the bread before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and frost each piece individually. I prefer to use the frosting like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice. Store extra frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Store unfrosted bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or store frosted bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Unfrosted bread can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze from Week 1 of Banana Bread Fest
Peanut Butter Banana Bread (vegan, GF) – no mixer required, batter can be made in a blender
Banana Bread Cake (vegan, GF) – no mixer required, batter can be made in a blender
Banana Nut Muffins (vegan, GF) – one bowl, no mixer required, make by hand
Raw Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon & Herb Dressing (raw, vegan, GF) – the zucchini tastes like pasta, even to doubtful white-pasta-loving family members
Do you like zucchini bread or have a favorite recipe using zucchinis?
Do you have a quick bread recipe you love from banana to pumpkin?
Please link up your favorite recipes and have a great week. Happy Labor Day to those celebrating it.