"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."
- Jim Davis
Isn't this a great time of year? Harvest time! I've got carrots and zucchini fresh from the ground, raspberries and blackberries ready for picking, and lots of ripe apples on my trees.
|Carrots from my garden|
I'm not the best gardener in the world, and I've only kept a garden for maybe 5 years, but I'm always amazed that I'm able to actually grown something! Every single time I harvest something from my garden it feels like a complete miracle to me.
|Zucchini from the garden|
Carrots, zucchini, and green beans are vegetables I grown every year. (I usually grown pumpkins too, but not this year.) I grow zucchini really just to make quick breads from it. And also because it's so darn easy to grow, I'm so proud of myself when I see those torpedo sized zucchinis! I practically jump for joy, as if to say, "I did it again!" "Yes!" When in truth as long as I water them regularly, (or if I get lucky and it rains) it has very little to do with me. That plant wants to grow. It's alive. It has an agenda. To live, to thrive! Zucchini plants just so happen to have a stronger will than some other more finicky plants.
|Raspberries ready for picking - (Don't mind the chicken in the background.)|
I know, I know, you're not supposed to let them get that big, but when I'm really just growing them for bread, and for other shredding purposes, like fritters, I don't think it matters. But I don't let them all get that big, I do harvest some when they are small, for slicing and cooking simply, in olive oil and fresh rosemary. And I admit, I don't always mean to let them get that big, sometimes it's an accident. It seems they get that huge overnight.
|If using huge over sized zucchini like I did, remove the seeds by slicing the zucchini down the middle lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. If using small zucchinis from the grocery store, there is no need to remove the seeds.|
Since I like baking with zucchini, I wanted to create another quick bread recipe to utilize the vegetable. (See also my Triple Chocolate Zucchini bread) Since I had fresh carrots on hand, I decided to add those as well. The result is a moist, nicely spiced, carrot cake like, bread.
|At times like this, I am very grateful to have a food processor to shred stuff for me.|
This bread is so darned versatile, I love it. I added raisins, but you don't have to. You can add any other dried fruit instead, like dates or dried chopped apricots, or omit them altogether. I added walnuts, and I sort of do think they are needed, but if you have someone who's allergic, or you absolutely hate nuts, leave them out, I'll understand.
|Carrots from my garden|
These can even be made into muffins! Or small loaves! Or any shape your little heart desires. (I don't really think your heart is little, it's just an expression.)
|This recipe is super easy, really you just mix up dry ingredients, then wet, then add the carrots and zucchini.|
This bread is super easy too. You really just stir it all together. You only need a few bowls, a whisk and a spoon. No mixer needed.
|I like to soak raisins before using to plump them up|
This bread has a special little treat. A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar is added to the top, to give a not too sweet bread, a little something special.
|Add the drained raisins and nuts and it's ready for the pans|
If you have zucchini haters in your family, no worries. They will hardly be able to tell that it's there. You can't taste it at all. Just make sure they don't look at it too closely, they may detect the little green specs of color and run the other way.
Happy fall! Soon I will be decorating for Halloween and stopping by Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte (and my obligatory birthday cake pop, I can't seem leave Starbucks without one.) It's the little things in life that bring me joy, you know?
|Right out of the oven|
If you have lots of zucchini like I do, Try my Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread, it's excellent! Seriously, it's amazing, you won't be disappointed.
Chantilly Green Indiana Glass Cake Stand available at House of Lucien.
Chantilly Green Indiana Glass Cake Stand, Price Kensington Teapot, Tuscan Cream and Sugar with Daisies, Sheffield Silver Butler Tray, Foley Green Teacup, Royal Standard Green Teacup with Pansies, Antique Johnson Bros. Rolland Plates, and Noritake Temptation Small Plates, available at my Vintage Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.
Moist Zucchini Carrot Bread
An original recipe by me, Melissa aka The Alchemist
Makes 2 regular sized loaves, or about 6 small loaves, or 24 standard sized muffins
1 1/4 cup (250 g.) brown sugar, packed
1 cup (200 g.) white sugar
3 cups (420 g.) all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup (296 ml.) vegetable oil
2 heaping cups (13 oz.) (373 g.) shredded zucchini
1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 oz.) (183 g.) shredded carrots
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves, optional, if you don't like cloves, leave it out
1 cup (110 g.) chopped walnuts
3/4 cup (90 g.) raisins or dates, or another dried fruit OR go in a whole nother direction and add chocolate chips (if you add chocolate chips the only spice I personally would add in cinnamon - optional
more walnuts for topping - optional
cinnamon sugar for topping - optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4.
If using raisins, place them in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let sit to plump while you get the other ingredients together, 10 minutes or so.
Combine the dry ingredients, (flour, brown sugar, white sugar, salt baking soda, baking powder, and spices) into a large bowl and whisk together, making sure you break up the brown sugar and that it is combined well with the other ingredients.
In another large bowl add the eggs and whisk to beat them a bit. Add the oil and vanilla extract and whisk again. Put the whisk down and get a large or wooden spoon. Stir in the dry ingredients to thoroughly combine it with the wet ingredients. Stir in the shredded zucchini and carrots until combined. Now stir in the nuts and strained raisins (if using) or other dried fruit or chocolate chips (if using.)
Prepare pans for using. If using small loaf pans or making muffins, grease the pans (or muffin tins) well. If using large loaf pans grease pans, then make a sling by placing a piece of parchment paper one way so it hangs over the sides, then the other way, also hanging over the sides, to create a sling to easily lift the bread out when done. (Also pictured above.) Grease the parchment paper as well. Pour the batter into prepared pans, 3/4 of the way full.
Sprinkle more chopped walnuts (if desired) on top of loaves or muffins and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the nuts (if desired.)
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Times listed below.
- For standard sized muffins about 24 minutes
Bake large loaves for 50 - 70 minutes depending on size of loaf, if a tall loaf it will take longer, while shorter loaves will take the lesser time.
Bake small loaves for about 28-32 minutes