But when it comes to matters of the palate (other than the milk thing), I want food to surprise me.
I want variation in color, texture, temperature, shape, and size. I love how a salad can become a vegetable critic's favorite dish because it went from a plate of greens to something cold, something warm, something tangy, something creamy, something crispy, something leafy, something granular, something sweet. All on one plate. And especially (I emphasize, especially) when I turn on my oven with something sweet planned, I keep this concept at the forefront of my mind.
A muffin is a muffin is a muffin, UNLESS you do something a bit unexpected.
I'm not saying I don't like a good old classic. Blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, zucchini bread. I do. But likely, when I'm jonesing for the version from my childhood, it's more about my emotional need than anything having to do with my taste buds.
Wednesday was Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day; when, on Tuesday, a friend mentioned a garden full of said vegetable, I casually informed her of the occasion. Needless to say, I spent Wednesday afternoon preheating my oven, grater in hand. (Side note: Dear KitchenAid mixer in a storage unit 6,000 miles away, the only time I've missed you more is when I whipped a meringue by hand.)
I made three loaves with three separate recipes. The first was a gift for the zucchini-bearer. She's diabetic, so it contained no refined sugar, sweetened only by 1/2 cup apple-mango juice and 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce. It was fine. For a loaf with no sugar.
The next was adapted from a recipe from oven goddess Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, with chopped dark chocolate, applesauce substituted for half of the oil, sucanat for half the sugar, and white whole wheat flour. It was delicious, but I needed something else.
The third recipe is adapted from the second. Basically, I did THIS to it.
Please, please make this recipe. It yields two loaves- one for you, and one for someone you love, or maybe as an apology loaf? I can think of no better way to say, "Sorry I [backed your car into the garage door/let your kid get into the permanent markers/got jealous and told that guy at the bar last night you had an unfortunate venereal disease]."
If you haven't screwed up recently and come from a more selfish breed, the recipe freezes exceptionally well, double-wrapped in plastic. This is the route I usually take.
p.s. Any type of summer squash can be used in this recipe, as pictured below; I still call it zucchini bread. My grated "zucchini" was actually a mixture of one gigantic, proper zucchini and one medium, harder-fleshed summer squash.
pimped out zucchini bread
Adapted two-fold from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 2 loaves
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/4 cups sucanat (or turbanado sugar)
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1/4 cup sucanat
- 2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 cup frozen raspberries, coated lightly in flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil, applesauce, and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.
- Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder salt, and chocolate. Stir this into the egg mixture.
- Make the filling: whisk sucanat, cinnamon, and cardamom together, and set aside.
- Divide half the batter evenly into prepared pans. Drop the raspberries evenly over the batter of both pans, then sprinkle the sugar mix over the raspberries. Divide the rest of the batter evenly over the filling.
- Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.