Monday, September 3, 2007

Behold! The Great Zucchini (Bread)!

Oh, sweet September. As the days grow shorter and humidity takes a nosedive, we look forward to your month-long bacchanalia of pre-playoff baseball, meteorological schizophrenia, and heaping gobs of use-or-it-goes-bad-tomorrow zucchini.

So – yeah. What to do with all these green things? Beyond pretending they’re lightsabers and dueling it out Kenobi-style, ratatouille comes to mind, as do mounds of squashed-up pasta. But mostly, I’m thinking zucchini bread, which, like its banana and pumpkin kin, tends to be heavy on sugar and nuts.

Enter Cooking Light. Of their five different recipes, this one looked the most promising. And for the most part, it came out pretty darn good, especially when toasted. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. Maybe a dash of ginger, a kick of cloves, or a half cup of dried cranberries would have given the bread some chutzpah, some moxy, some joie de vivre. It wouldn’t have affected the price or calorie content too terribly, either. Barring that missing ingredient, though, I’d make it again.

Working off of user reviews, I did add ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Also, since I only had a 9x5 bread pan, I made one loaf and poured the rest of the batter into a cupcake tin. Six mini-muffins took 30 minutes, while the big mama went for 50 or so.

Cooking Light was kind enough to provide nutritional information (150 calories, 4.3 g fat per slice), so only the price calculations are shown below.

Lighter Zucchini Bread
2 loaves, 12 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)
Adapted from Cooking Light.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini (12 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
Cooking spray

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray.

2) Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

3) In a separate bowl, mix egg substitute, canola oil, lemon rind, vanilla extract, and egg. Stir in sugar. Stir in zucchini. Everything should be well combined. Dump in flour mixture and stir until barely combined. Add walnuts and stir lightly.

4) Dump batter into 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans, taking care to split it evenly. Bake at 350° for 60 minutes or until the loaves pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Approximate Calorie, Fat, and Price Per Serving
150 calories, 4.3 g fat, $0.18

Calculations
3 cups all-purpose flour: $0.16
1 teaspoon baking powder: $0.03
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon: $0.03
¼ teaspoon nutmeg: $0.03
1/2 teaspoon salt: $0.01
1/4 teaspoon baking soda: $0.01
1/2 cup egg substitute: $1.09
1/3 cup canola oil: $0.25
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind: $0.34
2 teaspoons vanilla extract: $0.25
1 large egg, lightly beaten: $0.17
1 1/2 cups sugar: $0.44
3 cups shredded zucchini (12 ounces): $0.98
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted: $0.40
Cooking spray: $0.09
TOTAL: $4.28
PER SERVING (TOTAL/24): $0.18

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