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Jan's Zucchini Bread

From Athens Locally Grown

<p>A nice way to use zucchini squash that have grown a bit too large&#8230; the 4 cups of grated veggie in this recipe translates into just about a pound and a half of zucchini, but it makes two pretty loaves without any more work than making one. The loaves freeze beautifully, so eat one now and put the other away for later!</p> <p>There are a lot of recipes for zucchini bread &#8220;out there&#8221;, but they generally are so full of white flour, white sugar, and oil that this probably offsets any health benefit provided by the zucchini that&#8217;s stuck in there. Over the years, I&#8217;ve been working at gradually making the basic recipe healthier, and this is what I&#8217;ve come up with. It&#8217;s tasty and relatively good for you the way it is now, but if you find you can improve it further, please share your variation with the rest of us! Just post it in the Comments section. (That&#8217;s the kind of thing it&#8217;s there for!)</p>
Source: My version, adapted from many different recipes (Entered by Janice Matthews)
Serves: 2 generous loaves (9x5 pans)

6 eggs*
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil or other mild-flavored oil
1 cup honey
2 tsp. grated orange peel (zest)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups grated zucchini (not peeled)
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (opt.)

Step by Step Instructions
  1. Beat eggs; beat in the applesauce, oil, and sugar. (*Yes, I know. You can substitute egg whites, Eggbeaters, or similar for some or all of the whole eggs if you wish. It's your call. I consider ALG eggs to be healthy!)
  2. Beat in the honey and flavorings, and finally, mix in the grated zucchini. (If the zucchini is at all watery, first drain off any juices that have been released.)
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, spices, soda, baking powder).
  4. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until everything is mixed together. (Don't overbeat the batter; that would make it dense and tough when it bakes.) At this point, add the chopped nuts if you are including them.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While it is heating, thoroughly grease two large (9x5 inch) loaf pans. Then pour the batter into the pans.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean; this is usually 45-60 minutes. After you remove it from the oven, let it cool in the pan until the bread removes easily (usually 10-15 minutes), then shake it out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
  7. Zucchini bread is delicious as is, or toasted and spread with reduced-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt cheese. If you want to freeze the second loaf, when it is fully cool wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and then place it in a sealable freezer bag.