My grandmother, Maxine, was an amazing cook. She was one of those cooks who you never really knew what she was going to cook or bake until it was done. Like most Southern grandmas, she was a huge believer in always using what you had on hand which makes recreating her recipes all the more difficult to do. One of my favorite recipes of hers was her famous zucchini bread. My grandmother was known for putting zucchini in everything, so much so that my father even included it in his speech at her funeral.
It's been four years since she passed away and I still crave her country dinners and southern desserts. In the fall, zucchini bread is one of my favorite treats because it just pairs perfectly with everything from the weather to a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea. I can't remember the last time I actually tried to make zucchini bread but I was feeling a pull to make it this past weekend and share this easy family recipe with you all. With an old church cookbook and some handwritten notes from Maxine, I whipped up the best, easiest zucchini bread.
If you've never had zucchini bread before, you're seriously missing out. Though I'll be honest, it's a little hard to describe what this bread tastes and smells like. I realized this after Justin, who had never tried it before, asked me to describe it. Basically though, it's all of your favorite fall smells and tastes. A little bit of cinnamon and a whole lot of nutmeg if you're my grandmother, a moist, soft center with crispy exterior. I could go on and on. Zucchini bread is perfect to whip up during the holiday season because it's easy to give as gifts and is a surefire crowd pleaser as an appetizer, dessert, or snack. My favorite way to eat zucchini bread is warmed up with coffee in the mornings.
Typically, a zucchini bread recipe will yield two loaves but as you can tell from my pictures, I made the mistake of putting it in one big pan. This made the zucchini bread not as high as your typical bread loaf but still delicious. Baking is always a learning process so now I know that Justin and I need to add a large quantity of bread loaf pans to our wedding registry. I think the thing I like most about making zucchini bread is that it's really hard to get it wrong. You can add as much vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg as you want. Even though it has vegetables (which, who else is like, "Yes, this is total healthy because vegetables"?) it's pretty much a blank canvas that you can keep enhancing and shaping into your own recipe.
The actual recipe is seriously easy and I bet you already have all of the ingredients, except maybe zucchini, on hand. Again, remember that the recipe is a guideline so feel free to add or subtract as much of the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg as you like.
COMBINE 3 eggs + 1 Cup vegetable oil
ADD 3 Cups sugar + 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
SIFT + ADD 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder*, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 3 teaspoons of nutmeg
ADD 2 cups grated zucchini**
BAKE for 1 hour at 325°
*The recipe I used did not call for both baking powder and baking soda but I know that most recipes call for both. For this one, I only used baking powder.
**Some recipes call for the zucchini to be unpeeled. For this recipe I peeled my zucchini and then used a handheld cheese grater to grate it like you would a cheese.
Is there anything better than the smell of fall baking wafting through your home or apartment? I'd argue that there probably isn't. While the zucchini bread didn't turn out quite the way I wanted, it still smelled delicious. I didn't even wait until after dinner to have my first piece. Lucky for me, I was able to sneak one in with a cup of coffee while Justin was taking a nap.