April 23 is National Zucchini Bread Day. Here are two versions sure to please whomever stops by for a cup of tea or pops in to get out of the rain. 

Olive Oil Zucchini Bread – adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe published in The New York Times 

We made this on a snow day, when the Sandhills were all but shut down, and we had a hankering for something bright and cozy. This bread was perfect. The citrus was a welcome surprise, and the bread was tender, moist and best served warm with Irish butter slathered across each slice. We think this would make excellent muffins, which we plan to try next time, cutting the baking time to 35 minutes. Let us know which way you try it and if you love the lemon zest as much we do! 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups grated zucchini (approximately one zucchini) 
  • 2/3 cups light brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 individual carton vanilla Greek yogurt (at least 2% but whole milk is better) 
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • Zest of one lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush an 8-inch loaf pan with butter (or cooking spray). 
  2. In a large bowl (we used a KitchenAid), combine wet ingredients including zucchini, brown sugar, olive oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, spices and lemon zest. 
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, careful not to overmix. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 – 55 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark. Bread will be done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of pan and remove the bread from the pan allowing it to cool completely before slicing. 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

We believe, ardently, that chocolate makes everything better, even zucchini. This bread proves this theory to be true. 

Makes one loaf but is easily doubled. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly grated zucchini 
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp. instant coffee granules
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or baking spray. 
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients including flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. 
  3. Beat the sugar and eggs until fluffy and add melted butter, instant coffee and almond extract. Add the zucchini to the sugar mixture and combine. 
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three additions, stirring to combine after each addition. Do not overmix. 
  5. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a knife/skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  6. Remove to a cooking rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool completely. 
  7. To serve, cut with a serrated bread knife for best results. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee and feel good about getting your veggies for the day.