It’s no secret that this time of year there is an abundance of zucchini. If you don’t grow it, you can get it for super-cheap in stores and markets. To be honest, zucchini isn’t a vegetable that I use a lot. I don’t love it when it gets mushy and I find it to be a bit on the bland side.
What I do love though is zucchini bread! This version is almost like a coffee cake, but somewhat lighter. It has a nice light caramel taste though due to one little trick: browned butter. It’s a pretty easy batter to toss together and so taking a few extra minutes to give the brown the butter is totally worth it and pays huge dividends in the flavor department.
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add 1/2 cup unsalted butter to a small pot over medium-low heat. Once it melts, stir a bit and continue to cook until the melted butter foams and the foam breaks down. When it smells nutty and fragrant and you start to see tiny brown bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5-6 minutes, remove the pot from the heat.
2) Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, honey, browned sugar (cooled) and vanilla extract. It's okay to add the browned bits to the mix also from the browned butter. Then stir wet stuff into the dry stuff.
3) Grate zucchini with skin on until you have two cups of packed zucchini (about 2 small zucchini). Then fold grated zucchini into the batter.
4) Lightly butter an 9x5 loaf pan and dust it lightly with flour. Then scoop the batter into the loaf pan. Bake the loaf for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees until it's nicely browned on the surface.
5) Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes or so and then remove the loaf from the pan. Slice and serve the loaf while warm. Once the loaf is completely cooled, it keeps great for a few days wrapped in plastic wrap.
Browning the Butter
Browned butter is such a sexy ingredient. The only trick is that if you cook it too hot or too long then it becomes burned butter which is definitely not sexy.
Don’t let that deter you though from trying it out. The key is to add your butter (unsalted works best I think) to a small pot over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, it will start to foam. Let the butter foam and stir it slowly. The foam will eventually stop and you’ll notice that some of the butter solids are settling on the bottom of the pan.
When those little bits start to turn a light caramel color and the butter starts to smell really nutty and delicious, remove it from the heat immediately!
This was my finished browned butter and it took me 5-6 minutes to make.
Making the Batter
To start the batter, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then work with the sweet and liquid stuff in a smaller bowl. That includes the sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, and honey. Stir those things together!
For the browned butter, there’s no need to filter out the milk solids. You can add those to the batter without a worry.
When you whisk together the sweet mixture, make sure the butter is slightly cool or it might cook the eggs.
The mixture will essentially look like caramel and will smell amazing!
Now for the zucchini. Nothing hard about this… just grate the stuff. You need about two packed cups which, for me, was two small zucchini.
To finish the batter, stir the wet stuff into the dry stuff and then stir in the grated zucchini.
It’ll look like a lot of zucchini, but it works out.
Baking the Loaf
To bake this sucker, lightly butter a 9×5 loaf pan and then dust it lightly with flour. This will make it easier to remove the loaf when its done baking.
Then just scoop the batter into the loaf pan!
Bake this at 350 degrees F for about 60 minutes. The batter is really moist so it takes a while to get completely baked.
The finished loaf will be a nice dark toasty color and your whole house will smell like heaven (I imagine).
Let the loaf cool for a few minutes, pop it out of the loaf pan, and slice it up!
You can serve this loaf warm or at room temperature. If you need to store it, let it cool completely and then wrap it in plastic wrap and it’ll keep just fine for a few days.
The loaf has the perfect amount of sweetness and has a nice caramel, nutty flavor thanks to the browned butter.
If you happen to have a few zucchini laying around, give this guy a shot!