I'm really lovin this Squash Bread. The original recipe from Heidi is made from Zucchini, but I have an abundance of squash in my new garden and needed something to make with it besides pickles. Yes, I have made 9 jars of squash pickles so far. I've given away maybe 2 dozen fresh squash and yet they just keep coming! That is really the joy of growing your own food. Watching the little plants spring up practically overnight and becoming a tangled web of vines that you wonder if it is going to open your door and bind you up in the middle of the night. Ok, I haven't actually had nightmares that my squash is going to eat me, but I am definitely enjoying eating it.
This recipe may border on weird for some of you but I promise the flavors and seasonings are stellar together in the bread. Walnuts, poppy seeds, candied ginger, curry, and a touch of lemon fragrantly season this Thai spiced bread. All of these ingredients are optional, but doing it "fully loaded" won't disappoint. The squash bake right in and practically disappear. I would have no idea that there is vegetables in it if I didn't make it myself.
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, plus a few to sprinkle on top
1/3 cup poppy seeds (optional)
zest of two lemons (optional)
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup unsalted butter ( I used fragrant coconut oil)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fine grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium), skins on, squeeze some of the moisture out and then fluff it up again before using
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter the two loaf pans, dust them with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pans with a sheet of parchment.
In a small bowl combine the walnuts, poppy seeds, lemon zest, and ginger. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and curry powder.
In a separate large bowl or mixer, beat the butter (or coconut oil) until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini (low speed if you are using a mixer). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition.
By hand, fold in the walnut, poppy seed, lemon zest, and crystalized ginger mixture. Save a bit of this to sprinkle on the tops of the zucchini loaves before baking for a bit of texture. Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist, not unlike a butter cream frosting.
Divide the batter equally between two 5x9 loaf pans. Make sure it is level in the pans, by running a spatula over the top of each loaf. Bake for about 40-45 minutes on a middle oven rack. Err on the side of under cooking this bread because you don't want it to dry out. Keep in mind it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the oven as it is cooling. Remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pan for about ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling so it will not become soggy.