Zucchini bread is one of those things that if I had gone all summer without making it would have left me with a sad, that’s just not right sort of feeling. For years it was something my kids really looked forward to, using squash from our backyard garden. However, as the neighbor’s tree has grown to take more and more of our coveted bit of sun each year and my kids have grown up and moved out on their own; my desire to manage a large garden has grown less and less. As a result, I no longer grow zucchini and either purchase them at the farmer’s market when they are in season or more likely? Wait for the bounty of others to fill my needs when they have more zucchini that they can manage to use in this lifetime!
Without a garden and with an injury that has limited me a lot and kept me from the farmer’s market, if not for a wine tasting in my home, yes, I said a wine tasting, this batch would not have happened either. Enter the woman who in lieu of bringing either a bottle of wine or an appetizer per our groups rules and had decided instead to gift me with two monstrous zucchini. After an initial ‘Huh, What?’ moment, I certainly wasn’t displeased because now I had my zucchini for bread. My intent was to make several small loaves; something I love to do and gift to others; and made so much easier with this loaf pan I got last year…2 pans, 8 loaves…no much easier to handle than 8 separate little NOT non stick pans I used to use. Whoo hoo!
My Aunt Patsy died a couple of weeks ago after a long and good life. I wasn’t able to make it home for the funeral and that made me a bit sad but to make me feel better and I hope her family too, I planned to do what I always do in difficult times; send food for comfort.
Not just for my Dad, but for my Aunt Jane, my Dad’s other sister and Aunt Pat’s husband, my Uncle Eddie. My daughter Lauren didn’t really know my Aunt or Uncle but think this incident of family and loss was part of the reason she so wanted to make a trip to my hometown and touch base with relatives she rarely sees.
It was cathartic for her so like a lot of things…something good came from something sad. That’s Lauren with my 89 year old Dad!
This seemed the perfect thing. I had plenty of squash, enough to make several loaves and it sure seemed destined to be when I heard of a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Association that needed to include, well, California Walnuts!
Making this comfort food sort of does the same for me in a very personal way so it seemed perfect for both the fun/sad event as well as a way to show my family I’m thinking of them.
This bread as I intended it would have toasted walnuts both in the bread and on top of the icing; the perfect complement for zucchini bread! See judges…yes, I actually did use California Walnuts —————->
The original recipe calls for nuts and I assume you could add what you want, but I so prefer walnuts. I always toast them a bit before adding them to the dough mixture and it’s perfect with the cinnamon and nutmeg spices.
No matter that the recipe comes from a very old cookbook, it remains the best I’ve ever had. I’m sure there are other wonderful recipes available but something about this time honored one that is just perfect for me.
The recipe comes from a cookbook that was put together by Sacred Heart Parish in Florissant, MO where I grew up. I’ve had this cookbook for more years than I can remember. It first belonged to my Mother when I was a little girl so I’m guessing it’s at least 45 years old because we lived near that church then.
I don’t think big squash are great for a lot of my favorite recipes but are perfect for bread…both now and later. If you have too much zucchini, or like me one that is really not ideal for your favorite recipes, simply grate them now, portion out 2 cups per package and freeze for baking during the winter. I don’t blanch them, just include the thawed squash with the resulting liquid and it’s as good as fresh!
Although I love this bread all by itself (well, maybe with some butter!), I wanted to make these a bit more special. I would typically frost them with a cream cheese frosting but I’ve been going brown butter crazy lately and decided to try doing the frosting with brown butter and must say this frosting is nirvana.
This take has cinnamon but if you want to use it for other reasons, the cinnamon can always be excluded if necessary. Hide the spoons and put gloves on your fingers in any attempt to keep from just eating it all. You’ll see; I’m not kidding!
Zucchini Bread with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Brown Butter Frosting
1 hr 15 mins
An old favorite updated with a luscious cream cheese frosting.
For the Cake
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups zucchini, coarsely grated
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 - 2 cups walnuts, toasted and rough chopped (The recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts but I usually put in double that amount)
For the Cream Cheese and Brown Butter Frosting
- 1/2 cup brown butter (melt butter over medium heat, watch closely and stir until the butter starts to turn golden brown. I've found that when the butter has the most foam on top is when the butter is browning, so please watch carefully. Brown is fabulous. Burnt is ruined.
- 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 - 4 tablespoons of half and half
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional but not really!)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour 2 regular loaf pans or 4 mini pans.
- Mix eggs, oil, sugar and spices until well blended.
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to egg and oil mixture.
- Add zucchini and nuts and stir just to blend.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes for small pans or 1 hour for regular size.
Make the Frosting:
- Pour the brown butter into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer; allow it to cool a bit.
- Add the softened cream cheese and beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the cinnamon, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Beat until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.
- Add 2 - 4 Tbsp half and half and mix until a smooth and spreadable consistency.
- Frost the loaves with icing and top with the chopped walnuts.