Sunday, July 3, 2011

Zucchini Bread with Dried Cranberries & Almonds

As a part of my "I need to clean up all these Food Network Magazines lying around my room" effort, I've been finding some new recipes.  Well, really they're old recipes since they were published months, if not years, ago.  But I'm just re-discovering them, so I'll say they're new.  I'm ripping them out of the magazines so that I can have a recipe stash to dig into in the future.  You know, for that day when I win the lottery, quit my job, and eat massive amounts of food all day long.

I'm digressing...

One of the recipes that I had forgotten about isn't really a recipe.  It's more like those Mad Lib games that we used to play as kids.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't tell me.  Just go here and check it out.  Food Network Magazine has a Mix & Match section that allows you to choose a variety of ingredients and customize your own dish based on your preferences.  The article that I stumbled across was for a Quick Bread.  I had wanted to make a version of this quick bread since I first saw the article a few months ago, but of course time ran away from me and I forgot about all about it.  The particular combination that I was looking forward to making was a zucchini bread with cranberries and almonds.  Awesomeness.

Zucchini Bread with Dried Cranberries & Almonds
recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine, May 2011

  • 1 cup grated zucchini, squeezed dry (~2 small zucchinis)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup toasted slivered almonds*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cooled melted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (or plain yogurt or sour cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* I toasted my slivered almonds in a 400 degrees F oven for only 2 minutes.  If your almonds aren't slivered, they may be able to be toasted longer, but make sure to watch them.  They can go from "fine" to "burned" in seconds.

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter or spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with cooking spray.

2) Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl: cranberries, almonds, salt, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3) Whisk the wet ingredients together in another large bowl: eggs, melted butter, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract.

4) Stir the zucchini into the wet ingredients.

5) Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

6) Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7) Cool the bread in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove the bread to cool completely before adding the glaze.

Vanilla Glaze
recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine, May 2011
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • ~2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1) Whisk together all ingredients until combined and no lumps are visible in the glaze.  (You may need to add more or less milk to get the consistency you want.)

2) Pour the glaze over the cooled bread and allow to set for 15-20 minutes.

This thing smelled so good while baking that I barely restrained myself from slicing into it before it was cooled and the glaze was set.  Why does "quick bread" still take so long? When I was finally able to dig into the bread, I found that it was several things all at once.  There was a tangy taste with each bite because of the cranberries.  The bread was sweet because of the vanilla glaze.  And it was hearty because of the zucchini and the almonds.  I couldn't really taste the zucchini very much in the bread, but I think this it's one of those ingredients which is similar in nature to salt where you won't miss it until it's not there.  I thought the bread ended up being closer in nature to a cake, rather than an actual bread, but if you're more interested in something savory, the simple solution is to leave off the glaze.

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