I remember growing up there were three quick breads my mother made quite regularly; banana bread, pumpkin bread and zucchini bread. Of the three, zucchini bread was far and away my favorite, I loved the moist slightly dense texture, the flavor with its hint of spice, but most of all I loved the crisp melt in your mouth top crust. I would eat each slice from the bottom up saving the top crust for last then eating it in tiny nibbles to make it last as long as possible.
Later, probably late middle school through high school years, I was baking as frequently as my mother would allow and I loved to make the zucchini bread almost as much as I enjoyed eating it. In fact, I made it so frequently I actually had my mother’s recipe memorized. Then I moved from where zucchini grows the size of a hefty club to where zucchini is not only pathetically stunted but frighteningly expensive. Starting out on my own, first as a college student, then at my first real job and in my own apartment, I couldn’t afford the luxury of zucchini to be turned into bread and so the details of the recipe blurred and faded from memory.
Fast forward several years to the present – I’ll admit I still consider zucchini at its normal (for here) price to be a luxury, but when a fantastic sale struck I snatched up as many of those poor stunted little zucchini as the sale would allow and dropped my mother a line to request her recipe (I have tried others, but not a single one compares to hers).
For the first batch I remained faithful to my mother’s recipe and I was not disappointed. Perhaps some of it was nostalgia, but that bread was perfection, right down to (or up to) the crisp, melt in your mouth upper crust. But, let’s face it, zucchini bread, in fact most quick breads, are cakes lent a small measure of additional nutrition by the shredded, grated or pureed veggies or fruits in their batters. I decided to see if I could ratchet up the nutritional value without sacrificing the characteristics I loved so much in my mother’s zucchini bread.
I replaced some of the AP flour with whole wheat flour and some with flax-seed meal and I replaced a portion of the vegetable oil with coconut oil. To ensure that it retained the moist dense texture despite the whole wheat flour and flax-seed meal (both of which tend to absorb more liquid than AP flour) I increased the grated zucchini slightly. Now I’m sure that if I did a side by side taste test I would notice the difference, but the new healthier version retained all the characteristics I loved in the original, and generated the same nostalgic feelings. I’m calling this one a success and adding it to my keep file.