May 19, 2009

Zucchini Applesauce Bread {Naptime Everyday}

Growing up one of my favorite activities was baking with my mother. Together we would bake everything ranging from cookies and brownies, to scones and cranberry muffins. We mostly preferred to bake for our own enjoyment, though, on occasion, we were persuaded to bake en masse, once producing over 600 molasses cookies for my babysitter’s wedding. Under Mom’s expert tutelage I learned all of the important lessons about baking including the difference between baking soda and baking powder, the importance of sifting flour, and how to remove cookies from the oven at just the right time. I adored our hours together mixing batter with the old KitchenAid, watching it rise in the oven – almost magically – to become a moist, delicious treat. In those days learning how to bake at my mother’s knee was one of the most fun activities I could imagine, and, frankly, it still is.


Last week I took my daughter to visit my parent’s (her doting grandparents) in Cooperstown for a few days. I was excited to get there, I couldn’t wait to load up on spring vegetables at my favorite farm stands and clip fragrant purple lilacs from the trees in my parent’s garden. But, above all, I couldn’t wait to get home and bake in my mother’s kitchen. When I arrived she had already prepared a pyrex glass filled with two cups of grated organic zucchini along with two greased loaf pans. From the set-up of equipment on the counter it was obvious she wanted me to make our family’s favorite zucchini bread. And, naturally, I got started the minute my daughter went down for her nap.

Zucchini Bread made with Applesauce via The Naptime Chef
Since my parent’s have lived in their house since I was eight, navigating the kitchen for this baking quest was not a problem. I pulled the mixing bowls off the same shelf where they have been kept for over twenty years, fetched the cinnamon from the spice rack next to Dad’s canning supplies and tossed the egg shells in the long-established backyard compost heap. The rhythm of sifting, stirring and pouring on the rainy afternoon in my childhood home was warm and familiar, a feeling of comfort for me that is almost unmatched anywhere else. As with most baked goods, preparing the bread while my daughter napped was a cinch. Mixing the batter was simply a matter of carefully adding the ingredients and making sure they were fully combined before pouring it into the loaf pans. While I followed the recipe I was reminded of one of my mother’s favorite calorie-reducing baking techniques and substituted applesauce for some of the vegetable oil. I know that to some this sounds unusual, but please don’t fret, having tasted zucchini bread that has been baked with the full amount of oil I can honestly say that the applesauce version is better. It is more flavorful and moist, but is considerably less greasy and doesn’t leave any residue on my fingers.

(The view from mom’s kitchen)

The bread baked for almost an hour in the oven and, once I removed it, I exercised an amazing amount of willpower, letting it cool completely until the evening. Then, finally, after clearing my family’s dishes from the dinner table – a habit held over from my grade school days when it was one of my most dredded chores – I cut pieces from a loaf for dessert. As I watched my daughter enjoy her first slice, eyes wide with delight at the tasty treat, I got excited realizing that the day will soon come when we can bake together. She will bake at my knee, learn the rhythm and language of our own family kitchen, and I will teach her everything I know about baking, too.

Recipe

Naptime Chef Favorite Zucchini Bread (or Zucchini muffins)

an old favorite recipe from Mom

Ingredients

2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ½ t. baking soda
¾ t. baking powder
1 t. coarse salt
3 ½ t. cinnamon
3 eggs, room temperature
½ c. vegetable oil
½ c. plain applesauce (not low-fat)
1 ½ c. sugar
2 c. freshly grated zucchini
2 t. pure vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. OR, one 12-cup muffin tin.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl stir together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Make sure it is fully combined.
4. Carefully pour flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring until completely combined.
5. Pour entire mixture into loaf pan. OR, if making muffins, fill muffin tins ¾ full.
6. For Zucchini Bread bake for 1 hour 10-15. OR, for muffins bake for 20 minutes.
7. You will know when the bread or muffins are down when the centers are set and spring back when they are lightly touched.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This is a simple and delicious zucchini bread recipe that also works well as muffins. The applesauce cuts calories too, making it a more healthy alternative to cookies. It is the most delicious when made with fresh, local zucchini, for which the season begins shortly. Plus, these loaves freeze beautifully, so you can put one in the freezer for later.

Naptime Stopwatch

The batter preparation takes about 10 minutes and the baking time is about 40-45 minutes. The entire project can be completed during naptime, and there is minimal clean up.

Naptime Reviews

I make this recipe more as bread than muffins, but either are great. Since there are no nuts in them they are great for children, I have never met a child that doesn’t love a nice slice of zucchini bread for dessert!

  • Melynda

    I heart zucchini bread and *can’t wait* to make this! :)

  • Melynda

    I heart zucchini bread and *can’t wait* to make this! :)

  • pve design

    Have you done a post on the differences of baking soda and powder? The view from your Mom’s Kitchen looks very nice.pve

  • pve design

    Have you done a post on the differences of baking soda and powder? The view from your Mom’s Kitchen looks very nice.
    pve

  • Kelsey B.

    Great idea! I have been thinking about a post about important baking tips. Yes, my parent’s backyard is great, one of the places in the world I feel most at peace. :)

  • Kelsey B.

    Great idea! I have been thinking about a post about important baking tips. Yes, my parent’s backyard is great, one of the places in the world I feel most at peace. :)

  • Carla

    OMG… Made this bread today.. AWESOME!!

  • Carla

    OMG… Made this bread today.. AWESOME!!

  • kirsten

    made this recipe this week with some "courgettes" from my friend's english garden. did half muffins (for now) and one loaf (for freezing). absolutely delicious. reminds me of the zucchini bread that i always looked forward to buying each summer at ingall's. thanks kels! xx

  • kirsten

    made this recipe this week with some "courgettes" from my friend's english garden. did half muffins (for now) and one loaf (for freezing). absolutely delicious. reminds me of the zucchini bread that i always looked forward to buying each summer at ingall's. thanks kels! xx

  • Emily

    This recipe is amazing. I used homemade applesauce and some walnuts and it was the best zucchini bread I’ve tasted in a while. So moist and just sweet enough! Just a note, though–you do need two pans, but the recipe only calls for one. Thanks for posting this! :)

    • Anonymous

      I am so glad Emily!

  • Ellingson-tricia

    This was really amazing bread.  My 2 and 5 year old each ate a mini loaf pan of it in one sitting.  Passed it on to many friends.

    • Anonymous

      I am so glad you like it, Tricia! Thanks for passing on the recipe!!

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  • AM5052

     I made this recipe this week with my 2 /12 year old (a budding baker) as mini muffins and they were a HUGE hit with everyone! I added walnuts and raisins which were great for texture. I baked at 335 (convection) for 13 minutes and they were perfect. Made 6 dozen so most went into the freezer for quick treats at snacktime. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Anonymous

      Amy, I love hearing that you have a budding baker on your hands! I love your idea of adding walnuts and raisins – yum!

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  • Triciadhaz

    Oh I’m so excited to make this today with my 4 1/2 year old.  She usually cooks with her daddy, she is his “little chef”.  I’m not much of a cook or baker but i can follow a recipe.  I found your childhood memories inspiring!! I want my children to have memories like that too.  Also with my son having a milk allergy I’m always excited about making something he can enjoy too without trying to figure out how to change the recipe!  I truly enjoy your blog and have made several of your recipes.  So thank you for taking time to share! 

    • Anonymous

      I am so glad Tricia, enjoy!!

  • M1garver

    Do the T’s stand for Tablespoon or Teaspoon

    • Anonymous

      Capital T is a tablespoon. Thanks!

  • Mkay

    By regular applesauce, does it mean sweetened…not sure if using unsweetened will change the texture… Found your recipe after looking for a new zucchini bread recipe that uses applesauce but wasn’t as tough/spongy as the one I had.

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi!

      I just use regular sweetened applesauce. Unsweetened would work fine too, but it might take away a little taste. But, it won’t harm the texture so feel free to use that and let me know how it goes!

      Best,
      kelsey

  • Bunnie-luv

    Hi There,
    I made a double batch of this recipe yesterday and my husband loved it!  Which, in and of itself was amazing considering the fact that he hates zucchini bread.  He has two large gardens and an abundance of zucchini – hence a double batch – and is allergic to walnuts, which is why I tried your recipe.  The only change I made was to substitute Splenda for the sugar and to use freshly ground cinnamon (we buy stick and grind it as we use it).  Have to say it’s the best zucchini recipe I’ve ever had. Thanks so much!

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi!
      I am so glad you liked the bread. It is a great way to enjoy zucchini. Happy summer!

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  • Emily

    I baked my bread loaf for over 50 minutes and it’s still pretty much raw in the middle. The parts that did get cooked were very yummy. I’m going to put it back into the oven again and see how that works.

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi Emily, I am sorry to hear this. Did baking it for an additional 15 minutes work?

      • Emily

        Unfortunately it didn’t. The middle never solidified. I was using an oven thermometer so I know my oven was at the right temperature. I have no idea what went wrong.

        • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

          Hi Emily,

          I keep going over the recipe and am not sure what went wrong. Was the pan really small? Sometimes that can make a difference.

          • Toni

            I had the same thing happen. The middle was still runny and the edges were getting dark after 50 minutes.

  • Jen

    I have a slow oven and needed the loaf to bake another 20+ minutes (checking every five minutes or so). My husband and daughter just love it! Moist and delicious, and although super tasty with cream cheese, it can easily stand alone and is just as scrumptious. I am replacing an old zucchini bread recipe with this one! Thank you!

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      i am so glad, Jen!!

  • liz

    my tried-and-true recipe bakes the bread for 75 to 80 minutes. I am trying your recipe but plan for it to bake atleast 75. fyi.

  • Erica

    Did anyone figure out why it is still runny in the middle after 40 minutes? Mine is the same. It’s been about 50-55 minutes now and still not cooked in the middle. Should I just keep baking until done?

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi! The baking time is about 1 hr 15 min. I will change the post today! Thanks! Kelsey

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