I’ve decided zucchini bread might have been the original Deceptively Delicious type of recipe. You know, those Trojan Horse dishes that are meant to sneak more vegetables into unsuspecting kids’ (or veggie-averse adults’) diets? Pureed sweet potatoes in the form of “hot chocolate” (I’m looking at a good friend here who tried to get that one past me – ew); butternut squash surreptitiously stirred into macaroni and cheese?
I mean, let’s face it – zucchini bread isn’t really about the zucchini, is it? Sure, it adds cute little green specks, a good amount of moisture, and a nice feeling that you’re eating something made with a vegetable, so it can’t be too fattening. But really, it’s not like you tuck into a slice and rave about that powerful punch of pure zucchini flavor. At least, I don’t … but I’m definitely open to the idea that that might just be me.
I love zucchini bread, though. All that cinnamony goodness … late summer in a loaf. And I love it even more now, after I decided to change up one of the ingredients – instead of just plain old melted butter, I decided to brown it.
Brown butter is just what it sounds like – butter you cook until it turns brown. Essentially, over heat and with enough time, the milk solids get nice and toasty and give the butter an amazing nutty flavor. I’ve enjoyed brown butter foodstuffs when out and about, but this is the first time I made it at home. I know. I’m ashamed. (Thanks, by the way, to Elise at Simply Recipes for the instructions.)
This zucchini bread recipe is great anyway – so moist, just perfect really – but browning the butter first adds another delicious dimension of flavor. I don’t like nuts in my zucchini bread, but the nutty flavor the brown butter imparts is a-ok with me.
Try it with coffee or tea, but probably not sweet potato “hot chocolate.”
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from about 2 medium zucchini)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In a small, thick-bottomed pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the butter begins to turn brown and smells nutty, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and allow to cool. Note: It is really easy to burn brown butter, so watch it carefully. It turns brown really fast (and can also burn really fast!)
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix in the cooled brown butter.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in the zucchini.
- Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Cool bread for about 10 minutes in the pan then turn out and let cool completely on a wire rack.