I don’t normally post the “old stand-bys,” the banana breads and blueberry muffins that all cooks have snug in their oldest recipe boxes. I figure we all have our favorite recipe, or method, for making these foods, so why throw my version in and muck everything up?
That’s not to say I don’t love reading about them on other blogs. Whenever I see a banana bread or simple blueberry muffin I remember that it’s high time I make some again. These posts are my gentle reminders, telling me that I’ve gotten too caught-up with newfangled, out of the ordinary recipes. I’ve lost track of the foods that are simply needed if you want a warm, cozy home.
Zucchini bread brings me home. Just one whiff of the baking bread zips me back to my mom’s kitchen, where my sisters broke eggs and I begrudgingly measured flour (I wasn’t a cook back then, though I loved to eat) and my mother helped us read the recipe from her big old cookbook.
I loved zucchini bread… I still do. The combination of cinnamon and clove remains my favorite for baking. It shouts family, holidays, sitting around the kitchen—love. I was amazed when I realized that I’d never baked it for Jim. Me, with all my domestication and home-cooked meals, the frilly aprons that I wear when cooking to feel more 50’s housewife, my nurturing need to feed him.
Maybe I wanted to keep my childhood memory to myself. Maybe, living too far from my sisters and mother to see them often enough, I felt like I needed to horde away my treasured thoughts of them—I wasn’t going to share.
Then I came to my senses. How silly of me! Every man (or woman) should, at least once, come home to a freshly baked loaf of zucchini bread, made by someone they love. Everyone should experience this dense, moist loaf, warm with the scent of cinnamon and clove and flecked with little green bits of summer. The crisp, sugary crust should be bitten into by every single person on this earth, because it’s that good.
There’s a reason why it’s a old favorite.
makes one loaf
- ½ cup buttermilk*
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 large or 2 small)
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground clove
- 1 cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-by-4 inch loaf pan. Combine buttermilk, oil, and sugar in a medium bowl or your stand-mixer workbowl and whisk until light-colored and fluffy, a few minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk a few minutes more (it will seem very liquidy now, that’s okay). Fold in the zucchini.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, and clove. Stir to combine. Mix the raisins into the flour then combine everything with the wet mixture. Stir until completely combined, but no more.
Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for about an hour, or maybe 70 minutes, or until the top is firm and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for a bit before turning it out onto your counter. Enjoy with a cup of tea and some smooching.
*I use buttermilk to lighten up the batter but if you don’t have it, you can substitute oil in its place, using 3/4 cup oil for the recipe.