Sunday, August 1, 2010

Carrot-Zucchini Bread with Candied Ginger

So I love carrot cake.  And I love zucchini bread.  But I have never combined the two.  The other day I was trying to recreate a zucchini bread recipe I made once before using candied ginger and came across this recipe online on the Chicago Sun-Times website.  The recipe sounded really interesting (the person who came up with combining carrots, zucchini, and ginger into a bread is the type of mad kitchen scientist that I would love to meet).  Better yet, through some vagary of fate we have all of the ingredients in the kitchen for once - with both the zucchini and the carrots coming from our CSA.  So that seemed like a definite sign to me that we had to make this bread, and we had to do it soon!  Although baking was the very last thing I wanted to do this evening after a long week at work, I figured if I didn't make the carrot-zucchini bread tonight, I was never going to make it.  So after we finished cleaning up from dinner, I started right on making yet another mess of the kitchen.  Have I mentioned recently how much Alex hates it when I bake because I tend to make huge floury messes?  Sorry hon.

This bread smelled delicious while it cooked.  I couldn't wait to cut off a huge slice and try it out.  The last time I baked with zucchini I made a Chocolate Zucchini Cake that was tasty, but you really couldn't taste the zucchini at all.  What I was hoping for here was a far more summery bread where the taste of zucchini and carrots would be far more evident.  If I were to make a cake version of this bread (which would require making it quite a bit sweeter), I would top it with some homemade cream cheese frosting.  I made one loaf with chopped walnuts for me, and one loaf without any nuts for Alex because he has a serious hatred of baked goods with nuts in them.  And boy was that a good call.  When Alex took a bite of his loaf his first words were "yummmm, I think this is kind of awesome."  And for the record, that is huge praise from Alex.  The bread isn't super moist, but the flavor is really nice.  I love the combination of the carrot, zucchini, ground ginger, candied ginger, and cinnamon.  Alex was right - it is kind of awesome.

Recipe after the jump!

Carrot-Zucchini Bread with Candied Ginger
Eating Local:  The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers
By Janet Fletcher

3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup candied ginger, minced
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
1 cup zucchini, grated on large holes of box grater

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat 2 (8½-by-4½-by-2¾-inch) loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Sift together sifted flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder into medium bowl. Stir in salt and candied ginger.

In large bowl, whisk eggs until light and foamy. Add canola oil, sugar and vanilla, whisking vigorously until sugar dissolves. Whisk in the carrots and zucchini.  Add dry ingredients to egg mixture all at once and stir with wooden spoon just until blended. Divide batter evenly between 2 prepared pans.

Bake until breads are well-risen and firm to touch, and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert and finish cooling right side up on rack.

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