Date & Walnut Zucchini Loaf
It turned summer in Vancouver. Being 9 months pregnant in the summer is something I tried to avoid. I’m love love loving the sunshine. But it’s definitely robbed me of any residual trace of glamour.
I was feeling really fit and mobile until a week ago – walking 6 km/day, yoga twice a week, swimming regularly… But suddenly, in the last 10 days before my due date, I can’t move without tremendous effort. And grunting. Oh, boy is there grunting.
In what I consider a heroic feat, I just went for an hour-long walk waddle on the seawall, bracing myself against tree/lamppost/sturdy-looking-jogger-who-unwittingly-stopped-to-tie-his-shoe every few minutes as either 1. sweet baby nuzzled his head into my poor unsuspecting bladder, or 2. one of those braxton hicks thingies happened.
Now I sit, very much stuck to a leather chair, red-faced and glowing sweaty, with a bowl of frozen grapes balanced on my gigananto belly and an ice pack on my neck trying to cool the heck down.
And it’s only 24 degrees Canadian here. (That’s 75 degrees American.) How do ladies in southern states, or *gulp*, equatorial parts of the world handle the heat?! Geez, Louise.
I’m glad I was in a baking/freezing frenzy before the sun gained its strength. Because now I have delicious zucchini bread for now, and one for the future, and I didn’t have to turn on my oven in the heat.
I loaded these quick-breads with toasted walnuts, chewy dates, and a handful of chocolate chips to keep hubby happy. The zucchini keeps the loaves super moist, and is otherwise imperceptible except for the attractive little green flecks.
If you’re feeling more muffin-y than loaf-y, or are just impatient, you can bake the batter in two 12-cup muffin tins at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes instead of loaf pans.
- 3 cups (lightly packed) grated zucchini
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (preferably toasted, see note above)
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips, optional (use 1/3 cup for a few token morsels, or up to 1 cup if you want a stronger chocolate presence…)
Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Prepare two 1.5 quart (1.5 L) loaf pans by lining with parchment paper or greasing well.
In a large bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add to zucchini mixture and stir until just incorporated – don’t overmix or the loaves will be tough. Gently fold in walnuts, dates and chocolate chips.
Divide batter between two loaf pans. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed in the centre (a toothpick tester will come out with just a few moist crumbs attached).