Look-No-Further Zucchini Bread

Bread, Muffins, Unfussy

This time of year I usually blindly pick a zucchini bread recipe to make from an online source or a cookbook so I can scratch the itch. I make it once, decide it’s not my favorite, and wait until next year to try again. This time I tested a few, tweaked the one I liked, and finally settled on this recipe. Moist, simple, not ridiculously sweet, with plenty of zucchini (in this case, the yellow variety).

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 2 cups (250g) shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just moistened.

Fold in shredded zucchini until uniform and all the flour has been incorporated. The batter will be stiff.

Scrape into prepared pan – it should fill the loaf pan 3/4 of the way up.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Tent loosely with foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, until no longer doughy in the middle.

Let cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out.

Makes one loaf. Makes fine muffins too.

Jammy Bars

Cookies, Unfussy

This is an excellent use of any tasty jam you have sitting in your fridge for a little too long. The peach rosemary jam I had from last year was lovely.

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups jam

Make Crust: Place all ingredients in the food processor. Process in long pulses until the dough is just formed, stopping and scraping the bowl when necessary. Remove dough from bowl and pat into a rough square.

Place dough between layers of wax paper and roll out to approximately 9×13″ and 1/4″ thick. Lightly grease a quarter-sheet pan or 9×13″ pan. Place the dough in the pan – the dough is forgiving and you can press it around to make it as even as possible.

Place dough in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Make Streusel: In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon. Cut the butter into tablespoons and work into the flour mixture with your fingers until clumps form. Toss with vanilla and set aside.

Assemble and Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1 1/4 cups jam evenly over the dough in the prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with the streusel.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the streusel becomes light brown. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.

White Whale Monster Cookies

Cookies, Unfussy

Anyone that grew up in Iowa City will tell you that the monster cookie at Cookies & More in the Old Capitol Mall is the all-time greatest cookie. I have been testing monster cookie recipes for years trying to crack the code. I finally got it (it’s not an oatmeal cookie with peanut butter, it’s a peanut butter cookie with oatmeal). My sister-in-law, Katherine, tested the recipe and said the only thing it lacks is awkward adolescence and the mall smell.

If using Jif/Skippy peanut butter instead of natural peanut butter, add an extra 1/2 cup quick oats to the recipe.

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups M&Ms

Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars and honey together until very light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the mixture is uniform in color.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrape bowl.

Sift flour, soda, powder and salt and add to mixer. Stir until well combined, scrape bowl and mix well. Add oats and chocolate chips and mix well, scraping if necessary. You CAN mix in the M&Ms at this point, but if you want to be able to see them perfectly on top, reserve M&Ms until you have scooped the cookies.

Using about 3 TBSP of dough per mound, scoop the dough into mounds on a cookie sheet or plate that you can fit in your refrigerator to chill. Press 5-6 M&Ms onto the top of each mound. Chill at least an hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer cookie dough balls to a parchment lined baking sheet, spaced about 3″ apart (you can roll them slightly into a more uniform ball at this point if you are into that sort of thing). Press each cookie down to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. The center will look slightly under-baked. Cool completely on cookie sheets- they will fall apart if you try to remove them too quickly, but will firm up as they cool.

Repeat with remaining dough, or freeze dough balls and bake on demand. The cookies can be baked from frozen, you will just need to lengthen the baking time by 5 minutes or so.

Homebakers Collective May Challenge: Flatbreads

Bread, Homebakers Collective Challenge, Unfussy

SCALLION CAKES

For this month’s flatbread challenge I decided to go with an oldie but a goodie. These popped up often on our dining table when I was a kiddo. They are a breeze to throw together, and usually disappear as quickly as they come off the griddle.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 TBSP chopped scallions
  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • vegetable oil for frying

Combine flour, water and salt and mix until dough holds together (I like to do this in the food processor). Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes

Stir together scallions, cilantro and sesame oil.

Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each into an 8-inch circle. Spread each circle with half of the scallion mixture. One at a time, roll up the circle into a cylinder, hold the two ends and twist, then wind the cylinder into a coil. Flatten and roll out again into 1/4-inch thick round.

Heat a griddle that will fit the cake to medium. Pour a little vegetable oil on the griddle to coat, then fry the scallion cake until browned. Flip and fry the other side. Add more vegetable oil to the griddle and fry the second scallion cake.

Cut into wedges and serve with soy sauce, chili crisp, or hoisin.

Makes 2 cakes (you should probably double this recipe – I always do).

Strawberry Shortcake

Unfussy

Strawberry Shortcake is a no-brainer this time of year. This is a family recipe with a shortcake biscuit, slightly sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

Strawberries:

  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 TBSP sugar (or to taste)

Biscuits:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Whipped cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine sliced strawberries and sugar in a bowl, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line or grease a baking sheet.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut in butter by hand or with food processor, until butter particles are fine. Combine milk and eggs in a liquid measuring cup. Stir into flour mixture until dough is moistened.

Turn out onto floured work surface and gently pat into a rough circle. Fold dough in half, pat into a rough circle again and fold once more.

Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch (or so) circles. Re-roll the scraps and cut remaining dough. You should get about 12 shortcakes.

Place on baking sheet. Brush with butter or cream and sprinkle with sugar (or graham cracker crumbs – as pictured).

Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool.

Whip heavy cream with vanilla and powdered sugar until soft peaks.

Serve each biscuit, sliced, with copious amounts of strawberries and as much whipped cream as is humanly possible.