Zucchini Bread

Finally, gardening comes full circle. Last year’s garden produced a lot, but mainly zucchini. Millions and millions of them, it seemed. We would go out one day and see a few orangey flowers and then a few days later we’d be hauling in watermelon sized zucchinis and scratching our heads as to what to do with them. So by the end of the summer when I had fed the entire newsroom with massive zucchini and I felt bad about tossing them, I started bagging them up and throwing them in the freezer. And finally, nearly a year later I had one big bag of shredded zucchini left.

So, I made zucchini bread, of course. Who wouldn’t want to see those green shreds mixed with three cups of sugar and a cup of oil?

This recipe is from Paula Deen, and with the exception of the time I made it in Colorado and it sank into a two-inch tall pathetic heap of sweet bread, it’s perfect. Soft on the inside, a little crispy on the edges. It makes two good-sized loaves.

Zucchini Bread

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

Chocolate Crinkles

Warning: Do not inhale the powdered sugar.

These cookies are amazing. They have a texture somewhere between cookie, brownie and chocolate cupcake. And they’re way easy to make.

Chocolate Crinkles
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

4 eggs
2 c. granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (I used 4 of the already melted packets)
1/2 c. cooking oil
2 t. baking powder
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sifted powdered sugar (for rolling)

In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, chocolate, oil, baking powder, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer (or be old-school like me and do it by hand).

Beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time until combined. Dough will be really soft. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours or until dough is easy to handle (or be impatient like me and pop it in the freezer for an hour).

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, roll them thoroughly in powdered sugar and place them 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Transfer to a rack and cool.

For giant cookies:
Make 2-inch balls and bake for 13-16 minutes.