After we all came back home, I decided to bake something for my parents tailored to their tastes. I knew that they had just bought some zucchini, and they've always liked breads that have vegetables in them, so I decided to make some zucchini bread from Williams-Sonoma: Bread. It ended up being extremely flavorful and very moist. It was a big hit among my parents, and it was gone within a couple of hours. This recipe featured a very helpful side note:
"LOAF PANS: Loaf pans give form to breads that are too moist to hold their own shape. They range in size and shape, but the standard size is 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches, with a capacity of 5 1/2 cups. Be careful when trying to substitute a pan of a different size than what's called for in a recipe. As a rule of thumb, the batter should fill the pan about two-thirds full. Use less batter, and you will have a flat loaf. Fill the pan too full, and you will end up with an overflowing, top-heavy loaf that looks awkward and is difficult to slice."
*makes one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf*
8 oz zucchini, trimmed
1/2 cup canola oil, plus extra for greasing
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pitted moist-pack prunes
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
2) Using the large holes of a box grater-shredder or the large-holed shredder blade of a food processor, shred the zucchini. You should have about 1 cup. Set aside.
3) In a bowl, combine the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat vigorously with a whisk or with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the shredded zucchini until blended.
4) In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, prunes, and walnuts. Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir just until combined. The batter will be stiff. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
5) Bake until the bread is firm to the touch and pulls away from the pan sides, 50-60 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of a loaf should come out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out, place upright on the rack, and let cool completely.