Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread
When it rains, it pours. At least, that seems to be the case for those who grow zucchini (or have neighbors who do). Unfortunately, I do not have a green thumb nor a garden, but I do love fresh produce from the garden, including zucchini. If you have bounty of this watery, green vegetable sitting around, you are in luck because I have the perfect recipe for you! Think sugar and spice and everything nice!
My stash of zucchini and other summer vegetables pictured below came from Willhoite’s Family Orchard. This lovely orchard is located just a few miles from my childhood home near Fort Dodge, Iowa, where my parents still reside. This is a fairly new, family-owned and operated orchard under the leadership of my dear friend Chester. His wife Rita, son David and daughter Diane plus their spouses, and grandkids help out immensely, too! It is incredible how much work Chester and his family do each day throughout the year—and in the winter months, too! Though the apple trees in the orchard are still pretty young, they have a bounty of beautiful produce available to purchase. Their produce is sold primarily at Fareway and Hy-Vee stores and at the Fort Dodge Farmer’s Market. Now that I am living in Illinois, my trips to the orchard are a bit limited but I love catching up when I am able!
To my friends near the Fort Dodge area in Iowa, I would highly recommend stopping by the next Farmer’s Market! Chester is a one-of-a-kind guy with a warm and inviting personality. His expertise and passion for growing food will inspire you, too! Right now, they have zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, red raspberries, and cantaloupe available for purchase. Later in the summer you can expect some watermelons, too. Last but not least, the fall season will bring some apples, various types of winter squash (ie butternut, buttercup, and acorn), pumpkins, and gourds. Help support local farmers doing tremendous work for the community while buying healthy foods!
So, with my prized stash of zucchini, I enjoyed some sautéed, but I also made something extra special: Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread. It’s so well-liked by family and friends that I made four batches! The cinnamon swirl is a huge upgrade from your typical zucchini bread! Trust me, you will see this bread disappear before your own eyes.
Zucchini Cinnamon Swirl Bread
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup peeled and finely grated zucchini (see note below)
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or spray two 7-3/8 x 3-5/8 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla until the mixture is combined and smooth. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix until combined. Gently stir all dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini.
Prepare the cinnamon swirl by mixing the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Do not add the pecans to this mixture; keep them separate.
To assemble the loaves, add about ¼ of the batter into the bottom of each loaf pan. About half of the batter should remain. Carefully sprinkle about 3 Tbsp of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the batter of each loaf pan. Evenly distribute ¼ cup of chopped pecans over the filling of each loaf. Gently spoon the remaining batter over the filling of both loaves. Sprinkle the remaining filling over the top (about 1 Tbsp per loaf).
Bake in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
NOTE: I recommend peeling the zucchini prior to grating, unless the green specks are desired in the finished product. Before adding the zucchini to the bread, place it in a fine mesh strainer and press out the excess water using a paper towel. One medium or two small zucchini will yield about 1 cup.