Recipe: Spiced Zucchini Bread with Pecans (and an experiment with coconut oil)

Last week I taught you how to freeze zucchini to use in cooking and baking during the winter months. One good use for that frozen zucchini is zucchini bread. Of course, if you don’t mind turning on the oven in August, you don’t have to wait until winter to enjoy home-baked zucchini bread. It’s even better when the zucchini is fresh out of the garden. And, if you grow zucchini, you probably have plenty of it right about now.

Here in Iowa, August so far has been unseasonably cool. The air conditioner is off and the windows are wide open. So I had no qualms about firing up the old oven last night to make a loaf of zucchini bread to enjoy with my coffee at breakfast this morning.

Doesn’t this look good:

Recipe: Spiced Zucchini Bread with Pecans

 

I don’t remember where I originally got my zucchini bread recipe, but I’ve been tweaking it for years to get just the right combination of spices and nuts. I’ve always used applesauce instead of cooking oil, shortening or butter in my recipe to make a healthier, lower fat bread but this time I tried something different: coconut oil.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the health benefits of coconut oil as a substitute for other oils in the diet. Read more here. Bob and I recently jumped on the bandwagon and bought some organic, extra-virgin, non-hydrogenated, non-trans fat, non-GMO coconut oil that we’ve used mostly when making one of our favorite go-to weeknight meals: fried rice. The coconut oil adds a pleasant, light flavor of coconut to the dish that reminds me of Thai or Indonesian cuisine. So, I thought, why not add a little coconut flavor to the sweet zucchini bread?

A quick Google search told me that coconut oil can be substituted one-for-one for other oils in baking, so that’s what I did. Truth be told, the coconut flavor was not as pronounced in the baked bread as it is in our fried rice dish but the result was a moist, delicious loaf of zucchini bread that I enjoyed hot out of the oven as a bedtime snack last night and with my coffee on the screen porch for breakfast this morning.

This is the coconut oil I used (affiliate link):

Nature's Way Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Pure Cold-Pressed Organic Non-GMO 32 Ounce (Pack of 1)

And here’s the recipe:

Spiced Zucchini Bread with Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini; squeeze out excess moisture before measuring (about two medium zucchinis)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (substitute 1/4 cup applesauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together first six ingredients and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together shredded zucchini, eggs and sugar. Add coconut oil and lemon zest; mix well. Stir flour mixture into zucchini mixture a little at a time until combined. Fold in chopped pecans.

Turn batter into a buttered bread loaf pan. (Note, do use butter for this; I tried using more coconut oil and had trouble removing the baked bread from the pan.) Bake at 350°F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove baked bread from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Let cool another 10 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

Have you tried cooking or baking with coconut oil? Do you like it? Did you have good results? Please share your experience in the comments section below.