Breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day. In the morning, forget a meal, what I really want is a cup of coffee. Followed by a second cup of coffee. Afterwards, we can talk about breakfast. Or we could, except at that point it is definitely time to head in to work. Scratch breakfast.
For more years than I’m comfortable admitting (it would be more than I’m able to count on two hands), breakfast out the door most likely consisted of some dark chocolate, maybe some milk chocolate if that’s all that was left.
Long before it was hip, a friend’s mom was turning out quickbreads loaded with zucchini and pancakes made of different sorts of flour. Try handing a seven-year-old a buckwheat pancake and you may be disappointed. Wait a decade or two and when that now 24-year-old is grabbing at alternative flours, you’ll can say, “I told you so.” You’ll also probably say something like, “I can’t believe you’re still eating candy for breakfast.” But it’s the small victories that matter.
Partly because our kitchen ran out of chocolate, and partly because it seemed like at least for a couple of days it’d be nice to have an actual breakfast ready on my way out the door, I went back to that zucchini bread recipe, graciously passed along. Motivated—most likely by the odd things a lack of chocolate and sugar will do to the brain—I swapped in honey and maple syrup for some of the sweetener and whole wheat for a bit of the white flour. Clearly, I should have reached for the buckwheat.
This zucchini bread is the non-chocolate breakfast that’s, truthfully, better than chocolate. It’s spiced, with just a touch of sweetness, soft and moist with just a bit of crunch from candied maple cinnamon walnuts.
Unfortunately, we froze half of the loaf thinking we wouldn’t eat it quickly enough. Two days later what was left is gone leaving me with a sad, half frozen loaf of zucchini bread only one option this morning . Chocolate raisins for breakfast.
Recipe on the following page.
Zucchini Bread with Maple Cinnamon Walnuts
Adapted from Leah via her mom and her grandma
Makes 1 loaf
½ cup neutral oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking power
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated zucchini, sprinkled with salt and let to sit while you mix the rest of the batter
1 cup maple cinnamon walnuts, recipe below
½ cup sour cream, cream fraiche, or a mixture of the two if you happen to have little bits left over from other recipes…
1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Oil and flour a loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together oil, honey, syrup, and sugar until combined. Add eggs and stir until fully combined. Add vanilla extract, and stir until combined.
3. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. (At this point I would also suggest adding other spices like ground nutmeg, ginger, and/or clove if you feel daring. For my next loaf I may add a pinch or two.)
4. Fold grated zucchini and walnuts into the batter. Fold in the sour cream and spread into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden and a wooden tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan.
Maple Cinnamon Walnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
A pinch salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
A pinch cinnamon
1 cup walnuts (you can chop them if you’d like, I left them halved)
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Mix together butter, salt, syrup, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the walnuts and toss until the nuts are evenly coated. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and toast until golden brown and nuts are candied. Let cool completely before adding to the zucchini bread batter. Tossed with a little ground black or cayenne pepper, these nuts also make a great snack.