Take summer squash into fall

  • Zucchinis are typically ready in New Hampshire from July to September. Sarah Pearson / Concord Monitor

  • A loaf of zucchini bread with walnuts. Sarah Pearson / Concord Monitor

Monitor staff
Published: 9/27/2020 2:14:27 PM

September marks the end of the usual harvest season for zucchini. This member of the summer squash family is typically picked from July through September in the Northeast.

Though often served roasted in wedges or sauteed in coins as a savory dish, if you’re fortunate enough to have oodles available from your summer garden plot you can carry their flavors into fall. Sweetened baked goods made with shredded zucchini and warm spices to help you transition summer vegetables to an autumn snacks that are not too different in flavor than a carrot cake.

Zucchini Bread

Warmed and served with butter makes a lovely breakfast on a chilly September morning, perhaps with a cup of tea, or top with a chocolate-hazelnut spread for an extra sweet afternoon snack.

■3 to 4 cups zucchini, grated

■3 cups flour

■2 tsp. baking soda

■2 tsp. cinnamon

■½ tsp. nutmeg

■½ tsp. ginger

■1 ⅓ cup sugar

■2 eggs

■2 tsp. vanilla

■¾ cup butter (1½ sticks)

■½ tsp salt

■1 cup chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts (optional)

■1 cup dried raisins or dried cranberries (optional) 

 

To grate the zucchini, you can use a coarse side of a cheese grate or a chop function on a food processor.

Cream together sugar, softened butter, vanilla and eggs. Stir in spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg), baking soda and salt. Then fold in flour, followed zucchini last.

You can also fold in nuts and dried fruit with the zucchini if you are including them. 

Pour into a greased loaf pan (about 9x6x3 inches) or into muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes for a loaf or 20 to 25 minutes for muffins, or until a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean. 

Zucchini Whoopie Pies

Chocolate whoopie pies with vanilla or marshmallow cream are a tradition in the New England states, but if you’re looking to sneak some veggies into your dessert, these can be a good alternative. I’ve included directions for a cream cheese frosting, which I think pair best, but feel free to use your own favorite frosting recipe, like a buttercream.

Cake halves

■1 cup sugar

■1 cup grated zucchini

■1 tsp. baking soda

■1 tsp. baking powder

■½ cup vegetable shortening

■1 egg

■2 cups flour

■1 tsp. cinnamon

■½ tsp. cloves

■½ cup milk

■1 tsp. salt

■1 tsp. vanilla

 

Cream cheese frosting

■½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter (if using salted, omit added salt)

■8 oz. full fat cream cheese (low-fat or spreadable will alter the consistency)

■1 tsp. vanilla extract

■¼ tsp salt

■4 cups powder sugar

 

For the cakes: Blend the sugar, egg, and shortening until creamy. Stir in milk and vanilla. 

Stir in baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves, until well-incorporated. Then add flour. 

Lastly, fold in zucchini. 

Drop onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or cooking spray in 2 tablespoon rounds. 

Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes until cakes are set. Watch carefully as they can be quick to burn. 

For frosting: Combine butter and cream cheese and beat until creamy and lump-free. Add vanilla extract and salt and stir well. Gradually add in powdered sugar until completely combined. Amount of powdered sugar can be more or less depending on the consistency you prefer. 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This recipe was shared with my parents as part of a wedding present of pans and spices. So, thank you Mary Zornio for passing this on.

■½ cup (one stick) butter

■½ cup vegetable/canola oil

■1 ¾ cup sugar

■2 eggs

■1 tsp vanilla

■½ cup milk

■½ tbsp. lemon juice

■1 ½ cups flour

■4 tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)

■½ tsp baking powder

■1 tsp. baking soda

■½ tsp. cinnamon

■½ tsp. cloves

■2 cups grated zucchini

■¾ – 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

Cream the butter, oil and sugar. Then add in the eggs, vanilla, milk and lemon juice. Mix well and then add flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. With the batter well-combined, fold in the grated zucchini. 

Pour into a greased and floured 13x9 pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. 

Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. 




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