UPDATED! I'm sure your grandma is great, but mine? Cutest ever, hands down.

(Can I start by mentioning how mortifying it is that people actually read that last post?  GAH.  Of course that would be the post on top when people other than my one friend who knows about this blog (and would appreciate the subject matter) would stop by.  OF COURSE.  Anyway, moving on, and because there is nowhere else to go, moving up!) 

So, Grandma.  My wee little grandmother is AH-dorable.  We call her the "pocket sized piece of history."  She is all of 4'11" and 90 lbs. soaking wet (hence, pocket sized), and she is just ... so cute.  She is absolutely incapable of being unkind or impolite, sometimes to the point of ridiculous.  I mean, the woman sends me thank you notes for my thank you notes TO HER.  How sweet is that?  She came to visit with my parents over Easter, and while she was here, I asked her about her zucchini bread, which I distinctly remember LOVING as a kid.*  Grandma is so adorable that, upon returning home, she wrote out the recipe on her good stationery and sent it to me: 

Grandma has not been in the best of health lately, so I have been calling to chat more often than usual.  On one of our recent calls, when she asked if I had tried out the recipe yet, I decided it was time, especially with all of the incredible zucchini in the farmers markets lately.  The ingredients are really basic, so on a recent morning when I just couldn't sleep, I got to work.

Grandma's Zucchini Bread
(Although the G-ma would like to note that this is her basic bread recipe and can be adapted to suit any number of ingredients.  SO CUTE.)

2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
dash salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup grated unpeeled zucchini (plus 1 tbsp sugar)
1 egg
1/3 c "salad oil" (by which she means canola or other veg oil, which is odd, seeing as the woman has never not used olive oil to dress a salad)
1/2 c raisins or dates (re-plump by soaking in water and sticking in microwave for 30 seconds)
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

1.)  In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
2.)  Separately, combine the sugared zucchini, oil, egg, and raisins.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
3.)  Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 55 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to rack.

Sounds easy, right?  Well, it seemed to be, until I was getting ready to combine the wet and dry ingredients.  I was looking at them, all, there is NO WAY there is enough liquid here.  I ended up having to practically knead the mixture together to thoroughly combine everything; there was no "pouring" of the batter -- it fell into the pan in one big clump.  While I cook a lot, I'm not exactly known for my baking prowess, so I assumed it was user error (although I couldn't fathom where).  I plowed ahead, smoothing the batter and popping it into the oven.  True to Grandma's word, it was ready in 55 minutes.  After it cooled, I was anxious to try it out.  It was not exactly as I remembered:
The texture was, how shall I say?  Rather arid.  I called my mom, as I usually do after botching a family recipe, to figure out where the hell the wheels came off.  This time, though, it appears it was my memory that was botched, because mom's response was, "Well, yeah, don't you remember?  Grandma's breads were always like sawdust!"

Huh.  So you're saying I did it right then?  SWEET.

I'm thinking a few tweaks are in order, because it really is tasty.  First, I swapped out part of the flour, as I usually do, using 1 c white and 1 c whole wheat.  I also added 1 tsp of vanilla extract to the wet ingredients.  Next time, I am going to begin increasing the "salad oil" content, because the batter is really similar to my favorite apple cake, which calls for 1 c of oil; I'll start with 1/2 c, then maybe bump it up to 2/3 or 3/4 if it's still really dry.  I'm out of eggs, so I'll post an update once I'm restocked and can test it out again.

In the meantime, what to do with the rest of the tasty but parched loaf?  French toast it, baby.  My sister came by for breakfast this weekend, and this was super easy to throw together.  I sliced thin-ish slices of the bread, and whipped up an egg, a little vanilla, some cinnamon, and a splash of half and half.  After coating the bread lightly in the custard, I browned it in a hot, buttered pan, cooking until the custard sets and is no longer soggy.  It was incredible, and so decadent with a thin smear of butter and a splash of maple syrup.  Enjoy!

*It seems I may have been exaggerating things in my memory.

UPDATE:  I made the bread again, and 1/2 cup of oil was perfect.  Same deliciousness, but without the sawdust quality.  I did have to bump up the baking time another 12 or so minutes, so now we're looking at 65-75 minutes to fabulousness.  Enjoy!


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