Saturday, June 25, 2011

Zucchini-Carrot-Pecan Bread




Every Friday I try to bake something for my husband to take with him the following day.  Early Saturday mornings you will find him out with his training team - a group of dedicated triathletes who find it fun to ride their bikes anywhere from 60-105 miles and then run between 5 and 9 miles (they swim on Friday mornings).  I bake because after all of this hard work they all deserve a treat.

In an effort not to sabotage their training I have been trying to incorporate some healthy elements into my baking - use less sugar, use lot fruits and/or vegetables, cut back on oil.  It is still a work in progress because I have always used lots of butter, cream, sugar, and eggs without even a second thought. One ingredient I haven't experimented with very much is flour.  That is until I was reading Kim's blog, Liv Life, a few days ago and she featured a recipe for chocolate chip cookies (made by her daughter) using spelt flour. 

Following Kim's lead on researching spelt flour I found that it is considered to have a somewhat nuttier and slightly sweeter flavor than whole-wheat flour.  Spelt is by nature a wholefood, and unlike wheat where much of the nutritional bran and germ are often removed during milling, the vital substances of spelt are found in the inner kernel of the grain. Spelt contains more protein, minerals, and amino acids than regular wheat and this superior nutrition makes it an ideal training and endurance food. Although spelt does contain gluten, studies have shown that it can be tolerated by many people who are normally gluten-intolerant.

I do make a lot of quick breads because not only are they tasty but they travel well, which is always handy when it is being thrown in a pick up truck.  Well, maybe "thrown" is not the best description but lets just say that a quick bread is a lot safer than a sponge cake.   With experience I have found that cookies, quick breads, and bar cookies/slices are the way to go when the goodies have to make a trip.





One quick bread recipe that caught my eye recently was a Zucchini-Carrot Bread that appeared on Monica's blog Lick The Bowl Good.  Actually the first thing that grabs my attention each time I visit her blog is that beautiful photo of a Meyer Lemon-Lime Bar in her banner (I can see why the post is entitled "The Best I've Ever Had").  She reached into her archives for this recipe, and it was adapted from a recipe found on Baking with Lisa, who adapted it from Sur la Table’s “Eating Local”.  I adapted it a little further by substituting some spelt flour for the all-purpose flour, adding the toasted pecans, decreasing the sugar and oil, and adding a sprinkle of raw sugar on top.  My last change was to bake one large loaf because my loaf tin is 10 inches x 5 inches.  I really wanted to use candied ginger as described in the recipe but I couldn't find it in my pantry.

Using a single pan will result in a beautiful, high-rising loaf which is just the way I like my quick bread.  I thought the flavor was great, although I may add a little apple sauce next time to add some moisture and compensate for the oil I omitted.  The spelt flour worked out great and I may even do a 50-50 split next time with the all-purpose flour.






Carrot-Zucchini-Pecan Bread
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Spelt flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • ½ cup minced candied ginger (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrots
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar, optional

Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. 
  2. Grease two 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pans, or line them with foil or parchment paper (I used one pan that was 10x5 inches).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda. 
  4. Whisk in the salt and candied ginger, optional.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy. 
  6. Add the canola oil, sugar, and vanilla, whisking hard until well combined. 
  7. Stir in the carrots and zucchini.
  8. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir/fold until just blended.
  9. Divide evenly between the loaf pans (or add to a single pan like I did).
  10. Sprinkle with raw sugar, if desired.
  11. Bake for about 1 hour, until the loaves are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine baked for approximately 75 minutes).
  12. Cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then unmold onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe by Lick the Bowl Good and Baking with Lisa.

24 comments:

  1. That might be worth becoming a triathlete for :) Great looking bread! Buzzed

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, this looks fabulous! I love the addition of ginger...mmmmmm. Lucky hubby and friends :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I appreciate healthy recipes, like you, I used a lot of butter and eggs, but sometimes it is good to have this option, it is better for us. Of course, we don't have spelt flour in my country, but I think I can use whole wheat flour, plus some oatmeal, what do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great bread! So cool that you bake for the guys after their workouts. I am sure they love it - I sure would!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Mi Vida en un Dulce You could definitely try substituting whole wheat flour for the amount of spelt flour in this recipe. By the way, your Pisco Sour Cupcakes look amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's awesome your hubby is such a dedicated athlete. So sweet you bake treats for them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are such a sweet wife! And he is a lucky (and probably very popular) guy to get a treat every saturday morning. Love the idea of combining zucchini and carrot together. This might be my next quick bread I make.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This bread looks amazing! I wish I had a huge slice of it for breakfast today. :) Love the option of adding candied ginger.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I bake on Friday to destress from a busy work week. How nice of you make sweet treats for your hubby. I have had spelt bread before but never thought to substitute it in other bake goods. Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've never made a zucchini bread with carrots and ginger before but it sounds really good! I'll have to give it a try this summer! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It looks so yummy and healthy, I cant belive I said yummy and healthy in the same sentence. I bookmarked this to enjoy it later.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This bread looks beautiful! Love the flavors!

    ReplyDelete
  13. healthy flavours looks wonderful for breakfast
    regards
    torviewtoronto and createwithmom

    ReplyDelete
  14. We love zucchini bread in our house and I have never thought of adding carrots to it. What a good idea. I am anxious to get some spelt flour and start cooking with it. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Breads like this aren't just great for post-workout feasts. Wrap slices in waxed paper or a ziplock bag and it's a great on-the-bike snack. The only thing I'd change is to make the flour half a-p, half white whole wheat. Trust me, they'd prefer this to a powerbar or energy goop any day of the week. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So healthy with the zucchini and carrots! I recently purchased spelt flour and now looking forward to trying this. We bike often and this will be perfect to bring along!

    ReplyDelete
  17. So nice to have healthier options. This looks incredibly moist.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This look healthy and delicious. The ginger sounds fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have to be honest, I've been skipping past spelt flour in recipes because I didn't really know what it was. Thank you for the description! I don't need to do so much research now :) This bread looks fantastic...and healthy enough to eat even if I haven't biked that much :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. This sounds so good!! Lucky hubs and his team! I'd join them just so I can eat your treats. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. This bread has the correct texture, which shows in the photograph itself! Loved the recipe and it is so healthy to feed my kids with this homemade goodness! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This looks so good and I second the comment above about proper texture. you got it!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. MMM!!! This one is a must try!! I absolutely adore zucchini, and if I get to it, I will have a plant growing soon in my garden. Unfortunately, our coastal weather here has been grey for most of the last 3 weeks with only a bit of sun mid day and I've learned from experience that my little zucchini plants are just not really happy in this weather. So I've been waiting until the grey goes away, and I think we are nearly there. It's time to plant!
    I'm so glad you found the spelt flour... I use it often and frequently just sub a little of the all purpose with the spelt and no one ever knows. Somehow it makes me fell less guilty!! Thanks for the shout out, Felice!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.