Blueberry-Walnut Zucchini Bread

I combined the best of 6 different recipes to create an Umpqua Valley version using our wonderful local blueberries, walnuts, eggs and, of course, zucchini.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup safflower or canola oil
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (firmly packed)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour** two 8 x 4-inch bread pans. (I prefer metal pans.) Stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla together with a mixer until creamy. Blend in the flour mixture just until well-combined and then fold in the zucchini by hand. Combine the berries and nuts in a colander and toss with a tablespoon of flour to coat them well. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the loaves. Fold the berries and nuts into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove from pans and let cool completely.

When cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and let stand overnight. This allows the oil and moisture to distribute evenly throughout the loaves.

*toasting the nuts is optional, but does bring out more flavor. Place in a pie plate in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, just until their color deepens a bit and they begin to give off their fragrance. Let cool before adding to the batter.

**I like to use cinnamon sugar instead of flour to coat the greased pans. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon until thoroughly blended. Divide between the greased pans and rotate to coat the bottom and sides.

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