Recipe courtesy Jerrelle Guy | Black Girl Cooking

I remember asking my mom what those translucent chunks of food were that were showing up in her pots of chicken soup. “It’s zucchini squash,” she’d say, and I’d stare into the pot with confusion, wondering how it turned from green to clear. So she started letting me prep the zucchini so I could witness its transformation from the beginning. I remember the first time I tried to chop it. I felt my fingers slip and squeak along surface of the squash’s meat. And just like back then I still find myself squirming, like I’m hearing squeaking Styrofoam, when I touch its flesh.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup (112 g) unsalted butter, softened (dairy-free if desired)
½ cup (100 g) sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (120 g) unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
¼ cup (60 ml) honey
2 cups (240 g) white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup (180 ml) oat or nut milk, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup (120 g) shredded zucchini, squeezed of its liquid
Cinnamon sugar for topping, optional

Egg-free, vegan option, whole wheat
Makes one 9 x 5-inch (23 x 12.7-cm) loaf

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C or gas mark 7) and position a rack in the upper middle part of the oven. Spray a 9 x 5-inch (23 x 12.5-cm) loaf pan with cooking spray and line it with a 4-inch (10-cm)-wide strip of parchment long enough to stretch across the width and up the sides with a little hanging over.
  2. In a large bowl with a handheld beater or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir together the applesauce and honey, and slowly pour it into the creamed butter and sugar, continuing to beat until smooth.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl. In a third bowl, stir the milk and lemon zest and juice together, and allow a few minutes to curdle.
  5. Folding gently, add the flour mixture to the bowl of creamed butter and sugar in 2 batches, alternating with the milk and lemon juice mixture. Just as it comes together, fold in the drained zucchini, being careful not to overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before lifting it from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least another 10 minutes. Top with cinnamon sugar if you like, then slice and serve.

NOTE: You can replace half or all of the shredded zucchini with equal amounts of shredded drained apples.

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