April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day, and Cinco de Mayo is not far ahead.
Here’s a recipe to celebrate both: zucchini bread with chile peppers. It’s delicious for breakfast, coffee breaks, snacks; you can even serve it with ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.
The recipe is courtesy Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook, a primer of all varieties of chile peppers, plus 150 delicious everyday recipes that showcase the range of flavors that different peppers contribute.
Don’t like chiles?
Zucchini bread and siblings like banana bread and pumpkin bread belong to a category called quick breads (also spelled quickbreads)*. While they seem to be made with with similar ingredients and with the same method as cake, the differences are these:
The chile peppers in the recipe are ground into a powder and mixed into the batter. You won’t see them in the zucchini bread, but you will taste them.
The recipe makes two loaves, and the bread freezes beautifully.
*Quick breads include American-style biscuits, banana bread and similar fruit breads, muffins, scones, soda bread. These breads share common features: They are relatively low in fat and low in sugar compared to cake. They were invented largely because of the arrival of baking powder. Similar items made before this time used only natural leavening. Here are other types of quick bread from around the world.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, and lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray.
2. SIFT together into a bowl the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the baking soda and stir the ground chiles.
3. BEAT the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Process on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and off-white in color, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to slow and slowly add the flour mixture, bending until smooth and well-combined.
4. SWITCH the whisk for the paddle attachment. Add the zucchini, lemon zest and walnuts to the egg-flour mixture; mix thoroughly.
5. POUR equal amounts of the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes.
6. COOL the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the loaves, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely on the wire rack. Slice and serve.
The guajillo (gwa-HEE-yo) chile is a thin-skinned chile from Mexico. It has medium heat (5 on a scale of 10).
It is the dried form of the mirasol chile. It has a deep red color that intensifies when the dried chiles are soaked.
The flavor: complex notes, including green tea, berry and a faint finish of pine nut.
It is the second-most commonly used dried chili in Mexican cuisine, after poblanos, and is often used in seafood dishes.
Guajillo mean big pod in Spanish.
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