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I could lie and say I set out to make a savory bread rather than a tender pound cake style zucchini loaf, but the truth is a little baking mishap turned into a rather delicious end product. On the weekends I like to bake, but rather than pull out the sugar, oil, and all things fatty I’ve been testing substitutions in the form of applesauce, stevia, and chia seed eggs. I tend not to follow recipes with a true baker’s precision, partly because I enjoy accenting the ingredients list with a few more dashes of sea salt, or a handful of nuts, maybe a few more drops of vanilla for flavor, and usually the resulting baked good is still delicious.

On a lazy Friday afternoon I pulled out a loaf pan and mixing bowls while my husband flipped through some new records to give us a little background music. The windows were open and a steady summer breeze made the environment feel like a true day of relaxation, and so the oven was turned along with the promise of a tender-toothed cake-y bread. I decided to switch out sugar for stevia, added a little applesauce for oil, then finished it with coconut oil to keep the batter moist. It was thick, it didn’t look promising, and I had to push the dough-like mixture to the end of the pan. I tossed it into the oven and hoped for the best. My husband is a true cheerleader for my baking and he kept pointing out the delicious cinnamon spiked scent that was radiating into the living room. I’ll admit it smelled good, but each peek into the oven revealed a slightly denser bread than I had hoped for. I’m not patient when it comes to the timer, much like my patience when following a recipe, and I pulled the bread out, flipped it onto the cooling rack, then sliced it within minutes to release a steam of spice and toasted walnuts.  I handed over a slice apologetically to my husband while I sniffed the warm piece of bread on my own plate, but after a cautious bite we both agreed that the “cake” wasn’t actually a baking mishap, but rather a savory rendition of the standard zucchini loaf.

I don’t often share recipes that can’t be followed precisely, but in this case my little failed zucchini cake turned into a bigger kitchen lesson. A leisurely weekend spent  doing something I love, testing new ingredients, and pushing recipes beyond their limits, turned into something I will definitely make again, although the results may be just as unexpected as the first time.

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Savory zucchini walnut loaf – makes 1 small loaf

Ingredients:
– 1 cup shredded zucchini
– 1-1/2 c. flour
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp. Stevia (or other natural sweetener)
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
– 1/3 c. coconut oil
– 1/3 c. chopped walnuts

Instructions:
– Preheat over to 325-degrees. Spray 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
– Combine all dry ingredients in bowl and set aside.
– Whisk egg in separate bowl, then add vanilla, applesauce, and coconut oil.
– Add dry ingredients to the mixture.
– Fold in zucchini and walnuts. Mixture will be thick and slightly doughy.
– Pour into loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center of loaf.