Was it the decision to triple the recipe? Or maybe loosing track of how many cups of flour I measured somewhere between cups 6 and 8. Could it have been my slightly unlevel oven?
Whatever it was (or wasn't) I had a baking disaster last night. It started a couple of days ago. A coworker brought some zucchini to work from his over abundant garden. There were two of them. One was about 2 lbs and the other about 4 lbs. They sat on the break room counter for a few days. I think the size was a little daunting for most. On Thursday, I couldn't take it anymore. They needed to be used!
I took both zucchini home and made one of my favorite newly discovered summer pasta recipes for dinner Thursday night using the 2 lbs zucchini. It was delicious!
The 4-pounder sat on the counter all Thursday night looking lonely and un-used. I thought about it off and on all day Friday trying to decided what to do with it. Sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., I landed on zucchini bread.
When I decide to make something for the first time and I don't have a trusted recipe at hand, I generally start with Food Network. I figure they get enough exposure, someone else will have already weeded out the good recipes from the bad. And Paula Deen is usually a good bet. I can't find a lot of fault with her methodology (add enough butter and sugar and almost anything will taste good). So, when the first zucchini bread recipe search result on foodtv.com was Paula Deen's Zucchini Bread (5 stars with 461 reviews), I felt like I was in good hands.
The recipe called for 2 cups grated zucchini. The longer I mull this over, I'm sure this was where things started going downhill. Instead of being happy to use 2 c. of my 4-pound zucchini, I couldn't be wasteful. I started grating and decided to adjust the recipe to the amount of zucchini. Two-thirds the way through grating, I had 8 cups of zucchini. I couldn't bring myself to 4-times the recipe, so I settled on tripling it.
I started with the dry ingredients and quickly realized the amount of flour would never fit with the wet ingredients into my mixer. While this was going through my mind, I kind of lost count of the measured flour and made a guess. I think I might have guessed one too many. Not to be deterred, I continued on with the recipe, deciding I would just use my hand mixer to combine wet and dry in a giant mixing bowl.
By and by I got the batter into loaf pans and into the oven. About 15 min into the baking, there was a strong burning smell. I looked in the oven and one of the pans was dripping a bit, so I put a sheet pan on the bottom rack and left them along for 45 more min.
When I opened the oven door, imagine my surprise when there wasn't just a little drip on the sheet pan, but batter everywhere. On the oven door, along the oven walls, on almost every part of the oven racks. Zucchini explosion.
There was one pan that actually looked like it was ok. But it didn't really taste that great.
Moral of the story: I should have just been happy with the pasta.
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