Zucchini Bread Throwdown

Today I am excited to bring you the first guest blogger at Vanilla Bean: my mom! Here we are chuckling about the idea of a Zucchini Bread Throwdown:

Since I am currently shacked up with my in-laws until we move, I try to make as little mess as possible and have stayed out of the kitchen. When mom told me her plan to compare two zucchini bread recipes, I jumped at the chance to have her blog about it.

*Editor's Note*
The post below is exactly what my mother "faxed" me. (Technically, she emailed it. But she calls that a fax.) She utilized two judges: Taster Tom (my dad) and Taster Larry (their German Shepherd. See photo below).

Zucchini Bread Throwdown: Paula Dean vs. America's Test Kitchen
By: Sharon Welck

#1 Paula Dean's Recipe

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

#2 America's Test Kitchen

2 zucchini (1lb), ends trimmed (3 cups b/4 squeezing out moisture)
Cut larger zucchini in half lengthwise & scrape out the seeds & discard.
11/2 cups sugar
6 TBSP butter (melted & cooled)
2 lg eggs,lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 TBSP fresh lemon jc
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans toasted & chopped coarse (put nuts in dry skillet over med heat.Shake occasionally until lightly browned & fragrant 3-8 min)
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Adjust oven rack to middle position & heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat a 9x5 loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with baking spray. Shred the zucchini on the lg holes of a box grater.

Squeeze the zucchini b/w several paper towels.

Whisk the sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt & lemon jc together in a lg bowl. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice & salt together in a separate lg bowl. Gently fold the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the nuts & cranberries.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan & smooth the surface.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. 55-60 min for the 9 in pan or 20-25 min for the mini loaves. Cool for 10 minutes & then remove from pan-cool for 1 hr.

Sharon's Notes: The 1st recipe I tried (Paula Dean's) was not as moist as the Test Kitchen's recipe. I cut back the sugar in P.D.'s recipe to 2 cups instead of 3. Taster Tom said that might have made the difference but the Test Kitchen recipe still had more flavor.

I used the mini loaf pans instead of the 9 in pan-it doesn't seem so bad to eat the entire loaf then.

Now for the critiques: Taster Tom said "That is the best Zucchini, Nut & Cranberry Bread I ever ate". Taster Larry simply ate 1 1/2 loaves before he was removed from the kitchen.


  1. Love it! Grandma Bernie said she is going to try one of the recipes!

  2. Oh I wish I had a piece of zucchini bread right this very minute. I love it with a dab of cream cream with coffee.
    Happy Twirls

  3. How wonderful to have such a sweet MIL!!!
    The bread looks delicious but I will not be making any...this is the time of year I start putting on weight and I really don't need any extra!!...;(( Why is it when you get older your metabolisim changes...not fair!

  4. Can't wait to try them !

  5. I've tried both of these and I agree with Taster Tom. THe ATC recipe is simply the best ever, and it has become my "go-to" recipe. Thanks for posting the "throwdown"!

    Now, off to the store for more yogurt - it's baking time!

  6. Waiting for it to come out of the oven! Almost forgot the zucchini😀