Happy first day of fall, friends! My favorite season of the year has officially started - although to step outside this weekend you wouldn't know it. Summer is trying to hold on for just a bit longer, and temperatures that are almost in the 90s are sending her message loud and clear! I'm resisting though and I'd be lying to you if I said I hadn't already mentally embraced the fall season when some cooler temperatures arrived a couple of weeks ago.
As the temperature drops and the days get a bit shorter, I find myself embracing some of my favorite routines of the year - drinking something warm in the mornings with my breakfast, making sure to always have some apple cider available in the kitchen, focusing on a darker and richer fall color palette in my wardrobe, and of course, starting to bake with some of those fall-specific flavors!
A couple of weeks ago when we had our first taste of fall in the northeast, I found a can of pumpkin in our pantry and knew it was my opportunity to quietly kick off my favorite season. But, my mom had just given me a giant zucchini that was begging to be put into some zucchini bread. So I did what I normally do when I am in need of a recipe - I turned to three of my favorite women: Martha Stewart, Ina Garten and Deb Perelmen. These three have never let me down when it comes to finding ways to make food great, and while I had to do some tinkering on my own this time to use both the zucchini and the pumpkin in one recipe, Deb definitely didn't let me down this time!
Pumpkin Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Makes 3 large loaves.
5 large eggs
1 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin (be careful to use plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix!)
3 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (ground will also work if you don't have fresh nutmeg)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
4 cups grated, packed zucchini (you don't need to squeeze any of the liquid out)
6 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour two loaf pans.
Whisk eggs, pumpkin, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt over the wet ingredients, whisking them in well.
Stir in the zucchini (I switched to a spatula at this point to avoid zucchini strands getting caught in the whisk!).
Gently stir in the flour, mixing only until it disappears. Be sure to scrape the bottom of your bowl once or twice to make sure nothing is lingering at the bottom unmixed!
Divide the batter between your prepared pans and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes on a rack in the loaf pans before inverting and removing the cakes. You can also let them cool completely in the pans, although that will take a bit longer!
Store wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 5 days (if they last that long!). These loaves also freeze really well - just wrap them in plastic wrap and then in foil and place in your freezer for a later date!
The mix of the zucchini and the pumpkin was a great prelude to fall while still celebrating those last moments of summer. And because Kurt loved this bread so much, I have a feeling it's going to become a staple in our home for years to come during those late summer/early fall months. Give it a try - I think you'll enjoy!
I'd love to know - how are you celebrating the first day of fall today? What are some of your favorite fall traditions or routines that you embrace this time of year? Share your thoughts in the comments!