Saturday, April 4, 2020

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Virginia Maple Syrup

In 2020, the spring equinox occurred on Thursday, March 19, which is earlier than it's been in over a century! Flowing maple syrup sap is one of the first signs that spring is on the way. For the first time, the 62nd Annual Highland County Maple Festival which was to take place on March 14-15 and March 21-22, was postponed until further notice due to safety considerations regarding the coronavirus. The decision was understandable but does not dampen the disappointment we and thousands of others felt about not getting our Virginia maple syrup supply and missing their famous maple doughnuts this year. We’re hoping to visit Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard as soon as it is possible to restock their Virginia maple syrup for our gift baskets.
Needing a substitute maple syrup treat fix right now, we decided on making our own Carrot Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Walnut Frosting with warm spices and pure Virginia maple syrup. Give this recipe a try. It makes a moist, delicious rustic loaf. It’s a wonderful way to welcome spring.
 Carrot Zucchini Bread
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
Cream Cheese Walnut Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese softened
1/4 cup butter softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts optional

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 9" x 5" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2.    In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3.    Add eggs and brown sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla, and mix again until well blended. Add about half of the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture and continue to mix until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir carrot and zucchini into the batter.
4.    Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
5.    Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
6.    Use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese together with butter in a medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and mix again until incorporated. Add milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy.Frost the cooled loaf of bread and immediately sprinkle with chopped walnuts, if desired.