Friday, November 20, 2009

Carrot Bread

Three weeks into our autumn CSA share, we had been given Enough carrots.

How many carrots is Enough? For us, about two pounds. It isn't that we don't like them - I mean, we don't. Not really. But there's only so many things you can do with carrots. Boil them... bake them? Put them in a stew? We were all carroted out from the last time we ate carrots, which was about a year ago.

And yet the carrots kept coming.

"We can't throw these away every week," we said. "And we can't just make carrot cake..."

Rebecca had a glint in her eye. "Or can we?"

So. With a little research, she found this carrot bread recipe. It's sweet enough to make anyone delighted and happy, but not so sweet that it becomes a dessert. It has been our breakfast during the last few weeks, and it is tasty.

Carrot Bread
Adapted from this recipe
Serves 8

Total prep time: 20 minutes
Total cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 cups grated carrots (I use a cup and a half. The recipe is pretty pliable. This is the equivalent of 5-6 medium sized carrots.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
So! Here we go.
If you have a food processor, give it a hug. It will be your best friend in the world for this recipe. If not, I hope you have a grater and a wire whisk!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 Degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Easy enough, right?

If you have a food processor, go ahead and use the grater attachment to grate your carrots. Set shredded carrots aside and wipe out your work bowl. Otherwise, grate your little heart out! Do you like grating carrots?

Beat together the two sugars and the eggs - or, if using a food processor, pulse for 30 seconds. Here's the neat trick taught to me by Cooks Illustrated: if you just dump in your oil, it's going to sink to the bottom of the loaf. But if you pulse steadily - or whisk steadily - while pouring the oil in a slow, steady stream, you'll get a thick, delicious, caramelly goo that will blend into your bread perfectly. It's the same way mayonnaise works! So mix in your oil very slowly until you have a thick, delicious cream. Whisk in the vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a separate bowl while stirring occasionally. Fold in the egg mixture, carrots, and nuts just until everything comes together and there are no more floury spots in the bowl. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake on middle rack for 60 - 75 minutes, or until a toothpick (or butter knife!) poked into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Robert's take: YUM. This is my new favorite breakfast. An insult to carrots? Maybe, but at least they're getting eaten!

Rebecca's take: I LOVE THIS STUFF!! It really does make a delightful breakfast. The top of the bread is the best part, all sweet and crusty! And a side note about grating carrots: I don't think it's really that tough to do by hand if you have "normal" big carrots. The carrots we have are very organic, meaning they are little, odd-shaped root veggies with more greens attached than actual carrot. Grating them by hand is somewhat dangerous and very time consuming, so the food processor comes in very handy. Anyway, this is the best use for carrots, in my opinion!