Monday, July 21, 2008

Zapple bars

We're getting deep into the zucchini cookbooks now. Due to a miscommunication Katie bought some zucchini and summer squash at the farmer's market on Thursday, when we still had two from the garden in the fridge. Then the next day we got six more from the garden, giving us a total of 10 (followed by six more today.) We had a party to go to yesterday so we looked for some dessert dish to make and found Zapple bars in the Classic Zucchini Cookbook:
5.5 cups peeled diced zucchini
1/2 cup lemon juice (recipe says fresh, I used bottled)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2.5 cups flour
1.25 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter
1 tsp vanilla (the recipe has this in the ingredients but never says to add it, I assumed it went in with the butter)

Heat oven to 350F.
5.5 cups of zucchini was three large ones. As you can see here, it hardly made a dent in our zucchini stocks:

Cook zucchini and lemon juice in a saucepan (not iron- boiling acid + iron is bad.) Bring to boil and simmer 10 minutes until zucchini is tender. Add sugar and spices, cook 2 minutes more. This came out very watery but I didn't drain it, which led to the "bars" being more like a pie or crisp. It couldn't be cut into bars that could be held, so if you really want bars maybe drain excess liquid at this point.
Mix dry ingredients for crust in a food processor. Add butter and vanilla, mix until crumbly. Press half of this mix to cover the bottom of a greased 9x13 glass dish and bake 10 minutes. Pour filling on top and crumble rest of crust mix on top. This amount of crust didn't quite cover the whole thing and also dissolved some in the watery mix, so you could either make more crust mix or use a smaller pan for thicker bars. Bake 40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting- we had to go to the party so we brought the whole dish along and ate it like an apple crisp:

People at the party couldn't believe it was zucchini, the only way you could tell this wasn't green apple filling was the presence of zucchini seeds. This suggests two principles for future recipes:
1. Lemon juice + sugar + zucchini is a reasonable substitute for cooked apples. Probably less healthy than the real thing.
2. If you add enough sugar and butter to anything, it will taste good. This recipe had a half a pound of butter and about 2 cups of sugar, so don't be fooled into thinking the zucchini makes it good for you.

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