If you have been religiously following Taste Buds recently, you know we have been cooking zucchini up lots of different ways. We’ve had so many that you might want to lock your car so you won’t come back and find someone has put another zucchini recipe in it. Even so, somehow it happens that I still discover intriguing ways to use them. Here’s a real-life experience case in point.
This past Sunday I was at Rockville Chapel, just off Route 17 near Rockland promoting my new book Maine Home Cooking, which is based on all the recipes I’ve collected from this column over the years, and giving a talk on food preservation. Just that morning I’d been at The Well-Tempered Kitchen in Camden for another talk about the book. Just before I began my talk, one of you devoted readers who attended told me about really liking the Zucchini and Summer Squash bake, “It’s pretty, yellow and green.” We all started talking about the recipes I still had in hand and I thought, why don’t I ask everyone in the group to vote on which one to do next. It was reassuring to see that at least that assemblage didn’t protest that they had had enough of zucchini already, and could we do something with hamburger for a change. So I called for a vote – and it was a tie! Twelve in favor of zucchini cookies and twelve for zucchini jam. “Do both,” said a wise voice in the audience and so, herewith, the first: Zucchini Cookies.
Beverlee Richardson in Hancock sent this recipe, the only cookie recipe in the generous zuke recipe collection you all have shared. I’ll do the other tie vote, zucchini jam, soon, and Toby thinks I ought to invent some kind of zucchini chutney. We’ll see.
Toby happily anticipated these cookies, but alas, they turned out to be a moist, soft cookie and he belongs to the crisp-and-crunchy cookie camp. My neighbor Nancy Wuori stopped by in the middle of the baking, and she thoughtfully chewed and pronounced them good. I, alas, am no judge at all; I like every cookie made by humankind.
These cookies, when done, are glossy, golden, and firm to the touch, and do not brown up as some cookies do. I found I had to bake them a little longer than Beverlee recommended; you know, everyone’s oven is different. I also decided to drain the excess liquid from the grated squash by pressing it firmly in a strainer; probably squeezed out a couple of tablespoons. Even so, the dough is more like a very stiff batter than soft dough. Since Beverlee said that the optional chocolate chips made her favorite version of the cookie, I added some to the dough for the second pan full. I had already put raisins in. Of course, they are delicious!
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 cup grated and drained zucchini
Raisins, nuts, and/or chocolate chips, optional, about a half a cup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Mix together the egg, oil, and sugars until blended. Combine the flour, salt, spices, and baking soda and add these dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture and beat until it is thoroughly mixed. Fold in the zucchini and oats, and optional raisins, nuts or chocolate chips. Drop onto the baking sheet allowing for spreading. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until firm and glossy.
Makes about 30 cookies.