Spicy Zucchini Bars and a Visit to Green Valley Farm

Spicy Zucchini Bars are warm with cinnamon and cloves.  The moist cake-like textured bars are covered in a Spicy Cream Cheese Frosting.  What's not to like about that?

Thanksgiving seems as if it was weeks ago but actually it was only one week ago yesterday. (In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving the second Monday in October.) While the family was here we all visited Green Valley Farm in Northern Arm (This is where the zucchini was purchased).  This is a working farm but on the weekends it's open to the public for all kinds of fun.  What a great time we had!  I've included a few pictures of our visit on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.   Our little ones (and big ones, too) had fun roaming around the farm, taking in the activities. 

Mommy (Anne) and Emily enjoying the wagon ride.  

 Ben is inching up, quickly passing daddy (David).  A Grand Prix racer in the making???

 Lori enjoying the slide at the playhouse.

Come on in.  We'll have a cup of tea and a slice of Nanny's Spicy Zucchini Bars.

My two pretty girls, Lori and Emily, going for a pony ride.  These are special Newfoundland ponies.  This little pony's name is Micky.  "Uncle" Bob Hemeon makes sure everyone is saddled up and ready to ride.

Mommy (Vicki) and  "Uncle" Bob walk along with Lori.

 Pop and Ben give David a blast with their Bazooka guns.  

Two mighty explorers fight their way through the corn maize.  
And you thought space was the last frontier!

I know this is a bit late for zucchini recipes but I have a huge chunk from the bottom end of a giant zucchini Anne bought when they were here at Thanksgiving.  When we visited Green Valley Farm with the little ones, Anne and Vicki decided to buy some zucchini because they were such a good price at 75 cents a pound.  (They can be really expensive in the grocery stores at $2.49 or more a pound.)  What neither of the girls realized before we arrived at the farm market was the size of the squash.  They were tremendous, making their grocery store counterparts dwarfed by their huge size.  Of course, the grocery store zucchini are really baby zucchini or at least teenage zucchini.  These farm zucchini must have been receiving old age pensions if size was any indication.  Ha, ha. 

 These are the two zucchini Vicki purchased at the farm.  Anne's was as large or even larger.  
The scissors are just for a size comparison.

Zucchini squash is such a versatile vegetable.  It's really a fruit but most of us think vegetable when we think of zucchini.  Zucchini can be served in savoury dishes or in sweets such as cakes, breads or cookies.  These Spicy Zucchini Bars fall into the cookie category but they are very similiar to zucchini bread in both texture and flavour. 

I grated the piece of zucchini and I had enough to make Zucchini Patties and these very nice Spicy Zucchini Bars.   I peeled off the skin before making the bars because it was very tough.  Smaller juvenile zucchini have tender skins that can be pierced with a fingernail but the older, larger ones may need to be peeled. 

This recipe is around the internet but I've tweaked the recipe to my liking. You can find the original recipe at the Betty Crocker recipe site.  These are super easy to make and don't require an electric mixer--just a grater, bowl and spoon. 

Spicy Zucchini Bars
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour  
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves ( I use only ¼ teaspoon cloves)
1 cup shredded zucchini, drained
½ cup chopped nuts, optional
Spicy Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of an 8-or 9-inch square pan.  Line with parchment paper for easy removal.  Beat by hand, sugar, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl.  Stir in flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves.  Stir in zucchini and nuts.  Spread in pan.  Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Frost with Spicy Cream Cheese Frosting. 

Makes 24 bars (cut 4x6).  You may, of course, cut them larger if you wish.

Spicy Cream Cheese Frosting 
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
¼ cup cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
Pinch cloves
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 or 2 teaspoons milk

Beat by hand, cream cheese and butter until well combined.  Add sugar, spices and vanilla. Mix all together until smooth.  Add milk if needed to make a creamy smooth frosting.  This makes enough for a thin coating of icing. 

I peeled my piece of zucchini because the skin was quite tough.  If you are using young/small zucchini it is not necessary to peel.

In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.  Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and spices together and mix into the creamed mixture.  The batter will be quite thick.  Mix in the grated zucchini and walnuts.  The zucchini will loosen the batter because it is quite wet.  

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 Spread the cooled bars with the Spicy Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cut into 24 bars.  You may also cut them larger if you wish.  
I sprinkled a few more walnuts on top of the bars.

Spicy Zucchini Bars, perfect for a snack or the lunch box.


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