Turbinado Zucchini or Carrot Bread
by SuSu and Sparticus
There are more types and grades of sugar than most people would expect. We are used to thinking of sugar as that white stuff that sweetens our food and makes us fat! But Hermione Granger had been doing some extra credit Muggle studies assignments (not that she needed them), but it intrigued her to know that the sugar trade was responsible for many of the historical ills of Muggle society. Slaves were needed to plant and harvest what was essentially a big, thick grass; it was traded for these same slaves as well as guns and gunpowder, as well as other agrarian high-labor materials like cotton. In processing, molasses was made into rum and became a valuable and required commodity sailors and soldiers were given rations of rum daily. It was horrifying and fascinating to the young witch.
She learned that sugars are graded according to how white they are, and also how coarse a crystal was produced. These various sugars were used for a variety of things, but basically, they were all grains collected on a continuum between black, sticky, bitter-tasting molasses and pure, sweet-but-otherwise bland white table sugar. Common brown sugar had some molasses still in the crystal, and thus it was stickier than white sugar, since it possesses properties of both. A less powdery brown sugar, shaped into tiny cubes, was often called Turbinado; a slightly finer grade was called Demarara. Big, brown crystals which looked like flattish cubes were called "coffee sugar" for its dark color and the nice flavor it gave to that hot drink.
Intrigued, she sought out Hagrid to see if he ever used these sugars. "Of course, Hermione," smiled Hagrid, "I have some samples right here!" And he showed her his very dainty sugar bowls, each filled with a different sugar, of different size and brownness. He had her pop a lump in her mouth; it looked like stuck-together sand, but it was a rich-tasting brown sugar. "Not long ago, you'd get yer sugar in a cone-shaped lump, and you just chip off the bits you needed. No such thing as flow-from-the-bag stuff then, I'll tell ya!"
Hermione smacked her lips in enjoyment. "Do you eat it like this Hagrid? Or just in tea or coffee?"
"Oh no, that Turbinado is blimmin' useful! But I don't put it in my bakin', that'd be a waste. No ... the best thing about Turbinado is its crunchiness -- best used as a topping before poppin' the zucchini loaf in the oven, I reckon!" And to show her, he made her one, noting it was good with grated carrots too, if it was winter and there were no zucchini (or courgettes, as he called them) about.
In a bowl, stir the flour, brown and white sugars, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together, then mix in the oats. In another bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla extract together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients into it, and the zucchini or carrots. Combine everything together lightly. Try not to overmix, or the batter can get tough it's okay if the batter looks a bit lumpy.
Put the batter into the greased-and-floured pan or tins. Keep the center mounded up instead of spreading it out flat. Sprinkle over with the Turbinado sugar.
Bake for an hour (for loaves muffins will take about 20 minutes) or until a skewer inserted in the center of the mound comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a race or dishtowel, and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Turn the loaf or muffins out, then cool on a rack till room temperature, before slicing up and serving (though it is good slightly warm, too.) Keep well-wrapped in the refrigerator to store. It is excellent toasted!
Makes one loaf or 12 muffins.
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