I hear/read a lot this time of year about the abundance of zucchini. Many who are a part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, like I am, find themselves flooded with the little green vegetable. It is not entirely uncommon to hear a bit of groaning about it. Zucchini isn’t the most popular of vegetables, though I must admit that I’m not entirely sure why.
I personally don’t mind the plenty of zucchini that the warm weather brings. I love it. I cube them and sauté them with corn, lime juice and Mexican seasonings. I slice them thin and eat them raw after marinating the slices in a delicious vinaigrette for several hours. I stuff them in burritos. I roast them! I bake them!! I julienne them!!!
You get the idea.
I happen to think that one of the most ingenious methods of using up zucchini is to put them in brownies. I’m sure you are all familiar with zucchini bread, which is delicious in its own right, but baking brownies with them takes the concept of zucchini-filled baked goods to a whole other level.
A whole other scrumptious chocolate-y level, that is.
I baked these brownies a couple of weekends ago and am excited to share them with you now. These are the kind of brownies that are chewy and fudgy, almost cake-like (as opposed to the slightly more dry, crumbly kind of brownies). They are super moist and taste more than a bit decadent, though they also happen to be pretty darn nutritious as far as baked chocolate treats go. They use whole wheat flour, no oil or butter and the zucchini adds moisture and richness to the brownie, while also providing you with nutrients that promote a strong nervous system, keen eyesight, and healthy skin. How can you pass up a brownie that does all that?
You can’t. You mustn’t.
And, I’d be willing to bet that if you bake them in secret, your brownie-eating friends and family won’t even know they’re getting a healthy dose of vegetables until you tell them!
Fudgy Zucchini Brownies
Adapted slightly from blissful eats with tina jeffers
- 2 tblspns egg replacer, mixed with 6 tblspns water (or 2 large eggs)
- 1 tblspn vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar (I think turbinado sugar would work well here, too)
- ¼ cup smooth unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ tspn kosher salt
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tspn baking soda
- 1 tspn ground cinnamon
- ¼ tspn ground cardamom
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chips)
- Sea salt or vanilla-flavored salt (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 inch baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.
- Grate zucchini. Once grated, squeeze out excess water from the zucchini. This step is important in order to prevent too much moisture in the brownies.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg replacer (mixed with water), vanilla, sugar, applesauce, zucchini, and salt until combined.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.
- Add in the chocolate chunks (or chips) and mix to incorporate.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. If desired, sprinkle sea salt or vanilla-flavored salt on top. Bake the brownies at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is just set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the brownies to cool before slicing into squares (I cut mine into 16 pieces).
** Note: Because these brownies are on the moister-side, I found them to hold up better stored in the refrigerator rather than out on a counter. Let cool completely before covering and storing in order to prevent any steam/condensation from forming. They are best eaten within 3 days of baking.