It’s not often that I find myself literally eating the recipe that I’m writing about. More often that not, I’ve taken the actual pictures of the featured recipe a few days, or even weeks, prior to posting it. Not today! I’m noshing away on a zucchini brownie as I
speak type to you. Etienne is going to give me the stink eye later for the crumbs/smears that will likely end up all over this keyboard, but…. SO WORTH IT!!
Growing up, zucchini was one of the few vegetables I would actually tolerate in a dessert. Carrot cake? No way. Hard to believe considering that carrot cake is now my FAVOURITE cake – what was wrong with me!?
My Mom used to make her signature chocolate zucchini loaf, and it would be inhaled within a few days. Everyone loved it! You couldn’t even tell zucchini was the secret ingredient, let alone that it was the reason that loaf was so moist and delicious.
Since then, my tastes have undoubtedly matured, and I now happily insert all sorts of fruits and vegetables into my baked goods. Double chocolate beet cupcakes – I’m looking at you!
Now, I know that “healthy” brownies are nothing new, but there’s a reason they’re so popular. You can make a delicious treat better for you by using avocado, black beans, pumpkin – or – ZUCCHINI! I made black bean brownies ONCE and unfortunately, I will never make them again. It was a few years ago, and while the end result turned out fantastic, I ended up with the stomach flu that night and let’s just say, I can’t even think about a black bean brownie again. What foods make your stomach turn??
These healthier brownies are called brownies due to their chocolately factor – but they’re chalk full of really good things for you! Zucchini (duh), honey, whole wheat flour, unsweetened applesauce, and almond butter. You’re basically doing your body a favour by making them. Sold yet? Here’s another picture 🙂
The ingredients in these guys are so simple, you likely have everything in your kitchen already. Need a zucchini? I’ll send you one. I’ve got 7 in my fridge right now, not even joking.
Like most brownie recipes, you’ll want to start by whisking together your liquid ingredients, including the almond butter. Combine the dry into another bowl, and then gently incorporate the two. The shredded zucchini and mini chocolate chips (don’t leave them out) come last. Unlike my zucchini pizza crust, you don’t need to squeeze the heck out of your zucchini. I do like to give it a little squeeze to get the excess moisture out, but the moisture from the zucchini is what makes these brownies soooo fudgy and moist!
Oh, and do you like my spoon? That’s Oscar’s “piggy poon” haha.
I like to bake these brownies in an 8×8 baking pan, but they do get pretty tall, as you can see from the picture. If you prefer a thinner, more traditional brownie, use a 9×13 pan and follow the baking times in my recipe notes below.
Now, what’s a brownie without frosting? Not a brownie, in my opinion. I tried to keep the frosting with the “healthier” theme here by using chocolate chips, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla. You’ll need to heat the first 3 ingredients together until everything is melted and melded, then add the vanilla and allow the mixture to cool in the fridge a bit to thicken up.
The end result? A thick, fudgy, moist, chocolatey, HEALTHIER brownie that you won’t be able to stop eating. I guess that’s why we make healthier desserts, right? So you can eat twice (slash three) times as much as you usually can….
Phew, post is out, fingers are licked…I guess I need to clean up the keyboard now – but first, a glass of milk!
Healthier Zucchini Brownies
Yield 16 brownies
Moist, fudgy, healthier brownies made possible with shredded zucchini! You won't be able to stop at just 1
- 1/2 cup pure honey
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat flour*
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder*
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 cups shredded zucchini, slightly squeezed of excess moisture
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup milk (any milk - I used almond milk)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 8x8 baking pan or line it with parchment paper (for 9x13 pan see notes)*.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, almond butter, eggs and vanilla extract.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, gently stirring until just incorporated. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter evenly into the baking pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting.
- Frosting: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips, milk and coconut oil together, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and allow the frosting to cool in the fridge, stirring every 5-10 minutes or until it has thickened enough to spread onto the brownies.
Brownies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days, and in the fridge for a week. Brownies can also be frozen, iced, for up to 2 months.
- Gluten-free flour may be substituted to make a gluten-free brownie.
- I use regular cocoa powder, not Dutch-processed. Using Dutch-processed cocoa powder will make the brownies less dense and "cake-like".
- For a thinner, more traditional-sized brownie, use a 9x13 pan and reduce bake time to about 30 minutes, checking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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