I know, yuck, right? Chocolate and vegetables?
Sorry, that assumption is completely wrong. These brownies do not taste like vegetables. The zucchini adds body and moisture to them without adding a lot of fat or calories.
Plus, it’s something to make from enormous harvests of zucchini that’s not bread or yet another batch of Ratatouille. I know it’s only March, and therefore not zucchini season here in the northern contiguous US, but you can totally make these with frozen zucchini. Last summer, when I’d happen upon zukes at amazing prices, I’d snap them up, wash them, shred them (thank heavens I finally got a food processor) and then freeze the shreds in 2-3 cup bags. If you use frozen, let your bag thaw, then put the shreds in a non-fuzzy tea towel and give it a squeeze to get most of the excess water out.
This recipe was shared by a member of a forum to which I belonged that is, sadly, no longer. And I don’t have the link saved anywhere. But this is my slightly modified version.
Notes: I increase the applesauce a bit from the original, because 1/2 cup is one of those lunchbox portion cups. No waste! My preferred flour is King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat or White Whole Wheat; cocoa is King Arthur Flour Triple Cocoa Blend. I use spices and extracts, including double strength vanilla, from Penzey’s Spices.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use table salt or fine sea salt because it dissolves a little more evenly in batter)
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini, drained if thawed from frozen
Optional: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350˚F and line an 8″x8″ baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, sugar and applesauce.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure there are no lumps.
Add the dry mix to the wet and gently stir until combined. Do not overmix, as the brownies will get tough. The batter will be very, very thick at this point. Do not panic. Fold in the zucchini shreds and optional chocolate chips. See? The moisture from the zucchini loosens the batter right up! Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even the surface with a spatula.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or tester inserted in the middle doesn’t come out gooey. Moist crumbs are OK, but raw gooeyness is not.
Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the whole brownie up from the pan. Cool completely, then cut into 16 pieces.
Store in an airtight container. Refrigeration is highly recommended, as the high moisture content means these mold easily.