Indulgent Zucchini Brownies
Since I was little chocolate was an important part of my upbringing, sweet tooths all round. In some shape or form, from chocolate cake to chocolate ice-cream, there would always be chocolate around. My mom would try and be sneaky and hide her chocolate away from her then two prying daughters but to no avail. My sister had the nose of a bloodhound when it came to chocolate and it never lasted more than two days in our house.
As I got older I started moving away from chocolate, as you may have read in our ice-cream post, I only very recently started eating chocolate ice cream again, and I instead took a liking to dark chocolate, it wasn’t as sweet and sugar coma inducing as it’s milk chocolate cousin. It still satisfied my sweet tooth, I was the only one in the family who actually liked it, so more for me. It’s still one of my favourite indulgences, and discovering cocoa Fair chocolate has changed the ballgame quite dramatically. They have such a vast range of chocolate that it’s sometimes difficult to choose. They range from a 65% chocolate to 100% dark chocolate, pair it with a perfect glass of red wine and you’ve probably just won my heart.
As you can tell, chocolate is sewn deep into my being so it’s definitely no surprise that we absolutely had to make a vegan version of chocolate brownies that still stayed true to our love for good, wholesome and real food. These zucchini brownies are incredibly decadent and moist without having the usual butter, oil and sugar suspects. They’re not as sweet as store-bought brownies, but this can easily be changed to suit your palette (simply sub in milk chocolate if you want them sweeter or a darker chocolate if you prefer them on the bitter side), and make the perfect 3/4pm pick me up to go with that much needed black americano you just bought.
What makes these brownies so special, is the addition of zucchini. Zucchini adds moisture, texture, and nutrition to your baking without having an overpowering and robust flavour. The main benefit of using zucchini in baking brownies, however, is the moisture content of the vegetable. Zucchinis are 95% water, whether you grate them, slice them, try and drain them, the amount of moisture in a zucchini is still pretty impressive. This moisture keeps your batter from drying out and instead leaves you with the fudgy, chocolatey goodness that we’re all after when baking brownies.
Zucchinis are considered a carbohydrate but don’t run away in fear of them just yet. There are 3 types of carbohydrates; sugar, fibre and starch, zucchinis possess only fibre and starch making them complex carbohydrates, this is because they are processed slowly in the body and keep your blood sugar stable. You might not be able to derive nutrients from fibre, but it does play an essential role in healthy digestion and gives you the feeling of satiety., and we’ve found the perfect way to trick your body into eating more green veg and more specifically zucchinis, add them to your baking. They make the perfect binding ingredient and because of their neutral taste, they absorb the flavours that surround them.
In this recipe we also added almond butter, this added to the creaminess of the brownies as well as upped the protein, and because we used a sugar-free and natural variety it wasn’t too sweet or overpowering. After baking these I didn’t lapse into a sugar coma and instead found multiple ways to serve them, they can be dolled up for fancy tea parties by adding a dollop of whipped cream, berries and a sprig of mint, they can be transformed to the ultimate decadent masterpiece by adding a scoop of chocolate ice-cream and roughly chopped salted chocolate pieces or they can simply be enjoyed on their own, either way, they’re one of those stand out recipes you always keep on hand for any occasion.
- 1 Medium Zucchini, peeled (should measure 150g after peeling)
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 cup Almond Butter
- 1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup Spelt
- 1/4 cup Raw Cacao Powder
- 1/2tsp Sea Salt
- 150g 65% Dark Chocolate (we used Cocoa Fair), roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius, and line a 23 x 13cm loaf tin with baking paper, making sure some of the paper goes over the sides to allow for easy extraction.
- Using a scale, measure out your zucchini once you’ve peeled it. Using too much zucchini will result in a very moist brownie while too little zucchini will leave you with a super dry base.
- Add the zucchini and all the remaining ingredients – except the chocolate chips – to a food processor and pulse until well combined, scrape down the sides as needed. You want to get the batter as smooth as possible.
- Once your batter is smooth, stir in 3/4 of your chocolate, and pour the chocolatey batter into your prepared loaf tin, top with remaining chocolate pieces and place in the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure they haven’t burnt. You want the top to look glossy and using the toothpick test, making sure the batter doesn’t come out wet. We prefer fudgy brownies, so the toothpick had some crumbs on it, if you prefer a more cake-like texture, bake for longer until your toothpick comes out clean.
- Once baked, let them cool for 1 hour in the tin (if you want to speed the process along refrigerate for 30min). This step is essential as it sets the brownies, otherwise, they’re likely to fall apart.
- Once cooled, slice into squares and enjoy on their own or with a perfect accompaniment of coconut cream and fresh berries.