I thought if I started this post title with "double chocolate" you would skip right over the third word up there....zucchini. Yep, these brownies are loaded with zucchini - which is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C, K, and B6, Riboflavin, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese. In short, these are super healthy brownies.
There's an old joke around these parts about how if you don't lock your car in late summer everyone will unload their extra zucchini on you when you're not looking. Friend or foe, everyone has zucchini to get rid of at this time of year. I have lots of great ways to eat zucchini, but this might be my new favorite.
I first made these brownies over a week ago (out of simple curiosity - how could almost fat-free brownies be any good?) and brought them to work. My co-workers had positive comments and I thought - OK, mildly successful. But, I had posted the recipe next to the free brownies advertising that they were healthy (out of allergy concerns). So I was skeptical and just thought that these co-workers were just being Minnesota nice to my face, but behind my back snickering at my gullible nature to believe that zucchini brownies could actually taste good.
Then, I sent the recipe to my sister-in-law Kim, mom extraordinaire to my awesome nephew Nathan. Nathan's only flaw, as far as I can tell, is an aversion to anything green (one exception - she got him to love green smoothies by calling them "scooby snack smoothies." She is brilliant). Kim made these brownies and on Sunday I watched that kid scarf down two of 'em and beg for a third. OK, if they taste good enough to fool a 3 (nearly 4) year old, they are good brownies.
Finally, I made the recipe again for an al fresco dinner party my friend Ann hosted tonight. All in attendance have high culinary standards and were unanimous in the brownie love. Therefore, I decree that these brownies deserve a spot in the Green and Lean Hall of Fame (which doesn't exist. But if it did, these would be in it).
Take all of these diverse groups of people at their word - these brownies are DELICIOUS and you would never know they are actually pretty good for you. The green flecks in the batter all but disappear after a brief stint in a hot oven.
The brownies taste good - cakey and warm - immediately out of the oven. But, trust me when I say they are much better after a night in the refrigerator. They become even more fudgy and moist and the chocolate chips become more noticeable with a big crunch. I wouldn't be opposed to adding something nutty, like walnuts or pecans, but some people get squeamish about that kind of thing in their brownies so I'm OK leaving them as is.
I don't think you'll get a single complaint if you experiment with this recipe on your family and friends. One final note: this is untested but I have a very strong hunch that these brownies would kick ass with some real vanilla ice cream. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, barely adapted from Food + Words
Makes 16 brownies
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce (or you could substitute oil or melted butter but that reduces the healthy factor. My applesauce was homemade and frozen from last fall.)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour (I used unbleached all purpose, but whole wheat will work)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (mine is Hershey's Special Dark)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups shredded zucchini (leave the peel ON!)
1/2 bag chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet Guittard)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 inch square pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together well the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and applesauce with a fork or whisk. Add the salt, flour, cocoa powder, and soda and stir it all together until all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Pour into your prepared pan. It won't look like much batter but it WILL rise significantly so don't worry. Bake 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. My brownies only took 25 minutes but all ovens are different.
These brownies are good warm from the oven, BUT are even better if you let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for a bit to get fudgier.
ONE YEAR AGO: Summer Pasta Toss
TWO YEARS AGO: Mexi-Hippie Chow