Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I'm not a closet chocoholic by any means - from 99% to 50%, give me a bar and I am one happy camper. I've been known to eat cocoa powder raw, turn oatmeal into a warm bowl of chocolate pudding for breakfast, add it to chili, granola, cookies and cakes, and of course I'm on a never ending quest for the best, richest and fudgiest brownies I can make. My day is not complete without some sort of cocoa lacing it - and sometimes my passion is so strong that my mom will ask me if I'm PMS'ing :-). Nope, I'm just a bona-fide addict, without a plan to stop the habit any time soon!

That said, I'm also a huge fan of vegetables, especially when they come out of my backyard at the peak of their flavour. As much as I do love a rich square of 70% Amedei, nothing truly beats the flavour of a still-warm heirloom tomato right off the vine or perfectly grilled slabs of zucchini and eggplant harvested steps from the BBQ. These days, the garden harvest is making its way into everything, both sweet and savoury, and obviously zucchini has been getting top billing lately. It's easy to see why, though - being relatively bland it's perfect for either taste application, it's packed with moisture (perfect for making sauces, soups and baked goods), it's cheap and plentiful (even if you don't grow your own) and it's nutritious. I mean, one medium, 31-calorie zucchini has two grams of both protein and fibre, no fat or cholesterol, and 56% of your RDI of vitamin C. It's enough to give anything a health halo, really.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

With all the summer squash at my disposal these days, I figured I could whip up some mighty fine chocolate goodies for one of my old schoolfriend's buck and doe party. I started on a mission not only to make a "hide the vegetable" treat, but a to-die-for healthy indulgence. I started, obviously, with the zucchini, and cut the fat even further with pureed prunes - which add such a rich texture to the bars it's hard to believe baby food had magic - then tossed in flaxseed for the eggs, spelt flour for a delicious nuttiness and Truvia for some of the sugar. To add the "devilish" side to these (after all, it was for a party), a whole bar of bittersweet chocolate and a shot of Kahlua wove their way into the batter too, and the whole thing was frosted with dollops of my favourite Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Shared with Foodie Friends Friday

Foodie Friends Friday

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
Makes one 9" pan, 16 pieces
1 tbsp Kahlua (or coffee)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar
6 packets Truvia (or ¼ cup sugar)
½ cup pureed prunes
1 cup spelt flour
3 tbsp ground flax seed
½ cup cocoa
½ tbsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 (3.5 oz) bar bittersweet chocolate, chopped small
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts (optional, not included in NI)
Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting for topping (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line an 8" pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the Kahlua, vanilla, sugar, Truvia and prune puree.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and gently stir until combined. Do not over mix!
  4. Fold in the zucchini, chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
  5. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 114.2
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 5.7 mg
Total Carbs: 25.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 2.7 g