Though I might malign zucchini for its propensity to overtake every possible kitchen surface, I must commend any vegetable that can produce a dessert as intensely chocolaty and gratifying as these whole wheat Zucchini Brownies.
Let us give respect where respect is due. These fudgy squares of hidden-veggie magic are downright delectable.
This zucchini brownie recipe came to be when my hankering for chocolate intersected with my perpetual, internal guilt over allowing produce of any kind to go bad, including excessively abundant squash. Our zucchini were just about to slip into the no-zone, when I remembered a pan of zucchini brownies that I made for Ben and myself a few summers ago. They were terrible.
A recipe that turned out badly might sound like odd motivation, but I was convinced that zucchini brownies could and should be delicious. I loved this Chocolate Chip Paleo Zucchini Bread after all, so surely zucchini brownies had potential. I began to fantasize over my ideal zucchini brownie. Totally normal.
About These Rich and Fudgy Zucchini Brownies
My zucchini brownies were to be fudgy but not too fudgy to resolve the household conflict between the fudgy brownie loyals (me) and the cakey brownie devotees (Ben). They needed To be quick and easy to make, as I don’t like anything standing between me and my brownie, least of all extra prep time. Finally, to properly honor the reality that we are, in fact, putting vegetables in a dessert, I wanted my zucchini brownies to be reasonably healthy…without actually tasting healthy. A few recipe tests later, and we have a victory on all accounts. Zucchini brownies, I knew I liked you.
These brownies are 100% whole wheat, sweetened with maple syrup, and boast two full cups of shredded zucchini. They pack double the chocolate—cocoa powder or dark chocolate alone did not seem sufficient, so I used both—and are ultra moist, thanks to a combo of coconut oil and the moisture from the zucchini itself. And, just in case you were worried, they don’t taste vegetables. At all.
This recipe was my starting point, and after a few rounds of tweaking, I arrived with what I consider to be my ideal zucchini brownie. I added a bit of nutmeg, replaced the original olive oil with coconut oil, and, because I found the taste of the honey used in the original recipe to be a bit off-putting with the chocolate, my final version uses maple syrup instead. It gives a more classic brownie flavor and is a nicer pairing with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Zucchini brownies, redeemed!
Chocolate Brownie Tips
- First, be sure that you don’t completely press the zucchini dry after grating—you want most of its moisture to make the brownies nice and moist too. A light pat should do.
- Second, these brownies are not ultra sweet, so if you aren’t a fan of especially bittersweet chocolate flavor we can’t be friends choose a semi-sweet (around 55% or 60%) chocolate, versus a more intense 70%.
More Delicious Dessert Bars with Fruit and Vegetables
Public service announcement: I’ll be cooking LIVE on Evine TV’s The Sizzle this Sunday, around 9:25 a.m. CST, demoing this pan. If you’d like to tune in (and watch me try not to burn fish tacos), you can find a channel guide here or watch live here.
- 2 cups zucchini grated
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled, or very light olive oil or canola oil
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (use the real deal! I prefer Grade B, which has a richer flavor)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate or 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips, 55% to 60% dark for a classic brownie taste; 70% dark for an intense, bittersweet chocolate taste
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper so that you have a little hanging over the sides. Grease parchment paper a second time. Set aside.
- Grate the zucchini, then lightly pat a paper towel to remove some excess moisture. Do not dry the zucchini out completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add zucchini.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- Add dry mixture to the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean but with a few crumbs still clinging too it. Let cool completely before removing from pan with the parchment paper handles…or take your chances.
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