Let’s rewind to a housewarming party earlier this summer. Late that night, a girl walked in with a warm-from-the-oven zucchini cake covered in cream cheese icing. She set it down on the counter along with some forks and tipsy partygoers, myself included, eagerly dug in.
Upon first bite, I declared it the best cake I’d ever had. It didn’t even taste like zucchini—it was just the most moist, delectable spiced cake I had ever tasted. After the second bite, I pronounced that I would henceforth define my life in terms of the pre-zucchini cake era and post-zucchini cake era. It was an enlightening experience, friends.
Fast forward to last week, when I was contending with a serious chocolate craving. I tried to satisfy it with a small piece of dark chocolate, which usually does the trick. When that failed, I ate a chocolate chip cookie. That didn’t cut it, either. I nibbled on chocolate this and chocolate that, but my craving was fueled by deadline stress and only a seriously decadent, rich chocolate treat would do. Enter zucchini brownies.
I found a zucchini brownie recipe that called for honey instead of sugar and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose. I took it as an opportunity to bake with some new ingredients in my pantry, substituting some whole spelt flour for the pastry flour and coconut oil for the vegetable oil.
I was slightly concerned that the combination of zucchini, honey, coconut, chocolate and cinnamon flavors would overwhelm the taste buds, but they melded together perfectly.
Once I had mixed together the healthiest brownie batter around, I dumped in an entire bag of dark chocolate chips.
Chocolate craving: satisfied.
- 2 cups zucchini, grated
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup whole spelt flour (or an additional ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Chips)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
- Grate zucchini. Dump into a mesh colander and squeeze it with a towel to get rid of excess moisture. Fluff it back up with a fork.
- In a large bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, honey and vanilla). Stir in the zucchini.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry and spelt flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and cinnamon).
- Pour the dry mixture into the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir just until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine was done baking at 30 minutes). Let cool completely.
Make it dairy free: Use your favorite dairy-free chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips!
Preparation tips: I have tried making these brownies with agave nectar instead of honey, but they tasted bittersweet. Honey is best.
Serving suggestions: My friends raved over these brownies when they were fresh from the oven. I preferred them at room temperature or chilled, so the chocolate is not gooey but a rich, dense contrast to the super moist crumb. Either way, you'll love them!