These maple-tinged zucchini brownies are rich and fudgy, and as always, gluten-free and soy-free! These ones are nut-free too, and with a vegan option. So go ahead and indulge; you're getting in some veggies but you'll never know it!
I created this recipe when my mother and husband both requested a chocolate dessert, yet I wanted to be able to enjoy it too and have it at least a little healthy. I dug out a soft zucchini that was the epitome of a squash (mostly in texture) and figured it was now or never for the little veg. Grated and blended into this chia and maple-infused chocolatey treat, the zucchini was a perfect addition.
There's something about zucchini and maple that makes me think of late summer nights and fall evenings. This is likely due to the fact that my mother's garden in Eugene is always resplendent with summer squash and zucchini pancakes, muffins and roasted and grilled zucchini was always on the menu. Zucchini bread was always the winner of all the zucchini-based meals (of which there were many), and the maple-extract-laden and oily sugary bread was to die for. This is sort of a gluten-free and chocolate-version of that childhood treat, with a little more health-boosting ingredients like coconut oil and organic chia seeds and no refined sugar added in. You can even make it healthier by reducing the coconut palm sugar, or omitting the nondairy chocolate chips.
Zucchini Maple Brownies
Yields 12-18 brownies
1 cup zucchini
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup water
3 chia eggs or flax eggs* (Mix 1 TBSP meal + 3 TBSP water per egg)
1 tablespoon extra chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup gluten-free flour (or make your own blend of brown rice flour, pea, potato and tapioca)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup nondairy mini chips (optional: I folded 2 tbsp into the batter and about 1 tbsp on top).
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk zucchini, applesauce, water, eggs, chia, oil, maple and extracts. Let sit 10 minutes.
*vegan version: whisk 3 tbsp ground chia seeds with 6 tbsp water, stir and let sit to gel.
3. Fold dry into wet ingredients, and add chips in last.
4. If desired, sprinkle extra nondairy chips on top and bake 36-40 min or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.