In my continuing quest to find new ways to use zucchini, I bring you: zucchini brownies! They’re easy to make, packed with zucchini and so tasty our neighbors texted things like “These are SO good!” after we sent them home with brownies.
I found this recipe a couple days ago when the munchkin asked me to make brownies for dessert. Seeing as we had just harvested several large zucchini from our garden (in addition to the zucchini that was already in the fridge) I started thinking: could I add zucchini to brownies? I mean, chocolate zucchini bread is a popular thing right?
A quick search led me to an All Recipes recipe that used 2 whole cups of shredded zucchini. With tons of positive reviews it seemed worth a shot. The munchkin and I shredded our zucchini and mixed up the ingredients, then looked at each other skeptically when we found ourselves with a very dry “batter” that didn’t look anything like batter. But many of the reviews said the batter looked this way and cautioned against adding eggs or milk or anything else that might count as a “wet” ingredient because the zucchini would give the brownies all the moisture they needed. So, with a hope and a prayer, we put the brownies in the oven.
Thirty minutes later we pulled out a rather rough looking dish of brownies that nevertheless smelled amazing. We cut out a little square for a taste and were totally sold: what we had was a rich, chocolatey batch of fudgey brownies. You couldn’t even tell there was zucchini in there! (A good thing as far as the munchkin was concerned.)
Perhaps to cover up the cobblestone-like appearance of the brownie tops, the recipe called for a layer of homemade chocolate frosting. The frosting was easy to make and took this recipe to the next level. The brownies went from really good to I-dare-you-to-eat-just-one.
We modified the recipe slightly when it came to the frosting: we used butter instead of margarine and added the milk to the microwave step so that the butter, cocoa and milk melted together. (We made this change after our first batch of frosting wasn’t as smooth as we wanted, perhaps because the cold milk made the butter clump together.)
After mixing in confectioners sugar and vanilla extract we had a thick chocolate frosting that we spread over the top of the brownies, still in the pan. About an hour later the frosting had cooled and the brownies were ready to cut. I love how the frosting cracks a bit when you cut into the brownies – to me that’s an indication of a serious chocolate topping. Eat these brownies with a spoon so you can lick off the extra chocolate between sips of cold milk.
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with PAM or your preferred baking spray.
- In a large bowl combine the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, ½ cup cocoa, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just to combine. Fold in the zucchini and mix well. The batter will be very dry and you'll think you should add eggs or milk, but don't do it!
- Spread into the prepared pan, gently tapping the mixture down.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.
- To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa, the butter and the milk in the microwave for about 40-60 seconds. Mix well with a spatula or metal spoon. Allow to cool slightly, then add the vanilla and the confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Spread the frosting over the brownies once the brownies have cooled. Allow to set for an hour before digging in. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.