Since I started doing the less processed thing, in a very public way, I sometimes find myself in the very frustrating situation where I feel like I have to publicly be less processed. To be honest, this is almost entirely self-imposed. I doubt that any of my family and friends would really scoff if I showed up with store-bought cookies for an event, but I feel like I can’t do that. So when I recently needed to bring a dessert to a family reunion, I found myself struggling to figure out what to bring as I felt like I couldn’t just run out and get a commercial brownie mix and call it good.
What I ended up with was zucchini brownie bites. These are very yummy, despite being relatively nutritious. One note though, unlike those commercial brownie mixes, these actually do rise a fair amount. So the batch I quickly made for the family reunion ended up rising out over the muffin tins and turning into some pretty ugly (yet yummy) lumps of brownies by the time I managed to get them out of the pan. The second batch I made where I adjusted for this turned out to be much prettier.
Zucchini Brownie Bites (makes 48 – about 75 calories each)
2 cups shredded peeled zucchini
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used cane sugar similar to sugar in the raw, but plain white sugar would also work)
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips or chopped walnuts (optional)
Put zucchini, sugar and oil in blender or food processor and briefly process until mixed well (doesn’t take more than a few seconds in my blender). In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips or nuts if you’re using them. Using an olive oil sprayer or paper towel, grease two 24 spot mini muffin pans (or use mini cupcake liners). Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full. (If you fill them more, you will end up with the blob I mention above). Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. (Mine turned out perfect at 10 minutes). Once these have cooled, you may need to use a plastic spoon to just loosen the edges prior to taking the brownie bites out of the pan.
If these aren’t going to be eaten within a day, they are best stored in the fridge or freezer since the zucchini makes them more prone to spoiling. Also, the whole wheat flour and flax do give these a little nutty – whole grain texture (which I personally think helps make them yummy) but if you prefer a more traditional brownie texture, you can use all unbleached flour and leave out the flax.