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Frosted Zucchini Brownies

Mariel here. About a month ago, I stumbled across a “Secret Recipe Club” hosted by Amanda’s Cookin’ and since I’m a sucker for secrets, I opted in. The premise is simple enough: each chef is assigned a different food blog and must choose a recipe to recreate in their own kitchen. Then, on a designated date, they have to share their successes – or failures – with their own readers. The goal is two-pronged: 1) you’re introduced to a bevy of new bloggers 2) you’re also introduced to a slew of new recipes. It’s a win-win really.

For this month’s installment, I was instructed to “Meet the Swans” – a lovely little blog devoted to the finer art of nesting. Chronicling Krista Swanson’s engagement and first year of marriage, Meet the Swans also encompasses a recipe section that’s primarily dessert-focused. In Krista’s world, “brownies” and “cookies” are two separate and distinct food groups, which I wholeheartedly respect.

Thumbing through the pages of her site, I came across a recipe for Zucchini Brownies that Krista originally culled from All Recipes. Intrigued, I decided to indulge in a very Deceptively Delicious exercise of sneaking otherwise innocent veggies into a chocolate-laden sugar bomb. You know, to healthy things up. The first time I made these, I stayed true to the original recipe but the results were a mixed bag: the brownies were ooey-gooey and sufficiently chocolatey, but they crumbled at the slightest provocation making it nearly impossible to eat them the old fashioned way: with my grubby hands. Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe by adding an egg and deleting a ½-cup of shredded zucchini, which instantly remedied the problem.

Another upside of all this experimenting was that the Zucchini Brownies reminded me of one of my favorite sneakily healthy desserts: Chocolate Black Bean Cake. Dense and rich, you’d never know that this decadent treat is packed to the gills with fibrous legumes. It eats like a splurge without actually busting any buttons. In the meantime, do check out Krista’s other treats – her Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies look ridiculously good.

Zucchini Brownies
Makes about 20 brownies
Adapted from Meet the Swans

Ingredients for the brownies:
1 large egg, lightly beaten – stock
½-cup canola or vegetable oil – stock
1½ cups granulated sugar – stock
2 teaspoons vanilla extract – stock
1½ cups of zucchini, shredded/grated (about one big zucch) – $0.75
2 cups flour – stock
½ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened) – stock
1½ teaspoons baking soda – stock
½ teaspoon salt – stock

Ingredients for frosting:
3 Tablespoons butter, melted – stock
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened) – stock
1½ cups powdered sugar – stock
¼-cup (or just a splash less) of milk – stock
½ teaspoon vanilla – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $0.75
Cost per brownie: $0.03

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In large bowl, stir together the lightly beaten egg, oil, vanilla, sugar, and grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into zucchini mixture in batches.

3. The mixture will be somewhat gluey FYI, but spread it evenly in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

4. Prepare the frosting by melting the butter very gently in a double boiler or the microwave then stirring in the cocoa. Using a hand-mixer or an electric mixer, beat the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat in the butter mixture and spread over cooled brownies. Make sure the brownies are totally cool before trying to do this.