This recipe featured a lot of new ingredients that I haven’t ever really thought about trying before, especially in baking. All in aid of trying to make my baking a little bit healthier (I do a lot of it so something had to be done!) I was interested to see what this little ingredient could do. The blog/website that Alex found this recipe on is really interesting, you can find the brownies here and the frosting recipe here over at the lovely Chocolate Covered Katie blog, the Healthy Dessert Blog. It is an American based blog as far as I can tell and you’ll see at the end of this post that I have changed/adapted some things from the original recipe to fit me better.
So first you need to put the courgette, apple sauce, vanilla, flaxseed, oil and water into a bowl, whisking well to incorporate everything then leave to sit for at least 5 minutes. I’m not sure why you leave it to sit as it didn’t seem to change much but I did anyway as I completed the next step of the recipe. At this point, I didn’t have high hopes as it’s a very watery mixture (and I didn’t even use all of the water stated) and doesn’t really look like it has mixed well. I kept thinking, ‘how will this become a brownie!?’ but I plowed on!
Place the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and chocolate chips in a separate bowl, again whisking to fully mix everything.
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and keep stirring until everything is evenly mixed. I’ve said before that I wish you could photograph smells and I’ll say it again because this smelled absolutely divine once it had all been mixed together. It turned such a beautiful rich colour as well so my dark thoughts from earlier were definitely dissipating.
I didn’t take a picture but you pour the batter into a prepared (greased and line) baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until you are about to die from the most amazing chocolate smell coming from the oven (or a toothpick inserted comes out clean, whichever you prefer). I am having a bit of trouble adjusting to the new oven I’m using as it’s gas and I’m used to electric. I managed to get these done fine though, but just be aware when you prepare them that you might need a lower heat or to bake for a shorter time. As with my previous brownie recipe, the best thing to do is to leave them in the pan overnight in order to be able to cut them properly without them falling apart. Very hard to do but worth the wait!
Now I have to explain that peanut butter frosting is a bit of a misnomer as I actually used the smooth cashew butter you can see in the picture below. Alex and I both really like cashews so thought it would be interesting to try. There was also hazelnut and almond butter which I shall have to try in the future! Another new ingredient that I’ve seen in the shops quite a bit and been intrigued by but never went and bought is Agave nectar. It is mainly used as a sugar substitute as far as I can tell and definitely worked a treat for these.
Whisk the cashew butter, agave nectar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla together until fully combined. It was very thick and sticky as the butter I used was just 100% cashews blended, no added oil or fat so I just added another 2 or 3 tbsp milk (I can’t remember exactly, sorry!).
Spread the frosting over the top of the cold brownie until evenly covered.
This is what it looked like. You can’t understand the restraint I had to display to stop myself from sticking my face into the pan and eating it all and let Alex actually take them with him!
Cut into squares and then serve.
And there you have it! Fudgy vegetable brownies with a peanut butter frosting. Very American and appropriate for the Super Bowl!
UPDATE – I’m entering these cupcakes into February’s AlphaBakes challenge. AlphaBakes is hosted by Ros of More Than The Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes. Each month, a random letter is generated and you have to make something with that letter, whether it’s an ingredient or flavour, or the name of the bake. This month Caroline is hosting and the random letter is “Z” so this recipe just about qualifies if I stretch it out by saying that the American work for courgette is zucchini!
I’m also entering them into Tea Time Treats February challenge which is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Janie from Hedge Combers. This month’s challenge is to bake with chocolate as it’s February and the month of love!
Here’s a list of ingredients and method for those that prefer 🙂 The list below is as I adapted it slightly for the ingredients that I had. If you want to follow this recipe to the letter, follow the link at the top of the post.
Ingredients for the brownies
- 100g grated courgette
- 80g apple sauce
- 300ml water (you might not need all of this, I didn’t)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 15g flaxseed
- 125ml mild olive oil
- 65g cocoa powder
- 135g gluten free plain flour (you could use whichever flour you’d prefer though).
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 175g your sugar of choice (I used caster sugar but I would suspect that muscovado would add an extra depth of flavour)
- 75g chocolate chips
Ingredients for the peanut butter frosting
- 65g smooth cashew butter
- 4-8 tbsp agave nectar (I think I used 6)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 tsp your milk of choice (I only had skimmed)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200º and grease and line a brownie or baking pan.
- Mix together the courgette, apple sauce, water, vanilla, flaxseed and oil until combined then set aside for at least 5 minutes to rest.
- Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and chocolate chips until combined.
- Add the wet mix to the dry mix and fold around until fully combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes then allow to cool overnight in the pan.
- Make the frosting by beating together the cashew butter, agave nectar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla and beat thoroughly until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Spread over the top of the cooled brownie evenly then cut into squares and serve.
I’ve had a couple of comments already from the lads who were at the Super Bowl party and that was that they were very moist and very rich. I think the courgette works well because its basically a veg that doesn’t taste of much and is mostly water so definitely lends itself to moistness. I would love to hear how you go though so leave a comment 🙂