Velvety and Ultra Chocolatey Zucchini Brownies with Fudge Frosting

Velvety and Ultra Chocolatey Zucchini Brownies with Fudge Frosting

I’ll start by saying that these are not healthy brownies. Adding zucchini here is not a health move! If you are one of those people who are not into baking “healthier desserts,” myself included, don’t be scared by the addition of zucchini. I like sweet decadent desserts and I would rather enjoy them in small portions, than try to make them “healthy,” be less satisfied and possibly even end up eating more calories (since the dessert is less satisfying, you may end up eating more of it.)

I had to start with that, because seeing so many websites referring to these brownies as healthy may be very confusing to someone who is trying to eat healthier. One little healthy vegetable will not make these sugar-loaded brownies healthy!

So why do we add zucchini? Moisture! I don’t hide veggies in my meals, that’s never the goal. I add zucchini to many of my recipes – muffins, brownies, breads and even turkey burgers for one and only purpose – adding a ton of moisture to the dish.

Zucchini make these brownies extremely soft, moist with a velvety decadent crumb. So quick and easy to make and such a crowd pleaser! If you bring these to a party, you are most definitely getting invited back!

The recipe is adapted from Allrecipes with almost no changes. This is very rare for me. Usually I love designing each and every recipe from scratch. But Allrecipe’s recipe is truly perfect. It’s simple, easy, totally delicious and I don’t see any need to change it up.

The texture of the batter is really weird and I’m providing a lot of additional tips for making this recipe. I’ve seen some add water – please don’t do that or you will end up with cakey tough brownies. I’ve seen lots of comments on Allrecipes’ saying these were cakey. They will be, if overbaked. But there’s absolutely no reason to overbake these. You are simply baking these until enough water has evaporated and they are set. If your toothpick comes out completely wet you are not done, if it comes out complete dry – unfortunately, your brownies are overbaked. So let’s get them perfect!

Oh, one more thing. I’ve experimented with pan sizes. This very same recipe could be baked in 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan (will need to decrease the icing amount.) It turns out great also. Keep in mind it will take a bit longer to bake.

However, I feel that the original recipe that called for 9×13 baking dish is the best and resulted in better ratio of icing to the brownie itself. The brownies will look very flat and not tall enough once you press them into the baking dish, but remember – your baking soda will react with the cocoa and make your brownies rise.

I truly can’t decide – both square baking pan and 9×13 work great. I suspect, after you make these once, you will make them again and again and again. So try both pans and let me know which one you prefer.

DifficultyBeginner

Yields24 Servings

 ½ cup vegetable oil
 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
 1 tbsp vanilla
 2 cups flour
 ½ cup cocoa powder
 1 ½ tsp baking soda
 1 tsp fine table salt
 2 cups finely shredded zucchinis (make that 2 heaping cups!) - DO NOT SQUEEZE your zucchini
 ½ cup additions, optional, such as chocolate chips, walnuts or combinaiton of both
For the frosting:
 ¼ cup butter (4 TBSP)
 6 tbsp cocoa powder
 pinch of salt
 ½ tsp vanilla
 ¼ cup milk
 2 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed

1

Preheat the oven to 350.

Lightly oil and dust with flour a pan of choice. Alternatively, you can line it with parchment paper (I prefer that as you can easily lift your brownies out of the pan once baked and cooled.)

See step 4 for more detail. You can use square 8 or 9" baking pan or 9x13 pan. Both work great.

2

Combine oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. In another bowl, combine salt, baking powder, cocoa and flour. Sift the flour mixture into the oil-sugar mixture. Then gently with a fork or a pastry cutter, work your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they resemble a mealy powder. Do not overwork the dough as you don't want to stretch the glutens in the flour and make the brownie tough or cakey.

3

Then gently sprinkle zucchini over your flour mixture. With a fork or even your clean hands, gently mix zucchini into the dough so that each strand of zucchini is nicely coated. At first, it will look like the mixture is too dry and it will never combine. Be patient. All you are trying to do at first is separate zucchini strands and get all of them coated with the flour mixture. Stir in your additions.

I've attached two pictures so that you can see how your mealy powder will turn into the dough that resembles cookie batter/brownie batter as the flour starts absorbing zucchini's moisture.

After each strand of zucchini is coated and you gently mixed the dough, you will notice that it will change from the mealy consistency into thick cookie-dough like consistency. It's perfect.

Do not add any water - your brownies will not be dry after they are baked. Adding water or any other liquid will result in dense cake-like consistency. In fact, what makes the crumb of this brownie so velvety and tender is the fact that we are not adding any wet ingredients to the flour when we mix it - so the glutens are very relaxed and not stretched; then the flour absorbs zucchini moisture and becomes hydrated that way.

4

Spread your batter into your prepared baking sheet. Both options work well - 9x13 or 8x8 baking pans. I find the contrast of icing to brownie is absolutely great in 9x13 pan, but 8x8 is thicker and also absolutely great (except if you do 8x8, do not use all of the icing, it will be too much.)

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (8x8 will need more time than 9x13.) The time will always vary a bit depending on how much moisture your zucchinis had. Start checking after 22 minutes. The middle should be set and spring back when gently touched. At that point, insert the toothpick - if it comes out with a few moist crumbs - it's perfect, take it out; however, if the toothpick comes out with wet batter on it, keep baking. Please note, if your toothpick comes out with absolutely no crumbs on it, the brownies are unfortunately likely overbaked and may be cakey. So watch closely as there's absolutely no need to overbake these.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing.

5

To make the icing, melt butter and stir in cocoa until well combined into chocolate sauce. Off heat - add milk and vanilla and whisk well to combine. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk well to combine - you are looking for thick but spreadable consistency. Therefore, add a bit more powdered sugar if needed. I personally ended up adding another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

Spread over cooled brownies and allow to set uncovered for at least an hour for the icing to set. Then slice your brownies into squares and serve.

Ingredients

 ½ cup vegetable oil
 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
 1 tbsp vanilla
 2 cups flour
 ½ cup cocoa powder
 1 ½ tsp baking soda
 1 tsp fine table salt
 2 cups finely shredded zucchinis (make that 2 heaping cups!) - DO NOT SQUEEZE your zucchini
 ½ cup additions, optional, such as chocolate chips, walnuts or combinaiton of both
For the frosting:
 ¼ cup butter (4 TBSP)
 6 tbsp cocoa powder
 pinch of salt
 ½ tsp vanilla
 ¼ cup milk
 2 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 350.

Lightly oil and dust with flour a pan of choice. Alternatively, you can line it with parchment paper (I prefer that as you can easily lift your brownies out of the pan once baked and cooled.)

See step 4 for more detail. You can use square 8 or 9" baking pan or 9x13 pan. Both work great.

2

Combine oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. In another bowl, combine salt, baking powder, cocoa and flour. Sift the flour mixture into the oil-sugar mixture. Then gently with a fork or a pastry cutter, work your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they resemble a mealy powder. Do not overwork the dough as you don't want to stretch the glutens in the flour and make the brownie tough or cakey.

3

Then gently sprinkle zucchini over your flour mixture. With a fork or even your clean hands, gently mix zucchini into the dough so that each strand of zucchini is nicely coated. At first, it will look like the mixture is too dry and it will never combine. Be patient. All you are trying to do at first is separate zucchini strands and get all of them coated with the flour mixture. Stir in your additions.

I've attached two pictures so that you can see how your mealy powder will turn into the dough that resembles cookie batter/brownie batter as the flour starts absorbing zucchini's moisture.

After each strand of zucchini is coated and you gently mixed the dough, you will notice that it will change from the mealy consistency into thick cookie-dough like consistency. It's perfect.

Do not add any water - your brownies will not be dry after they are baked. Adding water or any other liquid will result in dense cake-like consistency. In fact, what makes the crumb of this brownie so velvety and tender is the fact that we are not adding any wet ingredients to the flour when we mix it - so the glutens are very relaxed and not stretched; then the flour absorbs zucchini moisture and becomes hydrated that way.

4

Spread your batter into your prepared baking sheet. Both options work well - 9x13 or 8x8 baking pans. I find the contrast of icing to brownie is absolutely great in 9x13 pan, but 8x8 is thicker and also absolutely great (except if you do 8x8, do not use all of the icing, it will be too much.)

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (8x8 will need more time than 9x13.) The time will always vary a bit depending on how much moisture your zucchinis had. Start checking after 22 minutes. The middle should be set and spring back when gently touched. At that point, insert the toothpick - if it comes out with a few moist crumbs - it's perfect, take it out; however, if the toothpick comes out with wet batter on it, keep baking. Please note, if your toothpick comes out with absolutely no crumbs on it, the brownies are unfortunately likely overbaked and may be cakey. So watch closely as there's absolutely no need to overbake these.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing.

5

To make the icing, melt butter and stir in cocoa until well combined into chocolate sauce. Off heat - add milk and vanilla and whisk well to combine. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk well to combine - you are looking for thick but spreadable consistency. Therefore, add a bit more powdered sugar if needed. I personally ended up adding another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

Spread over cooled brownies and allow to set uncovered for at least an hour for the icing to set. Then slice your brownies into squares and serve.

Zucchini Brownies

Make it Gluten-Free: replace flour with good-quality all purpose gluten free flour. Ensure all your ingredients are gluten free and not cross-contaminated with gluten.

Happens to be Vegetarian. Happens to be Egg-Free.

Make it Vegan or Dairy-Free: Just enjoy the brownie and omit making the icing. Perhaps sprinkle some Diary-Free chocolate chips on top of the brownie before baking. If you add chocolate chips to the batter – be sure they are Vegan/Dairy-Free.

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