I. Love. Sneaking veggies into baked goods! It’s like being healthy and indulging yourself at the same time, which is more often than not a harder thing to achieve than it sounds. Zucchinis and carrots are my favorite for this purpose, and Zucchinis are way easier to grate…so the decision is easy for the lazy person in me.
I am also in love with almond flour lately, because it is gluten-free, because it is low carb, because it is high in protein, (basically everything in trend at the moment) and mostly because it makes super moist baked goods in my hands! (Disclaimer: It goes without saying though, if you have a tree-nut allergy, please do not bake with almond flour, once I’ve tried these with coconut flour, I’ll update the recipe with a nut-free version). Almond flour is a favorite of mine to replace regular flour lately, as the protein content in them tends to keep me fuller for just a bit longer, and although the fat content is a bit higher, it is good type of fat!
Another beautiful thing with this recipe is, it is refined-sugar free, as it is sweetened with honey, and I tend to go pretty light on the honey, but you can increase the honey a bit more (1/4 cup more) if you like things on the sweeter side. I have yet to try to bake these with the fancy wildflower honey I found at the farmer’s market. (It is so fancy, with every spoonful of the you just feel the wild flowers blossoming in your face, filling your senses with SPRING and SUNSHINE and HAPPINESS. But it is also quite expensive, so I am so stingy with them (l0l) and only use it to spread on toasts when I need a dose of “liquid gold”. )
The recipe below makes for 12 cupcakes/muffins (I usually use cupcake liners in a muffin baking tray), and I fill the liners almost 3/4 full, because I’m not expecting these to rise a lot. Once baked, it is good for a few days in the refrigerator (I store them in Ziploc bag to keep them moist), and if you can hold off eating them right out of the oven, it actually taste better when it is cooled and the ingredients settle in a bit better), you can also freeze them and thaw or pop in the microwave for 15 sec for a just-baked chocolatey goodness! You can also make them into small-loafs, baking time will be a bit longer. But I think they wouldn’t be dense or chewy enough to be brownie, although it is certainly moist enough.
Recipe adapted from Elana’s Pantry http://elanaspantry.com
2 and 1/2 cups of Blanched Almond Flour
1/2 cup Cacao Powder
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
4 large eggs
4 Tbsp of Coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 Cup of Honey
1/2 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
1 and 1/2 Cup Zucchini, grated (DO NOT SQUEEZE THE WATER OUT! this was approximately one medium-large Zucchini for me)
In a mixing bowl: Combine almond flour and cacao powder, add in salt, baking soda. Use either a whisk or fork to make sure it is mixed well (fairly easy).
In a blender/food processor: Blend eggs, honey, vanilla extract, and coconut oil until well mixed, then add in zucchini and blend for 10 seconds. (I like my zucchini in smaller chunks for maximum invisibility but not completely liquified so I can still taste the nutty bits of zucchini-goodness, feel free to do it over a longer time if you want it to disappear for your picky children/husband).
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, mix well (I use fork or whisk for this, don’t over-mix)
Transfer batter to cupcake/muffin liners, it should make 12.
Bake at 350 F for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (We have a “toy-oven” at home, so I often need to bake these longer, sometimes up to 26 minutes, so please make your own judgement when the 18 minutes are concluded).
Chill on a wire rack, and try not to eat them too soon! Believe me these are way better if you give them some time (at least a few hours).
I’ve made these a handful of times now, I’ve added dark chocolate chips for a bit of a crunch, I’ve also thrown in bits of pecans, or slices of almonds (at the last step before transferring the batter).
Note: If you are baking this for patients in braces treatments, make sure you stay away from big chunks of nuts as they may lead to bracket-failure. There! Now it is an orthodontist-approved and healthy recipe! 😀