Dec 23, 2013

Healthy Dark Chocolate Zuchinni Brownies With Easy No Sugar Peanut Butter Sauce (Low Sugar, Low Fat)



Last summer I tried Jessica Seinfield's veggie brownies in an effort to trick my nephew into eating veggies (he HATES veggies).  It was an epic fail!  Even my husband who is a total chocoholic told me he'd eat them but they are not that great.  I'm all for healthy but only if you can't tell the difference!  While I gave up on her recipe I did not give up on the ideal of eating veggies with your brownies.  I figured using more tried and true veggie ingredients used in quick breads like pumpkin and zucchini would make more sense than the spinach and carrot pulp used in Jessica Seinfield's recipe.  I decided to try zucchini first since I have a huge one in my fridge, and plan to try a pumpkin version next and a gluten free and a grain free version some time in the future, so check back soon!

 How I Adapted This Recipe
 I think I've found the perfect veggie brownie recipe finally! I chose to try Food Plus Word's Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies recipe with a few adaptations, and they turned out great!  Low in fat and sugar and with fruit and veggies too! I haven't been able to try these on kids yet but I bet they would be kid approved (especially if served with the peanut butter sauce and ice cream)!  Unlike Jessica Seinfield's brownies these do not sacrifice taste at all!  You would never guess that there is zucchini and apples in this!  I was worried that with the zucchini being grated as opposed to being grated into a mash it would be obvious and a weird texture, but it wasn't at all.  The zucchini just disappeared once baked like magic.  

Low Fat
 I choose this recipe because I liked that it used apple sauce to replace oil (less calories).  I did however decided to add 1 Tablespoon of oil (butter or coconut oil) because while the brownies were moist, I feel like they will get dry fast when they are not super fresh and we usually take a few days to eat all the brownies. 

 Low Sugar
I cut the sugar in half knowing that often many recipes call for more sugar than needed. It was a risk that payed off!  It was still plenty sweet and now this recipe is low sugar to boot. 

  I also chose to not add the cinnamon and cardamom in the original recipe, to have a true chocolate flavour.  I also decided to melt the chocolate chips versus dropping them in to allow the sugar in the chocolate chips to mix into the whole batter.  

Peanut Butter Sauce
I made this up on the fly when I realized some syrup would be the perfect finish for serving but I never buy any because most syrups in the store have horrible ingredients.  I started dreaming of a peanut butter sauce.  What better to go with brownies than peanut butter? And if I could make it without adding sugar it would actually have vitamins and minerals and no sugar!  Talk about healthy!  I figured adding water to Peanut Butter might work because it's similar to nut butters.  And adding stevia makes it sugar free!  It worked and it's simple and healthy!  


Image Via Food Plus Words: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies

 Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies With Easy 2 Min Peanut Butter Sauce   

(Low Sugar and Fat)

(Adapted from Food Plus Words)

Ingredients:

2 large pasture raised eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (you can use an equal amount of vanilla bean paste if you have it)
1 tablespoon pasture raised butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup organic or cane sugar (so that it is not GMO)
1/4 cup organic (please get organic because apples are one of the dirty dozen) apple sauce (can sub an equal amount of cooled melted butter or coconut oil)
1/4 teaspoon pink salt or sea salt
1 cup pastry flour (can sub non bleached all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 large zucchini; I washed and trimmed the ends off my zucchini, then grated it on the smallest holed-side of my box grater)
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips


Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.
greese an 8" x 8" square baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
2.  In a medium glass bowl, add the chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter and melt in the microwave (heat just enough to melt, if you have a few pieces that don't melt that's OK).  Stir until most or all of the chocolate has melted.
3.  Add in the apple sauce first (to cool the mixture down so the eggs won't get cooked when added) whisk together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, apple sauce (or butter or oil, if using) and salt until combined.
4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom. using a silicone spatula, mix until dry ingredients are dissolved and incorporated. the mixture will be on the thick side.
5.  Fold in the grated zucchini so that it's uniformly mixed into the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap lightly on the edge of the counter to release any air bubbles.
6.  Bake the brownies at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, check to see if the the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.If not turn down the oven to 300 degrees F and check every 10 min until it is done.
allow the brownies to cool in the pan on a wire baking rack completely before slicing.
* The brownies will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*You can also wrap the cooled brownies in plastic wrap and store in an airtight zip-top plastic bag in the freezer for up to 4 months. to defrost, just remove however many brownies you want and allow to defrost in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

Easy 2 Min No Sugar Peanut Butter Sauce 

1.  Mix 2 parts water to one part Organic (Peanuts are high in pesticides, but not most other nut butters) Peanut butter (can sub almond, cashew, or sunflower butter) in a small microwavable bowl or canning jar (don't microwave with the lid on) and melt on low in the microwave and stir. If your sauce is too thick for you you can add more water and stir again.

*For example if you used 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter you would use 1/4 cup of water (equal to 4 Tablespoons) 

2.   Stir in Stevia and pink salt (if the nut butter you are using is not salted) to desired taste and serve over brownies and a scoop of organic ice cream (I used Whole Foods 365 chocolate chip ice cream, Alden's chocolate Peaut butter would be a great choice too).

Check out my other brownie recipes:
The Best Healthy Fudge Brownies Recipe (a healthier version of America's Test Kitchen's Fudgey Brownie Recipe)

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