Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

It’s the last day of August, can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday we were talking about Canada Day and what was on our summer bucket lists!

It’s been a summer filled with lots of wonderful things though- road trips, hiking,  marathon Great British Bake Off watching, travels down south… but most importantly, this was the summer that we finally bit the bullet and started Fancy Dough. We thought that there couldn’t be a better way to celebrate than with a big pan of brownies!

We’ve made brownies before this summer, but these are special brownies (no, not that kind). They’re special because they have zucchini in them which makes them super moist without having to add a bunch of extra fat. Instead, they have 2 whole cups of zucchini in them plus walnuts for some heart healthy fats. They are also egg-less and use canola oil instead of butter which makes these friendly brownies for vegans and individuals with special dietary needs alike.

We added a quick chocolate frosting to ours because a brownie without topping is a sad brownie in our opinion, and we can’t let our brownies be sad. The frosting whips up in a flash using melted butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, milk, and a bit of vanilla. It has the consistency of your classic lunch-lady brownies which we are absolutely in love with.

If you’ve got some extra zucchini kicking around this is a great way to use some of it up that doesn’t include the words bread, loaf, or some kind of stir-fry. The zucchini completely melts away in this recipe leaving you with just its moisture to keep these brownies nice and soft, which makes it a great option for sneaking some extra veggies into your kids’ (or kid-at-heart’s) diet.

We added chopped walnuts to ours but you could also leave them out or substitute them for something like chocolate chips. Or heck, throw caution to the wind and add both! It’s the last days of summer right!

Go bake.

Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder*

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups shredded zucchini (from about 1 large zucchini)

1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts

6 tablespoons (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup (56 g) salted butter

2 cups (240 g) icing sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13″ baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until well blended. Add the shredded zucchini and stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until incorporated. Add the walnuts and stir until just blended. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top as you go. Transfer to your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the brownies spring back gently when touched, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Ours took 25 minutes.
  5. While your brownies are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a small bowl melt together 1/4 cup butter and 6 Tbsp. cocoa in the microwave. Start with 20 second bursts, stirring after each increment, until smooth. Allow to cool slighlty. In a medium bowl, blend together the powdered sugar, milk, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Once cooled, stir in the cocoa mixture and mix until well combined. Spread over the cooled brownies before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies

We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled summer fruit recipes to bring you something that is pure chocolate and peanut butter. No blueberries, cherries, or raspberries found their way into this post!

These brownies are all about deep, dark chocolate and rich and creamy peanut butter. We’re not sure  there’s a better combination.

We took regular brownies up a notch with this recipe by whipping together a quick flourless peanut butter cookie dough, and then dolloping it on top of our brownie batter before baking. The result is pools of underdone peanut butter cookie dough that beg you to return for a second (and maybe even a third!) square of indulgence.

Full Disclosure: The peanut butter cookie dough we made used granulated sugar as a sweetener. This produced a final product that was slightly grainy but still tasted amazing! We weren’t bothered by it, but if you think you may be, we suggest that you use a slightly reduced amount of icing (powdered) sugar to replace it. We’ll leave detailed instructions in the recipe below.

The best thing is that these brownies use ingredients that you already have in your pantry- butter, sugar, flour, and cocoa. No need to worry about melting unsweetened chocolate or pulling our your pots and pans. We made things even easier by melting everything together using the microwave. This may be sacrilege to some people, but sometimes, you just need brownies. Stat.

After the brownies were finished cooling in their tray we transferred them to the fridge for safe-keeping. We originally did this so that they’d be easier to cut, but the chill from the fridge when eating them cold adds so much more fudginess to these brownies than if you keep them at room temperature. We highly recommend it!

Go Bake.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons (140 g) salted butter

1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) Dutch-processed cocoa

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (65 g) chocolate chips

1/2 cup (120 g) smooth peanut butter (we used Kraft)

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar; or alternatively, use 1/3 cup (80 g) icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with tinfoil leaving an overhang on two sides so that you have handles to remove the finished brownies (no need to grease!).
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 second increments until the butter is fully melted and the mixture is smooth, making sure to stir after each increment. Remove the bowl from the microwave and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
  3. Meanwhile, make your peanut butter cookie dough. In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter, sugar (whichever type you’re using), and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and stir will to combine. Set aside.
  4. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla into the chocolate mixture with a spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the spoon. Stir in the chocolate chips and then spread evenly into your prepared pan.
  5. Roll the cookie dough into small bowls, or just drop dollops of the dough evenly over the top of the brownie batter. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips if you’re feeling particularly feisty!
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly mois with batter, and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Let cool completely in the pan then lift up the ends of the foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. As we mentioned earlier, we find that it’s way easier to cut brownies when they’re slightly chilled.  To do this, place your cooled brownies into the fridge for at least an hour, then remove from the pan and cut as per usual.

Inspired by this recipe.