Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zucchini Brownies

Yummy note: Oh, how I miss you, zucchini... I didn't really get a chance to have a real garden this year, so no home grown zucchini here. :(  Last year, I had a bunch and of course, my friends at the Secret Recipe Club helped out in giving me lots of great ideas using that up last year and coincidentally enough, this month I found yet another great way to use up some zucchini that I had from the farmer's market!  So kudos to the SRC bloggers and their creativity. In all the recipes, I've tried with zucchini I don't recall ever making brownies with them. I've baked breads and cakes with it, and even made salsa and fried zucchini, but no brownies. Well, that must be fixed instantly, after I saw this recipe from Ashley at Rainstorms and Love Notes. I am pretty sure I've seen recipes like it before floating around, but I just never tried it. I knew from previous baking with zucchini sometimes my kids can be a bit picky and I need some tricks to get past the green stuff. So the chocolate here was my ammo. I also ended up pulsing the brownie mix just slightly in the food processor to incorporate the zucchini strands better, as I wanted the kids to like the brownies without finding "something stringy is in my food, mom!!" and then it would be a no-go. This recipe was kid-tested and approved and they thoroughly enjoyed these zucchini brownies and kept asking for more. It was a 2 thumbs up dessert all around. Thanks Ashley for this great treat! Don't forget to stop by Ashley's blog and learn more about her here. (btw, love this intro page!) If you are looking for other great treats, check these out... these are on my short list to try-- cookie dough bitescinnamon doughnuts, and these amazing looking caramel shortbread bars.

Zucchini Brownies 

1 large zucchini (roughly 2 cups shredded zucchini)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grate zucchini, you should try and have approximately 2 cups for the recipe. Next, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the zucchini into brownie batter. Yummy note: If your kids are like mine and they don't like to see zucchini strands perhaps pulse the zucchini a little in a food processor to incorporate it better into the batter.  Pour brownie batter into a prepared 9x13 pan. For best results, line your pan with aluminum foil and then spray with cooking spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done.

Ingredients all ready to mix together.
1st attempt at zucchini going in... then the kid factor.. "mom, that looks kinds yucky.." Ok, time to switch things up. Sneaky mom takes a bunch of zucchini out and pulses it in food processor to achieve a more smooth consistency and then blends it right into the brownie batter. 

Added a handful of chocolate chips just to make sure we are good. 

Ready to bake!

Warm chocolate, almost cake-like brownies ready to be eaten! 
Yummy note: If you want to make it extra decadent try topping the brownies with this frosting! 

Easy Chocolate Frosting 

1/4 cup butter, melted
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk or coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 2-3 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter and cocoa together until combined. Then add in milk (or coffee) and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar until desired consistency for frosting is achieved.

Chocolate-loving kid tested and approved zucchini brownies! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Blonde Brownies

Yummy note:  Last month, my mother-in-law and I were discussing how delicious those blonde brownies from Applebee's are, and how you just can't eat one by yourself. Seriously, there is a lot of warm gooey sweet goodness going on with that dessert. So instead of heading out to the restaurant with the kids and all to get a treat, I figured let's bake something similar to these blonde brownies for Grandma and Grandpa instead. Then we an portion control ourselves and have like little blonde brownies treats all week long! ;) 

Blonde Brownies 

1 cup sifted flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/8 teaspoon baking soda 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar 
1 egg, beaten 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I also have used dark chocolate) 

Melt butter and add brown sugar, and stir until well mixed. Add in egg and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Combine butter mixture with flour mixture, stirring well. Stir in nuts and desired chocolate chips. Pour into a 9-inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.