A Healthier Version of Zucchini Brownies

IMG_0589
Zucchini Brownies. Photo by Lori Hogenkamp

I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t zucchini in brownies healthy enough?!?!

 
You’d think so, but just throwing in a single vegetable may not be quite enough. Heathy food is about how the foods interact and balance each other, what is present and how those foods act and react within your system.

So mainstream or conventional nutritional advice is focusing on lowering fat, sugar and salt and eat your veggies. But there’s more to understand to improve our food.

It’s not just about taking out sugar and fat, our source of calories, but rather getting those calories to behave themselves.

You see fat and sugar are our calorie sources, and salt is an essential mineral. So it’s the basis of survival.

Our brains are wired to find it.

So if we reduce our foods down to fats and starches with a little salt, our brains go crazy for it and we can survive. This is what junk food, and processed foods central around.

The problem is, just like fuel in the real world, it creates pollution in our bodies. That pollution in your system is what creates undersireable health conditions we’re trying to avoid. So what makes food healthy is getting our fuel ‘cleaner’ and what makes our fuel cleaner is all the little players like phytonutrients and antioxidants that nullify and buffer, breakdown and counteract the fuel. 

So the worst offenders to our health are food products made for convenience that have been stripped of these nutrients for a long and stable shelf life. So the instant I saw this recipe from AllRecipes.com, sent to me from an old high school friend, Teri,  I realized it was a great opportunity to tweak just a few simple ingredients that take this from being a disasterously unhealthy to a remarkably healthy recipe. Exchange and add nutrients to our sources of fat, starch and sugars.  Here’s the original recipe

Zucchini Brownies From AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  •  ICING
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2013 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/1/2013

———–
 
Fat, Sugar, Flour and Salt
Do we need to get rid of them or upgrade them?
 
It has been shown by studies that Industrialized fats like margarine, “vegetable” fats, are excessive source of omega-6 and transfats, which are devastating to our systems and probably the worst health offender contributing to any number of disease conditions over the last 100 years. Thanks Crisco.  It’s SHOCKING to me that a recipe would include it and if it does I highly suggest you ignore it and switch back to butter. Industrialized fats like margarine are a wrench in the works of our body and in my opinion, backed by studies, should never be used. So replace that in a delicious hurrry with healthy butter. Yes, I said healthy butter. Don’t like butter? You could use lard, yes, lard. These are all “healthy” fats if they are in moderation (with lots of phytonutrients) and from quality sources (grass-fed well treated animals have a better ratio of fats, fats that play well together in your system). We’ve used them for tens of thousands of years. So as long as they come with lots of other food sources, and our systems are operating effectively (we are relatively healthy) this are truly healthy sources of calories and nutrients! As far as what type of oils you might use, think about if you were living in a village and someone, and his family most likely, were in charge of oils for the community. They could get oils from nuts, seeds, olives or animals. Stick with those.
 
So that takes us to the sugar. Refined white sugar is the same type of high octane fuel, which is why we love it, but plain white sugar has NO buffers to slow it down the trash and pollution it produces. So we’ve got to add some nutrient sources to help clean it up. The best partner for sugar are the nonrefined products we original find with sugar sources, such that contain the nutrients of its refined counterparts as molasses. Shown in studies to partially nullify the impact of sugar with powerful minerals and antioxidants. Honey could help in the same way by protecting us from these potential internal pollutants. So if you are going to use sugar find was to either replace as much as you can with dried fruits and at least part with the counterparts of honey, real maple syrup or molasses. The addition of real or fresh vanilla also has not only a protective benefit because of its high antioxidant content but adds a remarkable delicious quality! Learn more about Vanilla from the Epicenter.

 

Zucchini Brownies Updated:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil : walnut, coconut, sunflower or butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar : mix of sugar, molasses and/or maple syrup and honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (make sure it’s REAL vanilla extract or use vanilla beans)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour white whole grain flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt: sea salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (and one an apple for sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • ICING
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine: Grassfed Butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (mix some of that out with honey)
  • 1/4 cup milk (organic, grassfed if possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla bean)

Chop up your Zucchini and Apple

This zucchini is from my Aunt’s Garden. Huge! You need 2 cups.

IMG_0538 

Set aside skins and rest of zucchini for salad!

© Justin Smith / Wikimedia Commons, CC-By-SA-3.
© Justin Smith / Wikimedia Commons, CC-By-SA-3.

Add one apple for a little extra sweetness!

Assemble dry ingredients for batter:

2 Cups Whole Wheat “White” Flour

4 Tablespoons Tumarac Cocoa Powder (or any unsweetened cocoa)

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon Sugar (i used powdered, it’s what I had)

1 teaspoon sea salt

IMG_0547

IMG_0553

Wet ingredients:

2 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup oil of choice Walnut and Coconut would be a great mix

1/2 Cup Honey

1 teaspoon or to taste Molasses

1 teaspoon fresh Vanilla Beans or Pure Vanilla Extract

IMG_0552

Massive antioxidant addition using the real stuffs here, plus its fun scraping those beans, feels like real work with real food! 

Scraping Vanilla Beans

 Mix dry, wet and chunky ingredients together and spread into 9×13 brownie pan

IMG_0561

Add a handful, 1/2 cup, Walnuts! 

Put in preheated oven 350 degrees for 25-30 MinutesIMG_0564As it is baking make Icing: Using a double broiler method melt 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup cocao powder

IMG_0565

1/4 Cup Pasture Butter

6 Tablespoons or 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder

Mix Powdered Sugar with milk, honey and another teaspoon worth of scraped vanilla bean

IMG_0575Mix with melted cocao and butter. Take Brownies out of oven, let both cool slightly. Pour icing mixture over brownies. Let cool completely.  

IMG_0577 

 

IMG_0580 

Sprinkle generously with Sea Salt and Powdered SugarIMG_0588

IMG_0587

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s