July 16, 2018
This is about...
Zucchini “BLONDIES!”
zucchini blondies.png
        I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE PROBABLY THINKING---A BLONDIE OUT OF ZUCCHINI? I actually thought the same thing. We’ve all heard of baking zucchini into a sweet tea loaf or something savory. But a brownie-like blondie? That sounded like one step too far off the beaten path, even for me. BUT WHEN YOU’VE GOT BUSHELS OF THEM STARING YOU IN THE FACE, YOU START TO THINK OF CREATVE WAYS TO USE IT UP. And this is certainly a creative way to do that.
        These were a total surprise. I HAD VERY LOW EXPECTATIONS, UNTIL I ATE ONE. There are, however, 2 ingredients that must be given full credit for their success—almond butter and coconut sugar. Almond butter is a staple these days, so that won’t be hard to find. But coconut sugar might be more of a challenge, being relatively new on the baking scene. Still it’s getting easier to find in health food stores, even larger grocery stores carry it now and if all else fails, good ol’ Amazon definitely has it.
        The magic of this super easy recipe is that EVEN THOUGH THERE’S NO FLOUR ANYWHERE TO BE FOUND, THAT NUTTY ALMOND BUTTER AND SWEET, CARAMEL-LY COCONUT SUGAR CREATE A CAKEY TEXTURE, that holds all of those chocolate chips in just the right places.
        If you’re a GLUTEN-FREE devotee, these are for you. Or, if you’re looking for A DESSERT THAT DEFIES IT’S “HEALTHINESS” ( aren’t we all?) then these are for you. I hesitate suggesting subbing in brown sugar for the coconut, but you could. It just won’t be the same. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top to hide the zucchini peeking through the cake and the kids will happily eat these. AND MIRACLES OF MIRACLES, YOU’LL BE SNEAKING IN A SERVING OF VEGGIES TOO!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Choose medium-size zucchini. Fresh ones are shiny. And, if they still have the blossom attached, even better. If you have your own garden and are overrun with them, don’t use the ones that have grown into baseball bats!--a regular occurrence in my NJ garden, they grow so fast! Those guys are filled with seeds and too mealy to bake with.
2. Grate them by hand through the large holes of a box grater. Using a food processor makes them too watery.
3. Make sure to use fresh almond butter that's smoothe and creamy. If it's very dry it will be too hard to incorporate into the batter.
4. Also, because the almond butter can still be hard to incorporate, I like to use my stand mixer to combine the batter, but you can also mix it by hand.
5. You can switch out the semisweet chocolate, for milk or white. Maybe add a handful of nuts or dried fruit if you like too. But when it comes to these, I’m a purist.

(slightly adapted from Kristin Cavallari)

1 cup creamy almond butter, I like Justin’s
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or pink Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut sugar, I like Nutiva brand
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, I like Cocolove
2 cups grated zucchini, from about 1 medium zucchini

Make the Blondies:
        Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8" x 8" baking dish with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
        In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the almond butter, egg, salt, baking soda, sugar, and vanilla. Mix on medium low speed until just combined--the mixture may get very thick. Add the zucchini and mix again until well combined--the mixture will loosen up. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low just until the chips are evenly distributed. Dollop spoonfuls into the prepared pan and spread evenly. You can also mix the batter by hand in a medium-size bowl.
        Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Can be stored at room temperature for 2 days or up to a week in the fridge.
Makes 9 squares.      YUM!
Would LOVE to hear from YOU! Leave your COMMENT below.