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Friday, August 22, 2014

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bars

This stuff...I don't know whether to call it a cake, bread, bar or brownie....but it's incredible! The flavor is so amazingly rich, deep and decadent you'll feel like you're cheating with every bite you take. And that's the best part. It's so secretly healthy you almost want to scream that out loud with every morsel you inhale. Zucchini is filled with nutrients, and this recipe is a way to sneak it in without anyone knowing. I was so pleased with this cake that I couldn't help myself and told everyone who tried it all about the zucchini despite my best efforts not too ;)

Since I'm a chocolate fanatic, I really load it up with cocoa powder (woohoo, another guilt-free factor...extra anti-oxidants!)  I'm really in love with the intense dark color of this cake...the darker the color, the deeper the flavor.  If you use Greek yogurt instead of applesauce it will lighten the color of the cake, but the flavor is the same. Since the chocolate chips are mini, they add little soft bites of chocolate that don't harden even when cooled, mmm! I've baked it in mini loaf pans, as cupcakes with colored marshmallows, as gifts in loaf trays and brownie style in a baking pan. My favorite way...and the fastest...was in the 9x13 pan because that's when it was the most moist and fudgy.

I've tried different frostings on these bars and my top favorites were my chocolate ganache from my salted caramel chocolate tart and a cream cheese peanut butter frosting (I'll post that recipe soon!) Most of the time I eat the bars unfrosted but if I'm treating them like a dessert instead of a side to my morning coffee or midday snack I'll heat a piece up with the ganache and really savor the soft chocolate bar with the hot and smooth chocolate ganache.

Makes 24 bars

-2 eggs
-1 cup sugar (plus up to 1/2 cup more for a sweeter cake...the kids definitely prefer it sweeter. If you're not frosting it, use a total of 1 1/2 cups of sugar)
-1/3 cup melted coconut oil
-2/3 cup applesauce or Greek yogurt
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 cups grated zucchini (don't use a zester to grate zucchini or your cake will stay too mushy, and don't use a grater with large holes because you will be able to see the zucchini pieces. Medium sized grater is best)
-2 squares melted semi-sweet baking chocolate (or 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, to be added with dry ingredients)
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 to 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

To make
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with coconut oil spray (I buy mine from Trader Joe's, or use another non-stick cooking spray)
-Using a mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla until well combined, about 2 minutes. Then add the grated zucchini and melted chocolate squares.
-In another bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix together and add to dry ingredients while mixing together. Mix until everything is well combined but don't over beat the batter or it will get tough as it bakes. Fold in chocolate chips and pour into pre-greased pan.
-Bake between 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before you slice.
-Enjoy the bars plain or top the with powdered sugar, chocolate ganache or peanut butter frosting

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  1. We love this around here. I use 1 1/2 cups sugar and skip any toppings, the mini chocolate chips are perfect! Sometimes I put some orange zest to switch up the flavor but regardless the texture is so amazing. Thank you!

  2. YUUUUUMMMM. Made this recently, but was hesitant if the kids would eat it so I halved it. They finished it off the same day, and now I'm baking the full batch! I kept the sugar at 1 cup and skipped the frosting to cut down on sugar.