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(W)in Quarantine – Zucchini!

You can’t escape from zucchini brownies. 

Every few years I try to slow the tides of time by looking for healthier choices I could be implementing into my life and food choices. After wading through the fade diets, there some consistent suggestions that I come across constantly. I’m usually happy to try these healthier substittes, like honey or maple syrup instead of honey. I dont’ like sugar, afterall, I like sweetness. If I can get sweetness from a healthier source, sugar can die in a fire. 

Researching healthy alternatives is fun. It breaks recipes down into parallels, like the food equivalent of a Game Maker’s Toolkit or Every Frame A Painting.Once you see the components parts, you can make a lot of smaller, informed choices instead of blindly choosing between complex wholes. 

Speaking of wholes, my research turns up a whole lot of zucchini recipes.Which is fine, we already make savoury zucchini pie and a zucchini bake fairly often. But health food sites are obsessed with putting zucchini in desserts. Especially chocolatey desserts. In all my years of trying to fill my tank with better fuel, I’ve resisted the hype around desserts going green. 

And now we’re quarantined with a lot of zucchinis. 

At the first sign of quarantine, we stocked up on fruit and vegetables. Our snacking and meals have been fresh and energizing (although I see the error of stocking up on hummus during a toilet paper shortage). Unfortunately, produce doesn’t keep for a crisis. After a pie and a couple of bakes, we still had zucchini we needed to use before it spoiled. Well well, the health food sites said. Care for some brownie with that? With opportunity, motivation, the ingredients, and a voice from the Internet haunting me, I decided it was time to make like the Tiger King audience and see what the hype was all about. 

I couldn’t figure out what the zucchini substituted. The highly rated zucchini brownie recipe I chose still needed an egg, flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sweetener. It seemed like the zucchini was just a bonus ingredient. Or it substituted a little bit of a lot of ingredients. Then, I couldn’t figure out how to add the zucchini. Well, I could figure out how, it clearly said to stir two cups of shredded zucchini into the batter, but everything about that felt wrong. Shredded? Stir? I didn’t need to blend it or make a paste like banana bread? 

Not only was the recipe clear, it invoked science.

With hype and science on the recipe’s side, I did what I was told, stirred the long green strands into the chocolatey batter, poured the mix into a tray, and baked. 

Zucchini brownies lived up to the hype.

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You might be curious about the cookies and the crumb on the piece. I’ll get into that another time.

Fluffly like chocolate cake, moist, rich, and without a trace of the vegetable flavour I was worried about. Both of my daughters, who are more than willing to let food they don’t like roll out of their mouths and onto the floor, asked for seconds. I have eaten it plain, with freshly whipped cream, and with peanut butter. Each time it was excellent for its own reasons. I look forward to seeing what else this miracle legume can do for my desserts.