I have this obsession with combining zucchini and chocolate in desserts. It just “makes sense” to me even though the first time I told Mr. Fantabulous years ago that I was making chocolate zucchini cake the look on his face was priceless. He done thought I went mad. Then he followed it up with Ewwwwwwwwwww that’s foul! even before I mixed up the batter. When we first started dating zucchini was one of those foods that if I gave it to him his face would squinch up like someone stuck a skunk in his face. Well wait, any NORMAL person’s face. See Mr. Fantabulous actually likes the smell of a skunk. No seriously he does! Weird huh? While I’m gagging, eyes tearing up and running for the hills he’s actually sniffing in deep. Apparently though he’s not unique as I have a girlfriend that is the same way. Say what? Exactly what type of people do I surround myself with?
Now through the years he’s actually grown an appreciation for it. He likes fried or baked zucchini strips. He’ll eat it in pasta and various other dishes but in desserts. Yeah I can’t get him past that hurdle. But that’s okay we can’t all like the same thing, right? Plus that just means it’s more for me!!! Ever since I shared with you my Zucchini Chocolate Muffins and that amazing Chocolate Zucchini Brownie with Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting you guys have asked for a gluten free version that still tasted as awesome.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! This brownie is super moist, borderline fudgy and just so packed with flavor that you have no clue it’s gluten free! I actually made 2 pans of brownies that day. This one and the ‘normal’ ones for Mr.Fantabulous. Now I hadn’t planned on making the 2nd batch as I was going to sneak this dish in and not tell him that it was gluten free OR made with zucchini however he saw me mixing up the batter, saw the grater and zucchini end left and said “Don’t even think you’re gonna sneak that in past me woman.” Wait.. did you just “WOMAN” me??? I looked up at him and said “Looks like you get no dessert this week then huh? I can’t eat an entire tray myself.”
Folks the look he gave me was BEYOND pitiful. Like we’re talking the look you give someone who just stole your puppy, ate the last cookie in the jar in front of you or worse… told you that there was no more bacon left in the house. Then he did it… that thing he does that just melts me. He gets close to me, gives me those sad, pitiful eyes, batting his lashes and softly whispers “please…”
<insert melted Lori> Yep even after all these years he can melt me with a single word.
So needless to say as these were cooking up I made him his own tray (spoiled brat I swear!). But I don’t mind. I’d rather him ask me to make stuff than him say “no don’t make anything… ever”. This brownie cooked up in no time. You could smell the chocolate coming from the oven. That warm rich decadent smell just making the house smell amazing. When I took it out I was concerned as it didn’t look like a traditional brownie. It looked more cake-like however it wasn’t over baked. The toothpick came out with some moist crumbs on it (which is what you want as the brownie will continue to cook in the container as it cools down).
As it cooled I thought it was drop a bit like a normal brownie does that is more fudgy on the inside but this didn’t. As it cooled I whipped up a batch of milk chocolate frosting to cover the brownie with (in case it was more cake-like). Once it was completely cooled I took it out of the pan and sliced myself a piece off. What I was met with was such an incredibly moist inside that had that fudgy-ness that brownies have but had the tenderness of a cake. Seriously I need to make regular brownies like this as the texture was off the hook! The brownie formed almost a ‘crust’ on top (thus is why I thought it was a cake type brownie) but it was anything but. It was unlike any other brownie I had ever had.
Since I had the milk chocolate frosting already made I decided to top brownies with it plus if I didn’t Mr. Fantabulous would have inhaled the entire container – even if I hid it in the fridge behind the brie cheese. The man has a nose for frosting.. and ganache. This frosting is super chocolate-y but not overly sweet. It’s creamy and paired perfectly with the intense chocolate flavor of the brownie. Plus it makes the picture ‘pop’.
I cut a big ol’ piece for the picture and after a few shots like the one above I felt it was too plain. So as you can see I opted to add some milk and a fork. And my being a gracious recipe creator I had to use the fork… repeatedly which meant taking bite after bite. I mean all for the sake of photography I swear! haha
During the photo shoot Mr. Fantabulous came up into the kitchen from working downstairs some more and spied this. IMMEDIATELY he got a fork and before I could say “You don’t like that kind” he stuck it into ‘my pan’ of brownies and shoveled some into his beautiful face. Folks the look someone gives you when they bite into something that they weren’t expecting to taste like you think it should is priceless. He expected it to be his normal brownies but instead he got chocolate and zucchini. You can taste the zucchini in these brownies which is one of the reasons why I’m so in love with it.
Now he swallowed it though he immediately followed it up with “Why didn’t you warn me that it was your crap and not a real brownie??? But hey I really like that frosting. Is there anymore left?” I looked sternly at him and said “Did you just call my stuff crap???” He then started to peddle backwards saying “No it’s good but it’s not what I like. You know I hate zucchini and but love your brownies. That’s all I taste hon. I don’t want you ruining a good thing by adding that crap in it (crap being zucchini folks).” I just shook my head and showed him his pan to which he sat down and grabbed a fork to dig in. However he stopped before he inserted the fork and asked for frosting. Unfortunately I used it all up on my pan. I said “Oh honey you don’t like frosting on your brownies, you like ganache. I was planning on putting Irish Cream Ganache on top. Give me 15 minutes and you can eat it then.” He sighed and went back to work only to literally be back in that kitchen in exactly 15 minutes.
As you can see I quite enjoyed this photo shoot as I got to eat WHILE I was shooting. That is a rarity in this business. We often take the shots of fresh from the oven/hot foods as that’s when they look their best. Once the shoot is done then we end up eating warm temp foods. There have been times though that the smells are so amazing that you eat and then make another plate up for the shoot. This one was just a true winner. I mean it’s a brownie for god’s sake! Life doesn’t get much better!
I loved this brownie to be honest. Mr. Fantabulous .. no, not at all. But as I said he hates zucchini in desserts. So to help decide whether or not to share this I go to my taste testers who are just as brutally honest as he is. I gave it to 10 different folks and they all loved it. Now I didn’t tell them that it was gluten free – just that it was zucchini and chocolate. Once I got the feedback I asked if they tasted anything ‘special’ about it or ‘off’ – gluten free baked goods can sometimes have an ‘off’ taste. They all said no and then I conveyed that it was gluten free. All were pretty much surprised but said that it was awesome and they wanted more.
It’s funny as this brownie pan, even though I gave 10 slices away and had a slice for myself, it still lasted me over a week. Mr. Fantabulous’ brownies lasted him a couple of days. And the extra bowl of ganache I had yeah, that didn’t make it until nightfall.
These Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Brownies seriously are so good! For those of you that have kids that refuse to eat zucchini (or big kids like my husband) this is a great way to sneak veggies into dessert for sure!Print
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup natural apple sauce
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 tsp chocolate extract
- 2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1/4 cup warmed hot fudge
- 1 cup chocolate chunks
Milk Chocolate Frosting
- 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbl milk chocolate chips
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbl corn syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment leaving a 1” overhang.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oil, egg, water, apple sauce, sugar, hot fudge and chocolate extract until well blended.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt.
- Sir the flour mixture into the oil mixture.
- Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chunks.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until brownies spring back when gently touched or a cake tester comes out mostly clean.
- Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over a saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted.
- Increase heat to medium; add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4-5 minutes.
- Add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream to clean bowl of stand mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Place mixer bowl over ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against sides of bowl, 1-2 minutes (frosting should be 70 degrees).
- Place bowl on stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
- Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth. *If you find after beating, your frosting is still too soft for your liking, try chilling in the fridge until it sets up a little more
- Once the brownie is cooled, spread a thick later of frosting on top.