It's that time again, when every gardener supposedly looks for ways to push zucchini on to unsuspecting neighbors, family, and friends, and the table at church yesterday was piled with lots of the ubiquitous squash.
Others may not want this bounty, but it's been good for me, since I have somehow not yet been able to find the zucchini gardener secret. In three years, I have been able to harvest a grand total of two zucchinis.
This year at least, my butternut squash is thriving and taking over most of the garden, inundating the bush beans and peppers (which weren't doing too well anyway) and threatening to keep the three red cabbage plants from ever starting to head up. So I am always happy to accept anyone's zucchini and summer squash offerings. Between a couple of donors, I have had plenty to work with this week. On my way to a meeting where I have offered to make the dessert, I decided to try my hand at zucchini brownies, having done cakes and breads and lots of main dishes in the past. The following recipe didn't rise quite as high as regular brownies and is more cake-like than fudgy-chewy, but it is also much lower in fat and higher in fiber than the usual.
I had brownie mix on the shelf from a 79 cent sale awhile ago, so these turned out to be quite inexpensive--free zucchini, two eggs at 16 cents (priced under a dollar right now, eggs are another bargain) and the mix added up to less than a dollar for at least 24 brownies. Admittedly, the nuts added to the cost, but they are completely optional; I used them only to cover over any suspicious hint of "chunkiness" that the zucchini might have given. A dusting of powdered sugar provided a quick and inexpensive topping. Start to finish, they took little more than half an hour, since the baking time is only about 20 minutes.
1 package brownie mix for 9 X 13 pan--do not use low fat brownie mix for this recipe
1/4 c water
1 c finely shredded zucchini, firmly packed
1/4 to 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Spray a 9 X 13 inch pan with nonstick coating and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together until smooth and pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just done; do not overbake.
4. When cool, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
These brownies are best eaten the first day or so, as they seem to become a little gummy over time. And while I only dusted them with powdered sugar, adding a chocolate frosting would probably make them more welcome to brownie purists.