It’s good to be back, although I enjoyed my time off immensely. I went home for a family reunion, and it was great to see relatives I haven’t seen in years. The weather was even nice with minimal humidity, thankfully. Humidity can really bother me. Like migraine bother me. Fortunately, the humidity wasn’t too crazy, although the ragweed was bad. But a few annoying sneezes beat a migraine any day!
One thing I was really looking forward to was my Mom’s garden. Her zucchini plants were feeling generous so we ate a lot of zucchini, which is fine by me. My Dad doesn’t mind zucchini bread or zucchini brownies, but he doesn’t do zucchini straight-up. Thankfully, for my Mom — I do! Her tomatoes were being little pills, unfortunately. Oh, there were plenty of tomatoes on her plants, but they were all green, except for two little guys who I took home with me! And yes, she now has a ton of ripe tomatoes. Jerks. A neighbor also kindly shared some sweet corn with us and it was sooooooooo good.
So yeah, I basically ate my way through my vacation, and I don’t feel bad about it all. It was veggies, people! We won’t talk about the butter or cheese or chocolate that was added to those veggies, okay? Okay! Mighty Max was once again irritated that he wasn’t invited, but he gets so anxious in his carrier. He’d be seriously stressed from being stuck in one for so long, not to mention surviving the 3 hour flight! He’d also likely get us banned for getting into too much mischief. I love my cat, but I also know Max. He earned that Chief Mischief Maker title!
It seems impossible but summer is quickly coming to a close. My nephews and niece start school next week. And my oldest nephew, Andy, is going to be a senior. I feel old. 🙂 And short. Andy and his brother, Aaron, both tower over me. Now that I think about it, so does their 13 year-old sister. Yup, I’m the shorty in my family.
The kids often eat lunch with my parents during the summer since my parents are retired and their next-door neighbor. They like my Mom’s zucchini bread (me too!) but aren’t big zucchini fans otherwise. This is why we neglected to mention we put zucchini in the brownies we made. 🙂 If they knew, they probably wouldn’t like them as much!
I thought they were terrific. They could also pass as a chocolate cake, although not a very tall cake, which is why I called them brownies. Not super fudgy or too cake-like, they are the goldilocks of brownies — just right.
Chocolate Espresso Zucchini Brownies
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee or 1 individual packet of instant coffee
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, instant coffee or espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into the sugar mixture, then fold in the zucchini. The mixture may be dry. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the zucchini can release its moisture. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until cake springs back when gently touched.
- To make the frosting: melt butter and stir in cocoa until smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, cold coffee and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled cake and serve.
A few things to note: there are NO eggs in the recipe. It is not a typo or oversight. This freaked some people out in the original recipe I got from Six Sisters’ Stuff. Your batter will also initially be quite dry. Just stir in the zucchini the best you can and let it set for 10-15 minutes. The zucchini will eventually release its moisture, which will allow you to fully combine the batter. It will remain a thick mixture, not pourable like a cake. You’ll need to spread it out. Once you cover the brownies with a delicious frosting, you and everyone else will never even guess that there is zucchini in it.