Let me begin by addressing the elephant in the room. It’s been a long time between blog posts. There, I said it. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore. It’s just that I have a bun in the oven and it’s not of the gluten-free variety. It’s a bubba that’s due to pop out in early July! That’s right, I’m having a baby! Call it baby brain or put it down to general laziness, I just haven’t been in the head space to blog. But fear not, you can rest assured that Food Crush is alive and kicking. It’s just not kicking as much as this baby who has taken up the pastime of kicking its mumma in the ribs all hours of the day and night. A sign of things to come? I hope not!
With motherhood encroaching at the rate of knots, I’ve well and truly entered the nesting phase. Aside from napping, nappy stacking and becoming an expert on prams, I’ve been baking my little heart out. So predictable, I know. My oven gives birth to a new creation every day in the shape of sour cream cookies, Nigella’s pineapple upside down cake, healthy muesli bars, blueberry muffins, carrot cake and zucchini brownies. I just can’t help myself. This morning, my sugar-laden husband kindly asked that I refrain from putting any sweet treats in today’s lunchbox. I guess he has a point – there’s only so many cakes, biscuits and slices that two people can consume before having to resort to lycra.
Speaking of sweet treats, let me tell you about my gluten-free zucchini brownies. When I first heard about zucchini brownies (courgette for my UK readers who I can hear “tut tutting” all the way from Oz), I was reminded of the delectable beetroot brownies that I whipped up last year. Judged on name alone, I can understand why you wouldn’t go near beetroot or zucchini brownies with a 10-foot pole. Let’s face it, they sound revolting. But truth is, the addition of such a water-dense vegetable creates an incredibly moist texture. Just be sure to drain as much water out of them as possible before adding them to the mix or you may end up with soggy brownies.
If Mr Crush had it his way, the brownies would be devoid of icing, but they looked naked without a glossy top coat so I went forth and smothered them with a shiny frosting. I challenge you to detect the flavour of zucchini as you sink your teeth into these goodies. Just good luck stopping at one – they are truly addictive. I’m yet to decide whether I prefer these bad boys or the Nigella flourless chocolate brownies with hot chocolate sauce that I baked a couple of weeks ago.
Gluten-free zucchini brownies
Adapted from All Recipes
125ml sunflower oil
300g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250g gluten-free plain flour (see version two)
40g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda or baking soda
250g grated zucchini (skin on and drained)
50g chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
50g dark choc, chopped
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
250g pure icing sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 22x33cm baking tin.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, spices; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the zucchini, walnuts and chopped chocolate. Pour mixture into pan. Spread evenly into the prepared tin.
4. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. Cool on wire rack.
5. To make the icing, melt together the cocoa and butter; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the sifted icing sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.