Zucchini Is The Secret Ingredient For Moister (And More Nutritious) Brownies

Brownie brittle can be delicious, but if you made some by accident and were hoping for a soft, moist dessert instead, you may find the texture disappointing. Dry brownies can sometimes be the result of overcooking, but they're also the result of using less butter, which is common in recipes that use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder. Because melted chocolate already contains cocoa butter, not as much regular butter is needed when making brownies. However, because cocoa butter is solid at room temperature, brownies made with melted chocolate don't stay moist for long. You might assume that the key to achieving moist brownies — whether made with melted chocolate or cocoa powder — would be to add more butter. But the truth is there's an ingredient that can more effectively accomplish this: zucchini.

When you add more butter than you need, the center remains gooey while the edges harden. By the time the center firms up, the rest of the brownie essentially turns into brownie brittle. If you were to add zucchini, though, that wouldn't happen. With this tubular vegetable that's botanically a fruit, you'll squash any chance of dry brownies.

What happens when you add zucchini to brownies?

If you've ever had zucchini bread or muffins made with zucchini, then you know that they affect the texture of baked goods more than their taste. The same applies when you add the summer squash to brownies, too. The most obvious explanation for this is that zucchini has a naturally high moisture content. When you add moist ingredients to a batter, the end result is similarly moist. But unlike liquids, which can evaporate out, or melted chocolate, which solidifies at room temperature, zucchini remains moist in every state. This, in turn, yields brownies that retain their moisture for a lot longer.

In addition to making them more moist, when you add zucchini to brownies, you also increase their nutritional value. Of course, adding the vegetable won't magically make your brownies healthy. However, it still does a solid job of balancing out the sugar and fat with fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamin C.

How much zucchini should you add to brownies?

When adding zucchini to brownies, you can more or less leave your recipe as is because zucchini simply does not have the same impact as ingredients like butter, eggs, and flour, which influence factors like gluten development, structure, and rise. One to two grated zucchinis are the universally recommended amount, whether you're using cocoa powder, chocolate, a mix of the two, or starting with a boxed brownie mix.

For best results, make sure to look for zucchini that are firm and shiny, and stay away from ones that are too large. These tend to be spongy and hollow, ultimately not ideal for baked goods. Once you've picked out the perfect zucchini, you can go ahead and grate it just as you would for zucchini bread or muffins. To ensure maximum moisture, avoid draining or squeezing the zucchini. Just fold it into the batter, and by the time the pan comes out of the oven, you'll have perfectly moist brownies.