In doing my research on sugar alternatives, I had my eyes opened wide about the differences in processed vs. “natural” sugar. That there is virtually no difference at all, and you are often being completely misled when you buy products labeled with the ingredient “cane juice”. If you are interested, here’s a great article explaining how processed sugar bears no resemblance to what’s found in nature (in fact, it’s closer to a chemical). I found it fascinating, and was careful to purchase actual evaporated cane juice (also known as sucanat – for SUgar CAne NATural).
Like maple syrup and honey, sucanat is a sweetener in its most natural, least refined state. And while it is by no means “healthy”, it does contain some anti-oxidants and trace minerals, and is void of chemicals and other nasty substances.
Because the molasses is not separated from the sugar during production, sucanat most closely resembles brown sugar in appearance and taste. As such, I immediately envisioned it with chocolate, as chocolate and brown sugar are a delicious pairing.
I was about to do a quick recipe search when – lo and behold – Katy (another Alt Summit attendee) of the beautiful blog All Sorts Of Pretty featured a post for these brownies!
And so I give you brownies. That have fruit, veggies and not a trace of processed sugar (breakfast, anyone?). Oh – and with the appropriate substitution, you can easily make them gluten free, too.
Speaking of which – guess what I’m giving up for March?
adapted from All Sorts of Pretty
4 squares (4 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
3 T. coconut oil
1 c. (5 oz.) flour
1/2 c. (40 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. (384 g.) evaporated cane juice
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (you can use homemade if you like – omit the spices and lemon juice)
2 T. vanilla
2 c. finely grated zucchini (from 2 small zucchini)*
Pre-heat oven to 350; prepare a 9 x 13 pan with a parchment “sling” (paper should go in both directions).
In a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate squares and coconut oil, stirring occasionally.
While chocolate is melting, stir flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in another bowl.
When chocolate and oil have completely melted, remove bowl from heat and whisk in beaten eggs, applesauce and vanilla. Fold in zucchini.
Fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture; pour into prepared pan.
Bake 25-35 minutes or till toothpick comes out with no crumbs attached. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using the sling as a guide, transfer brownies to a cutting board and chill several hours (or overnight). Cut into squares.
*Note: Use a standard box grater (the side with the smallest holes) to grate the zucchini – not your food processor.You want the zucchini very finely grated so that it “disappears” when baked in the brownies.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver