Zucchini Almond Butter Blondies
I don’t know if this is an asset or not, but I can find a way to justify almost anything. Whether it is a miniature French bulldog statue or a cookie; I can find a reason why I need it. One of my justifications is that if it has vegetables in it, then it must be healthy. That was basically my reasoning behind this creation.
I took my basic nut butter blondie recipe and tweaked it slightly to bring a bit more chew, but still slightly cake-like and of course, with zucchini. I have had a bit of a complicated relationship with vegetables since I got my temporary ileostomy. Before I got it, I lived off of fruits and vegetables. I think that is basically all I ate aside from oatmeal, yogurt and chocolate (one of my food groups).
After the procedure, most vegetables are tricky. I won’t go into the details of why, but let’s just say that there is too much fiber. Zucchini has been the one vegetable that I am able to eat without many issues. So, I always have it in my fridge and am always looking for more ways to incorporate vegetables into my diet, post ileostomy.
These almond butter blondies are one of my favorite creations. Almond butter provides that nutty flavor (that you can get from browned butter too), which works so well with the sweetness of the date syrup and coconut sugar.
Speaking of date syrup, let’s discuss. I recently discovered date syrup and I have to say that I think I like it more than maple syrup or agave nectar. The flavor is deeper, more caramel-like and the health benefits are amazing. Date syrup is packed with potassium, calcium and antioxidants and its made from fruit. In my mind, that basically means I am eating a serving of fruit when I have one of these blondies (I realize that this is only true in my mind).
And then there is the flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Measure-for-Measure flour mixture. This is one of the flours that I always have in my pantry, but there are definitely other options you can use. A great combination of flours is almond and tapioca flour: use 3/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup tapioca flour. If you are not gluten-free, you can use spelt flour.
If you want to make this recipe completely vegan, you can use a flax egg (1 tablespoon of flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water). After you mix in the flax eggs, the mixture might seize up a little bit. If the batter does seize up, add 1-2 tablespoon of warm water until it is a smoother, looser batter.
Let’s bake some blondies!
1/2 cup (115g) smooth almond butter
1-2 tbsp avocado oil (14-28g)*
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (55g) date syrup (agave nectar works well too)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 a large zucchini, grated (119g)
1 cup (161g) Gluten-free Measure-for-measure flour (Bob’s Red Mill is my fave)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup (95g) vegan dark chocolate chunks (I use chopped up Taza Chocolate bars)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line and grease an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Grate the zucchini on a box grater. Place the grated zucchini in a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chunks.
In a large bowl, combine the almond butter, oil, eggs and almond milk. Whisk until smooth. Add the date syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla extract and whisk again until smooth.
Fold in the dry ingredient until mostly combined and then add the shredded zucchini and mix again until everything is evenly mixed together.
Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish, spatula-ing the batter into the corners. Top with a few more chocolate chips.
Bake for 25 to 27 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.
Keep in an airtight container for a week. These are best when they are warmed up in a low oven with a little dollop of blueberry jam.
* If your almond butter is not as runny, I would recommend adding little more additional oil.