Healthy Courgette and Hazelnuts Brownies
These indulgent and delicious Vegan Brownies have the perfect fudgy balance between chewiness and gooiness, with a rich chocolate flavour that leaves you craving for more. You’ll have a hard time believing these brownies are sugar free, oil-butter free and made with a Courgette. I promise that you will not even think about the Courgette or miss the sugar, oil or butter.
1 Tbsp of ground Flaxseeds
3Tbsp of filtered Water
100 gr of Hazelnuts
80 gr of dark Chocolate (min 70%)
160 gr of pitted dates (8-12 Dates)
200 gr of grated Courgette
50 ml of espresso coffee shot (or decaf)
30 gr of dark Chocolate Chips (to be folded in)
90 gr of Wholemeal Flour, Spelt or Gluten free
50 gr of ground Almond
30 gr Cocoa powder
1 tsp of Baking powder
1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
1 handful of Hazelnuts
1 handful of dark Chocolate Chips
About this recipe
Courgettes are truly in season now so if you grow them you are about to be swarmed and may feel a bit overwhelmed. I make it my mission to use Courgettes as much as possible. In my research I’ve come across a few vegan recipes of Courgette brownies but they all use sugar and oil or butter. After a few too many attempts I think I’ve reached the right balance now and come up with a recipe that doesn’t use oil, butter or sugar. Instead oil or butter I’m using a Hazelnut butter. I did my own Hazelnut butter here but if you don’t have a blender or are short with time then use store bought Almond butter or other Nut butter, I would avoid Peanut butter due to its strong flavour but it also works. The Flax egg helps to bind the ingredients together while the Dates add sweetness and create a gooey, chewy texture. The Courgettes bring moisture and their texture helps to keep the ingredients together too but I promise you will not even remember they are there. It’s a great way to include more veggies in your kids belly disguised as a naughty dessert. The coffee accentuates the natural flavour of Chocolate and also adds extra moisture. You can use decaffeinated instead and get the same taste. The most important ingredient in this Brownie is the Chocolate so you need to get the best dark Chocolate you can get or afford. Life is too short for bad Chocolate. These are the ultimate decadent Brownies and you will never think they are healthy!
Step 4 – To the melted Chocolate add the Flaxseed mixture, Hazelnut butter with the Dates, and Coffee shot. Mix and fold with a spatula until well combined.
About the Ingredients
Ground Flaxseeds: I grind my Flaxseeds (also called Linseeds) at home but you can also use Flaxseed meal or Milled Flaxseeds. When mixing ground Flaxseeds with water and letting it rest for 10-15 min it will transform into an almost eggy consistency. You can use in any recipe to replace eggs because it helps to bind all the other ingredients together. I normally use a ratio of 1:2.5 so 1 Tbsp of ground Flaxseeds to 2.5 Tbsp of water but here I’m using 1:3 as I want it a bit more moist.
Hazelnuts: You can use Almonds, Walnuts or any other nut you like. I adore Hazelnuts and they’re my favourite combination with chocolate. If you are in a rush you can also substitute with Almond butter or any other nut butter you have at home. Choose a fatty nut as this is our only source of fat in this recipe.
Dark Chocolate: Choose a good quality dairy free dark Chocolate min 70%, I’m using a 75% dark Chocolate. This is the most important ingredient and can make or break your Brownie. Dark chocolate typically contains some sugar but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate the less sugar it will contain. Dark chocolate is loaded with polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, among others. According to research, the polyphenols in dark chocolate may help lower some forms of LDL cholesterol when combined with other foods like almonds and cocoa.
Dates: I’m using Medjoul Dates, mine are quite big so 8 are enough. Dates come in many sizes and that is the reason I gave the amount in gr. If you have a sweet tooth or your chocolate is very bitter you can increase the amount a little bit. If your Dates are hard, soak them in boiling water for 20 mins before blending. Dates are a fantastic and healthier substitute for sugar. Have a look at the research – are dates good for you
Grated Courgette: Courgettes are super healthy. They add moisture and extra structure. They also help make our brownies gooey and rich because we aren’t using butter or oil.
Expresso coffee shot: I love the combination of Coffee and Chocolate and think they are made to be together. If you are doing this brownie for little people or for a dinner party then use decaffeinated. If you are using Instant coffee make it strong and keep it short 50-60ml too. I think an espresso works really well.
Dark Chocolate chips: I’m using dairy free 70% dark Chocolate Chips and as with the other Dark Cholate for this recipe, choose a good quality one because life is too short for bad Chocolate.
Wholemeal Flour: You can substitute with other flours such as White, Spelt or gluten free and you will get different textures and results but shouldn’t vary too much. I’m using wholemeal Flour as it contains significant amounts of fibre as well as several vitamins and minerals, including selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate.
Ground Almonds: They are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fibre, protein, and various important nutrients plus they also add moisture and healthy fats to our Brownies. I’m using pre-ground Almonds but if you grind them at home bring them to a fine flour but be careful not to let them form into a butter.
Cocoa powder: I’m using organic Cocoa powder and I prefer Dutch process powder. If you have the latter omit the Baking Soda. You’ve probably seen natural cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa powder and cacao powder and like me, wondered what the difference was among these three ingredients. Natural cocoa powder is extracted from beans that have been roasted at high temperatures to remove much of the bitterness. Dutch-process cocoa powder is made much the same but the beans are treated with alkali, which neutralizes their natural astringency, giving them and the resulting powder a darker colour. For this reason, many recipes that specify natural cocoa powder also include baking soda, which has alkaline qualities that balance the cocoa’s acidity.