When I was in my early twenties I went through a period for a few years where I was convinced that the month of October was guaranteed to suck. Bad break-ups, car accidents, work troubles it always seemed to hit me during the early Fall. I had completely forgotten about this superstitious little tendancy I had until September started. How can I say this? The month has been shitty and seems to be getting worse everyday. I’m hoping to turn things around and be more positive than my twenty something self but things have been a bit rough around here.
Picture this scene from Sunday morning. I woke up early to go pick up my son at a track workout and I figured I would take the dog with me and get her walk in at the same time. We get there and there is a huge crowd gathering for a soccer game so me and my dog stay on the outskirts and wait for Ben and get our business done. Suddenly she sees my son and our friend walking towards us and starts getting excited. I should mention that my friend Erin was with my son and she is my dog’s favorite person in the whole world. I tell her to sit and all seems well, then out of nowhere she takes off running with me dragging behind her. I momentarily get airborne and see the disaster that is about to happen but there is no way to stop it. I come crashing down to the ground, yelling and moaning and suddenly people are everywhere asking if I need an ambulance. All I can think is that I must have looked pretty spectacular flying through the air if I was able to attract so much attention. I shouldn’t complain, it could have been much worse. I have some very sore ribs, a scraped palm, some great road rash on my knees and one shattered cell phone.
What is it about making a fool of yourself in public? I know that everyone has the best intentions and only want to help but all you want to do is get as far removed from the situation as possible and lick your wounds in private. The worst part of the whole experience is the realization that my dog didn’t show a minute of remorse or concern for me as I lay sprawled out on the pavement. Does that mean she is stupid or just so self-absorbed she just doesn’t care? I know it’s ridiculous to worry that your dog doesn’t love you but don’t we all want someone to love us unconditionally? I thought I could at least count on her for that, but now I’m not so sure.
Well they say that everything that ails you can be solved with chocolate so I’m going to run with that idea. As I mentioned before we are struggling with a variety of food allergies so I took one of my favorite brownie recipes and created a vegan version. The secret to vegan baking is finding a good substitute for eggs. The flax egg is hard to beat but I am a huge advocate of refrigerating the mixture for 30 minutes before using. It helps gel and thicken the mixture so you’ll get a lot more lift and a lighter texture to your baked goods. The addition of finely shredded zucchini adds extra moisture and allows you to reduce the amount of oil you need to use. These brownies are moist and full of deep chocolate flavor. I’ve made several batches test batches and they have never lasted a full day. Dessert is going to have to homemade for the immediate future so prepare for some more vegan treats coming your way!
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1 cup spelt flour (regular pastry flour, or all-purpose flour)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (you can use an equal amount of vanilla bean paste if you have it)
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- 1½ cups dark chocolate chips
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center of the oven.
- Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper allowing the edges to drape over the pan for easy removal. Lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.
- To make the flax egg combine the 2 tablespoons of flax meal with the water and place in the refrigerator. Let sit for 20-30 minutes to gel slightly while you prepare the dry ingredients. You can pop this mixture in the fridge the night before so you don't have to wait, the mixture will keep for up to a week.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl
- Add the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, zucchini and the flax egg to a large bowl and stir well to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir well until you get a nice batter consistency.
- Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix to incorporate.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the brownies at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center is just set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out relatively clean. While the brownies are still warm sprinkle with the sea salt.
- Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing.