I’m always eager to reduce fat, increase vitamins and minerals and raise the overall healthy nature of dessert recipes or family friendly snack. Let’s face it brownies, cookies and muffins are not exactly healthy and we all love them. This week I’m including a recipe for cake, muffins and cookies that all use a fruit or veggie to lower the fat content of the recipe. I often also throw in a bit of flaxseed or bran and no one notices. The secret fruit or vegetable ingredient adds moisture to the dish and makes you feel a whole lot better about serving a mid-week dessert. Let me know how you like them or what special ingredient you hide in your desserts. Email me at ekurtz@gourmetkoshercooking.com

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini CakeServes 8

  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry (if your kids will freak out from green specks in the brownies, peel the zucchini first)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour-cocoa mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes (the batter will be thick). Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Spread over the cake, and then cut into pieces.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip MuffinsMakes 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, wheat germ or bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (use regular salt)
  • 1 cup of pure pumpkin (canned pure pumpkin)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 1% lowfat milk or soymilk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Whisk together the flours, ground flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes. Remove the muffins and cool an additional 5 minutes before serving. When making 12 full-size muffins, bake for 20 to 23 minutes.

Going Bananas Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Going Bananas Chocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesMakes 2 dozen

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted margarine
  • 1 cup packed light browns sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mashed banana (1 small banana)
  • 2-cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wish flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer, cream the margarine and brown sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Mix in the banana and ¼ cup water, beating until incorporated. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix or fold in. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Grease a cookie sheet or use a silpat mat and spoon about 1 ½ inch ball of dough about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Cool and transfer to a wire rack.