Mick Telkamp
Zucchini adds weight, texture and a little nutritional value to chocolate cookies.

Healthful cookies? Well, there’s no denying these decadent treats are full of sugar, butter and chocolate. But lurking inside is a little burst of nutrition. High in potassium, vitamin A, calcium and fiber, zucchini is good for the heart, bones and eyes and is a powerful disease fighter. And your kids couldn’t care less.

Hiding vegetables to sneak them into kids’ diets is nothing new. Pureed in pasta sauce, baked into muffins or blended into smoothies, nutrition is where you get it. As far as hiding places go, cookies are tough to beat, especially when full of irresistible chocolatey goodness. Duping your kids into eating their vegetables, even in small doses, is extra delicious.

The zucchini may be hard to detect, which is possibly the point, but its value here goes beyond nutritional chicanery. This veggie sleight-of-hand actually makes these cookies better. Although the subtle flavor of zucchini is buried completely, the texture is not. That’s a very good thing. Adding weight and a touch of complexity to the batter, the fudgy cookie becomes fudgier. Not bad for produce better known as a dietary aid than dessert.

When I sprung these on my young niece, she dug right into the brownie-like cookies. I waited a few bites, then revealed it was full of shredded zucchini. She cut her eyes and looked at me for a long beat.

“Zucchini? That’s just weird,” she said in a deadpan voice. Then she took another bite. “Well,” she concluded, “it’s good anyway.”

High praise indeed for the cookie with a crispy crust, gooey center and a hidden nutritional agenda. They certainly don’t qualify as health food, but every little bit helps.

Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2  sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for sprinkling)

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and 2 cups sugar in mixing bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time.

Add zucchini and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients and mix to fully combine.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 16 minutes.

Allow to cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: About 3 dozen

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