Before I became a food allergy mom, I always bake snack treats for my children. It's my sneaky way of making sure the kids especially Child #2 eat vegetables and fruits. The zucchini bars or Z bars as we call it, are a staple in their lunch bag. The original recipe that I developed for these bars is loaded with fresh veggies, applesauce and has reduced amount of sugar. Something that makes me smile every time they ask for another slice. (wink, wink)
When we started to convert to a gluten free lifestyle and eliminate the food allergens of the kids, I spent a lot of time researching and trying flour combinations to recreate these Z bars. Unlike carrots or apples, I found out that zucchini tends to be less forgiving and temperamental if prepared without eggs and wheat.
After some or should I say many trial and error baking sessions, I finally came up with this new Z bars. This recipe produces a very moist cake-like texture making it really addictive. It is not very sweet so it's fine kick it up a notch by serving it with some frosting or even buttery spread. If you are able to get young fresh zucchini, you can use it with the skin on. Otherwise, I suggest peeling some of the skin off because it will leave a bitter after taste.
Give this recipe a try, you can even use it for a birthday cake. I'm pretty sure your family will love it as much as we do.
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. flax meal
9 Tbs. lukewarm water
2 1/4 cups grated zucchini
2 1/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Mix (see it here)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly grease with oil.
2. Make flax goo by combining flax meal and water in a small bowl. Set aside for at least 5 minutes before using.
3. In a big bowl, whisk gluten free flour mix, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg.
4. Using a mixer, cream the oil, sugar and flax goo for about 2 minutes or until well incorporated.
5. Then add the vanilla extract and zucchini.
6. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the flour mixture. Don't over mix.
7. Pour the batter on the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 50 - 70 minutes. The bars are done when a toothpick is inserted in the middle of the pan it comes out clean.
8. Move the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely before cutting and frosting.