I got two beautiful organic haas avocados in my CSA pickup last week. I really don’t like avocados and I wish I did. They’ve a lot of good nutrients in them, and all the fat is “good” fat! I’ve tried time and time again to enjoy them- to no avail. So upon getting them in my CSA pickup, I figured I’d just end up giving them away. Then I went to Whole Foods and found that if I had bought them there I would have paid $5.00 for the two I had. That’s one fifth of the cost of the entire pickup they were a part of! I knew I got a good deal, and the frugal, deal-seeking individual inside of me decided to find a way to enjoy them.
Google has all the answers, yes? I sometimes forget that. A tip in the comments of that post led me to look up avocado bread, and from there I learned something very interesting about this fruit …
Avocado can be used as a direct substitute for butter in any baked good!!!!
Seriously, friends, my mind has been BLOWN. This has opened up an entire realm of possibilities I couldn’t have imagined possible. I love to bake, and haven’t found a good excuse to do so until now. I had two avocados to make use of.
The first recipe I tried was one I found after some google searches: avocado zucchini bread. I had two (yellow) zucchini, and while I love them sauteed, I figured I could use them differently just this once. I followed the recipe almost exactly as it is written. The avocado was nice and ripe, so it was fairly easy to give it the texture of being pureed without too much effort. I used my little food processor to give it an extra boost, and it was good to go for the recipe. I didn’t measure the avocado, I just used a whole one.
As I have been out of my parent’s house for just a short two years at this point, I don’t have many options in the way of cooking appliances. I’ve been wandering the country too much to feel settled enough to buy most of the kitchenware that I’d prefer to have. Just a few weeks ago I finally bought some cookie sheets (to make kale chips), and during another recent trip I did buy a quality salad spinner. This day of baking made me sorely miss my mom’s Kitchenaid mixer; I got to mix EVERYTHING by hand for these baked goods.
A change I had no option to make was to bake the bread all in one bread pan, as that was all we have in the apartment. The recipe calls for two 7″ pans, the one I used was 10.5″ or maybe larger, I’m not quite sure. So I just put all the batter in it and was ready to reap the consequences …
The result was the bread taking well over an hour to cook all the way through, and even at the end when I decided I’d had enough, there were still parts of it that were probably a bit more juicy than they should have been, and the bread fell apart when I switched it to a plate to cool down.
However, I put it back together and let it sit and didn’t cut it or try any bit of it until the next day. Since it had been taken from the oven a bit more gooey, the texture of the bread now is wonderful and moist- just the way I like it. The bread is not very sweet at all, but there’s something about the texture of it for me that allows me to enjoy it just how it is, no extra butter or sweeteners necessary.
My next endeavor was chocolate chip cookies. And not a recipe that I found online that already called for avocado. I decided to be brave and try my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and just substitute an avocado for the cup of butter it calls for.
1 cup of butter (so, just one whole avocado, pureed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix (my “secret” ingredient)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour (can use whole wheat PASTRY flour if not white, or part wheat and part white)
1 tsp baking soda
12 oz chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet)
-preheat oven to 375 (280 or so if using avocado)
-beat butter (avocado), eggs, sugars, pudding mix, and vanilla in large bowl
-mix in flour and baking soda
-stir in chocolate chips
-drop by pieces on un-greased cookie sheets (un-greased still worked for me, even without the butter)
-bake 10 minutes or until golden brown (changed this for the avocado- baked at 280 for 17-20 minutes)
-cool on wire racks
How these cookies worked out, and some other observations:
First, the avocado I had left was nowhere near being ripe. This was a bit of an issue, but I was already all in, so I made do. I spent a good half hour (no kidding) getting it all out of the skin and then I used my food processor to chop it into the tiniest pieces possible, adding some olive oil to give it a hopefully pureed texture. I believe that is why the green chunks in the batter never went away. Luckily this misfortune did not ruin the recipe or change the flavor.
From what I read about baking avocado, you’re supposed to lower the baking temperature by 25% and bake the goods for longer. I couldn’t find an exact idea for how much longer, so I just kept checking on the cookies. Around 20 minutes they were baked all the way through, but they could have stayed a bit longer to get more browned if I had the patience. I think more experimenting could be done with this to up the baking temperature at least a little bit.
I used a vegan, dairy free instant vanilla pudding mix (simply because it is all I could find outside of the jell-o instant vanilla pudding that I’m used to using). I can’t say whether or not this changed the cookies; I just didn’t want to put all the nasty ingredients in the jell-o packet in my “healthy” cookies (or any others I make from now on).
I’m used to the “normal” recipe making the cookies spread out a tiny bit while baking, instead of staying in the same clumps I made while putting them on the cookie sheets. Perhaps I could have pressed them down a bit more when putting the batter on the sheets, just for aesthetics.
The consistency of the cookies is much more “cake-y” than this recipe typically is. I am attributing that to the avocado, based on what I’ve read about baking with it. The flavor was hardly sacrificed; if anything I think the different pudding mix I used made it a bit stronger of a vanilla flavor than I’m used to (I grew up eating these cookies!)
Those who I have offered the cookies to thus far have complimented me on them, the avocado seriously does nothing to sacrifice the taste!
To use the remainder of last week’s CSA pickup I have been roasting the potatoes with fresh garlic and thyme and salt and pepper. They have been SO tasty this way that I haven’t even felt the need to add parmesan to them like I intended! I have also slowly been making batches of collard green chips to snack on (add olive oil, garlic, and cayenne pepper (or salt and pepper), bake for 13 min or so at 350 degrees), because I don’t know what else to do with them and I don’t necessarily enjoy them. They’re good to have around for snacking like that because at least they get used.
Have you ever baked with avocado before? What recipes work best with them? Any creative ideas for the remainder of my collard greens?
I’m trying out a different CSA and I have a box being delivered to me tomorrow morning. I am so excited to see what I get and to try some more new recipes! Joining a CSA has so far been exactly what I wanted out of it- a cheaper alternative to fresh, local, organic produce, and a way for me to explore foods and recipes I wouldn’t typically try. What new foods or recipes have you been getting into recently?