Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vegan Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies

On any given day, I can come up with a number of reasons NOT to bake:
  • I’m tired
  • I’d rather do something else
  • It’s too hot to turn on the oven
  • I’d have to go to the store to buy some ingredient
  • I’d have to stay up late to finish baking
  • I’d have to wake up early to photograph the final result

However, sometimes despite my best efforts, I cannot come up with a reasonable excuse. Sometimes there is a bowlful of very ripe fruit on the verge of going bad if I don’t act immediately. Sometimes I get hit with a craving so strong that nothing else seems as important as quickly satisfying the desire. Sometimes there is half a batch of frosting leftover from another recipe that is begging to be given a new canvas to rest on.

These Vegan Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies came to life one evening thanks to one very ripe avocado on the counter and half a batch of the Mint and Lime Buttercream Frosting that topped the very delicious and subtly boozy Mojito Cupcakes

Baking with avocado has been on my to-do list ever since I reviewed Cupcake Project's Avocado Lime Cupcake recipe when I first started reading food blogs. A chocolate avocado cupcake recipe founds its way to me and sat in my recipe box (Evernote) for many more months until a recent craving encouraged the purchase of a small bag of avocados from Trader Joes. Mentally, I set two aside for lunches (to mix up with quinoa and hummus and other yummy things) and two aside to experimentally bake some chocolate avocado… something!

I was all set to make the cupcakes I’d found and bookmarked, until a desire for chocolate ooey-gooey brownies knocked me over the head. A little research discovered a recipe for brownies utilizing avocado that also happened to be vegan.

It turns out, avocado doesn’t strongly affect the flavor of chocolate baked goods (I haven’t tried using it in the absence of avocado so I can’t speak for that yet), but because avocado has such a high percentage of fat, it functions very nicely in lieu of butter or shortening.

Another added bonus? These were made with whole-wheat flour! They're almost healthy!

Vegan Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies (recipe adapted from The Veggielogues):
Makes 12-16 servings
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ripe avocado, puréed
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 tablespoon canola or coconut oil
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking pan 
  • Melt chocolate with oil and set aside to cool
  • Puree avocado in a food processor until no chunks remain
  • In a medium bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until the cocoa powder is clump-free
  • Whisk the puréed avocado, almond milk, water, and vanilla extract until creamy 
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth
  • Fold in the cooled melted chocolate until evenly dispersed
  • Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Allow to cool before slicing

Optional, but highly recommended: Top with Mint and Lime Buttercream Frosting

Note: These keep their shape until you bite into one... then they crumble all over the place — eat over a plate

Fun Fact: This is how I photographed these brownies (trying desperately to utilize the natural light of the too rapidly setting sun). If you see this green backdrop again, you'll know...

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