Going ‘green’ with an invisible ingredient

I’d read the recipes, been intrigued by the videos and even heard out the positive proclamations by a co-worker, but there was still no real way I could be sure that any avocado, of any kind, could be turned into chocolate pudding.

A chocolate-y paste maybe, but certainly nothing to match the chocolate puddings I’d known and loved…those rainy Saturdays and a box of pudding mix, swirled with milk and cooked to thickness on the stove, doling it out into individual dishes to chill until spoons could be plunged through cocoa skins, and, until then, licking every last bit of the warm pudding from the saucepan to get that first taste.

No, no…an avocado blitzed in the blender with sugar and cocoa and coconut milk might make an OK and slightly  healthier (“healthy fat”) dessert of some kind. But a pudding, it was not. Puddings involved milk or cream, eggs and butter.

Still, curiosity had me on a quest to validate my own doubts. Lucky to find large avocados at a good price. Why not give it a go? I’d eat it, even though I was a bit avocado-wary since a bad avocado a few years earlier ruined a batch of black bean salad. My confidence in selecting avocados had dissolved ever since. I didn’t even try. I sent someone else to get the avocados or I avoided them altogether.

But I moved through my fears and picked some up anyway, making sure they were very firm and committing to using them right away to avoid any spoilage.

Outside of the avocado, the pudding required few ingredients, and certainly nothing I didn’t already have on hand — cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon coconut milk (or any nut milk) and vanilla extract. I decided to add a pinch of salt and espresso powder, as well.

All these elements were gathered in a blender. All that green…I’ll admit, it did not look promising. But, what the heck…

Oh my goodness…it was quite thick, so I added a bit more nut milk, but as it blitzed together in the blender, it turned into the glossiest chocolate concoction I’d seen.

I took it upon myself to taste, still not expecting too much. Whoa! If I didn’t know better, this pudding came from cream, eggs and butter. It was rich! It was chocolate-y! It was decadently creamy! It had no hint of avocado!

Enjoying it chilled later that evening, I could not believe it. I still could not believe, but willing to lap it up, in the subsequent makings of it, either. I was not going to fight it, of course, whipping up something so deliciously decadent from a few ingredients in a few minutes with no cooking and….”healthy fat”!

It got me wondering, though, of other chocolate possibilities made rich and smooth with avocado. The soft, fatty denseness of avocado (as well as its mild flavor) had a wide array of possibilities in any number of things. A recent bonus of four of these fruits in my box from Larry’s Produce convinced me to take another stab at a different treat — brownies!

This recipe required a few more things, but nothing too crazy, outside of almond flour (making these somewhat low-carb), brown sugar substitute (which I found a little bitter, so I mixed it with regular brown sugar), as well as some baking powder, a little butter (far less than your average brownie recipe), cocoa, chocolate chips and I added some salt, coffee and some nuts, too.

I took one misstep in following the recipe by mixing the brown sugar with the other dry ingredients (it was supposed to be blended with the wet), but I forged ahead…it was all going to end up in the same bowl, anyway.

I blended the avocado, eggs, melted butter and some vanilla together and then added this to the bowl of dry ingredients. It formed a thick batter. I added a splash of hot coffee to the mix (couldn’t resist).

To this I folded in some chocolate chips and some nuts.

I got the batter spread into a parchment lined square baking pan that had also been doused with baking spray. More chocolate chips were scattered over the top.

The finished baked brownies smelled and looked great, glossy and densely fudge-y.

Here again, the avocado — and the recipe — did not fail me. Why am I so suspicious of trying something different? These brownies, while dense, were also incredibly smooth (not sugary) and slightly soft, not in an underdone way, but in that perfect texture that melts in the mouth and doesn’t leave grit or goo. These simple brownies, coming from a slightly healthier source, were very satisfying. Any chocolate lover would be pleased. And if you didn’t tell them, they would never know the green within.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Adapted from https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/234324/chocolate-avocado-pudding/

Serves 2

2 large avocados – peeled, pitted, and cubed

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground espresso powder
  • 1 pinch salt

Blend avocados, cocoa powder, brown sugar, coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate pudding until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Adapted from https://kirbiecravings.com/keto-avocado-brownies/

  • 150 gram avocado flesh (approximately 1 large avocado peeled and seed removed)
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar alternative (or a mix or all regular brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup superfine almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large pinch of sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the interior of a nonstick 8 x 8 inch baking pan with cooking oil spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. 

Pour dry ingredients into avocado batter. Pulse on low speed until the batter is smooth and uniform. You will need to scrape the batter from the sides and bottom of the food processor a few times, to help make sure the avocado is fully blended into the chocolate (you can also combine ingredients in a large bowl and stir by hand).

Make sure avocado is fully blended into chocolate, otherwise you will taste the avocado in the brownies.

Stir in 4 tbsp of the chopped chocolate and nuts.

Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Batter will be very thick (like a mousse consistency) so you will need to use a spatula to spread it evenly across the baking pan.

Sprinkle remaining chocolate over surface.Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until brownies are done. When you touch the surface of the brownies lightly with your finger, it should bounce back. Allow brownies to cool for few minutes before cutting.

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