With all the chocolate sweets running around this weekend, I thought I would share something rich and intensely flavourful that isn’t chocked full of sugar and chemicals. I promise you will not need to eat the whole thing to feel you have had your chocolate fix.
This recipe came out of a recent trip to a restaurant food show. Samples were being offered of an avocado brownie that was dry, sandy and totally unappealing. The friend I was with owns a restaurant and is always looking for ideas for her dessert menu. We both knew there had to be a better way.
Avocados are a source of lutein making them great for your eyes. Lutein is a carotenoid and eating them together with other fruits and vegetables will help you get higher levels of the available nutrients into your body. (Maybe I should have added some cauliflower puree?) Because avocados are high in good fats, they do not have a glycemic index number and will not spike your blood sugars.
“Fruit of the Kings” was the name given by the Aztecs to the avocado and like chocolate it was reserved for royalty and considered a powerful aphrodisiac and fertility fruit. So powerful, that it was said virgin daughters were kept indoors during harvesting time. “Ahutacatl” is the Nahuati name for an avocado and translates as testicle. In the 1800’s a successful campaign was launched to alter the image of the avocado so that growers could expand their reach into the more conservative appearing Victorian era markets. No longer would one be considered without virtue if seen buying or eating an avocado! But the connection to enticing, exotic, stimulating things remains today. Between the avocado and the chocolate, this is definitely the recipe for Beltane evening.
You will need:
1/2 cup sugar
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I was out of chips so hit my chocolate making supplies & chopped a bit off)
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup hazelnut meal (Other options – almond, walnut etc. I had hazelnuts on hand)
1/2 tsp salt (I used a sea salt)
1 tsp rum extract
zest of half a large orange
1 ripe avocados, mashed smooth
Deep cleansing breath …..”Time for me and time to play, thank you for this sunny day. From the Earth, filled full with life, I thank Ouranus`s wife`. As we move again closer to April 22 and the celebrating of Earth Day, it is always good to remember with gratitude the bounty and benefits we receive through Gaia.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To stop the avocado from browning, gather all your ingredients before hand. This will reduce the time it is exposed to air before being incorporated into the batter.
Melt the chocolate over simmering water or in the microwave with short bursts of 15 seconds, stirring well in between. Put aside.
Zest the orange. I have tried this recipe with and without the orange zest and salt. Adding both gives a depth and intensity of flavour otherwise missing. You will not get a strong orange taste just an enhancement of the richness of the chocolately flavour.
For future reference you can hasten the ripening of an avocado by popping it in a brown paper bag with an apple. The gases the apple gives off will help the avocado along.
Cut the ripe avocado in half and scoop the insides into a large measuring cup or something similar. I used a large avocado which probably had 50% more flesh than a normal one. If you are doing the same you might want to add a couple more tablespoons of nut meal. Not a requirement but it will give you a little more body to the finished product. The avocado will give your brownies a lot of moisture. So expect a smooth creamy ( except for the odd piece of ground hazelnut ) product, not the more chewy variety.
Mash or beat the avocado until smooth. Make sure all the chunky bits have been squashed. Although great for guacamole, not so good in brownies.
Beat the eggs until fluffy and add the sugar, continuing to beat until you have a thick light lemony coloured mixture.
Now that all your ingredients including cocoa, ground nuts, salt and rum are ready, combine into one bowl and mix well either by hand or with a hand mixer. As you beat the volume will appear to increase and it is actually. It will also decease after baking.
There are two baking options. I have baked these in a 8×8 inch pan and also in a loaf pan. The 8×8 will give you thinner brownies like in the picture below and the loaf pan will give you brownies with twice the thickness that can then be cut into smaller pieces. Now either way know that the volume you have is not the finished height. These will shrink in size by about half when they come out of the oven and cool. You have done nothing wrong, it is the nature of the recipe.
Pour into an ungreased form and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.The length of time will be determined by the size of the avocado and the size of the eggs.
Allow to cool and this is important. Chocolate chip cookies are best just out of the oven. The flavour in these brownies still has some maturing to do so allow them at least an hour if not two before serving. Storing them in the fridge will give you a longer shelf life if needed.
Moist, rich and intense, now where is that bonfire?
Avocado Brownies with Orange, Rum & Hazelnuts from My Kitchen Wand