Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Triple Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Did you know that, besides their beguiling shape, texture, and flavor, avocados are technically a fruit? In 1970s America it was chic to have avocado green kitchen appliances. Nothing can erase my memories of ovens and refrigerators the color of rotting peas. As much reverence as I have for the avocado, it does not translate well to appliances. Or shag carpet for that matter. Then there were the times I tried in vain to grow my own avocado tree by sticking toothpicks into the seed and placing it carefully over a jar of water. Has anyone ever had success with that? I have a friend from Tanzania who recalls eating avocados by the dozen, right off the tree. She warned that this is not necessarily a diet friendly approach.

But unless you sit down to avocados for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get fat eating them. What’s more, the number of reasons to include avocados as part of your regular diet far outweighs the risk of putting on pounds. Avocados contain unsaturated fat, also known as the good fat. It is believed that this type of fat helps to activate the part of your brain that makes you feel full. Alas, a feeling we don’t get with French fries. Avocados also contain folic acid, fiber, and an antioxidant that is believed to protect against eye disease.

Apart from the ubiquitous guacamole, there are myriad ways to incorporate this wonder fruit into your kitchen. Dessert, for example. It might seem strange, but it really works. Avocados make for a killer chocolate mousse. The fact is they marry extremely well with chocolate, as evidenced by Triple Chocolate Avocado Brownies.

These brownies are worth every second of the miniscule effort to make them. I was somewhat apprehensive about the texture of the finished product since, compared with traditional recipes, the amount of fat and sugar is significantly reduced. But I was pleasantly surprised. While slightly more cakey, they are still moist and soft. The gooeyness factor is minimized, but I didn’t miss it. I actually enjoy that they are sweet but not cloyingly so, another feature of the usual culprit. That they are sort of a health food doesn’t hurt, either. My 4-year old wouldn’t touch an avocado to save his life, but he was crazy about the brownies. Did I mention they contain Nutella?

Triple Chocolate Avocado Brownies
Adapted from Tastes Better with Friends


1/4c / 60g unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2c / 115g brown sugar
1 egg
2 ripe, mashed avocados
1/3c / 75g Nutella
1c / 225g flour
1/4c / 60g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1t / 10g baking powder
1t / 10g sea salt
1t / 10g vanilla extract
1/4c / 60g chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1/4c / 60g sliced, toasted almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a 20 or 23cm baking dish.

2. Beat the butter and sugar well.

3. Add the egg, avocados, and Nutella. Beat well.

4. Sift and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and beat again.

5. Gently stir in the vanilla, almonds, and chocolate chips.

6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Depending on your oven, you might need to undercook slightly or bake for an additional 5 minutes. Check after 20 minutes.

7. Cool for 15-20 minutes and cut into squares.