Oh why the hell not…let’s bake desserts avocado already.
This recent article in Lifehacker with it’s claims of replacing some, perhaps all, of the butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado sounded awfully vegan to me, even if by pure accident. Though not a fan of cooked avocado, I was intrigued and went along with sacrificing a perfectly ripe and tasty Haas in the name of vegan baking science. On a 91 degree day no less.
But here I am surrounded by chewy, moist, surprisingly almost-normal oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that to an uniformed eater seem like solidly good afternoon nibbles, perfect with coffee or the prize at the bottom of a brown bag lunch.
So what is different about these? Well, I didn’t color correct my photo very much, in hopes to preserve their semi-greenish, light olive hue. Unlike the claims in the LH article the addition of a heafty amount of brown sugar didn’t totally offset the mild green color.
And the taste? They taste good. They taste like brown-sugary, vanilla-laced cookies (besides the obvious nuts and chocolate bits), but with a mysterious avocado-like aftertaste. My husband claims he couldn’t (or just barely after another, cooled off cookie) taste it, but I picked up on it right away and it’s actually pleasant, even with my bias against cooked avocado. The flavor is faintly vegetal, nutty, creamy, and earthy all at once, without any of the fruity sweetness that other reduced-fat baked goods sometimes have. If I hadn’t had known and been served these myself, maybe I would have wondered why these seemingly pistachio-paste cookies taste like avocado.
The greatest victory of these “guakies” or “gamma cookies” as a few friends have dubbed them (but I’ll call them chipacados, thanks) is the the excellent texture. If you’ve ever substitued applesauce or prunes in cookies to the end dissapointment of cakey, overly-damp cookies, I understand if you’re less than thrilled at the idea of avocado used in place of fat. However, the resulting texture of these cookies was dense, moist and super chewy without that telltale low-fat cakey texture. As they continue to cool, they become fairly study, avocado strangeness considered.
So are these low-fat? Probably not. These are still cookies. Lots of sugar, nuts, and chocolate should keep you pacing youselves and not turn an entire batch into lunch. But if the idea of offbeat baked goods with slightly less fat and a pleasing chewy texture sound intriguing, then maybe a little ‘cado is what the cookie doctor ordered.
Oatmeal Chipacado Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
For best results use an avocado that’s just turned ripe. You want the flesh to be firm and bright green with little or no brown striations, which can add bitterness. If you’re feeling lazy, squish the avocado halves in your hands directly into the mixing bowl, instead of bothering with mashing them in a seperate bowl first.
The flavor and texture of these cookies improves as they cool, so do try and leave them alone for at least 15 minutes after baking.
- ⅓ cup vanilla almond milk
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 cup mashed, ripe avocado (about 1 large Haas avocado)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray (the dough is stickier than regular cookie dough and needs a little extra grease).
In a glass measuring cup whisk together the almond milk and ground flax seed and set aside for 3 minutes. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl using electric beaters beat together the mashed avocado and both sugars until creamy and as smooth as possible. Beat in the flax seed almond milk mixture and vanilla extract, then sift in the baking soda, salt, and flour until combined.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in the oats, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans or walnuts and make a thick dough. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough into balls on to the sheet about 2 inches apart, and gently flatten the dough balls with lightly moistened fingers. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden and browned on the bottom. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then use a spatula to carefully transfer (cookies will be fragile) to cooling racks to completely cool. Store loosely covered.