What’s that, you say? Avocado for butter? In baking? Like, baking cookies? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
The idea seemed a little ridiculous to me when I first heard about it too. In fact, all I could think about was one word: green.
But I had to try it. I mean, avocado may still be a fat, but it’s a very healthy fat, and the amount of fat per tablespoon is considerably less than butter, not to mention the caloric difference.
1 Tbsp Butter: 102 calories | 11.56 g fat
1 Tbsp Avocado: 15 calories | 1.3 g fat
So if the two can be used interchangeably, that opens a lot of possibilities for a) my blog, and b) my tummy.
Cookies, brownies, cakes, oh my!
My sister-in-law brought this idea to me after trying it a couple of times with some pretty good success. Her husband needs a gluten free diet, so she was experimenting with unique ingredients. But none of them turned out green.
While I was visiting her, she suggested we make gluten free chocolate chip cookies, swapping an equal measurement of avocado for the butter called for in the recipe. I was very skeptical when the batter had a dark green color…kind of like newborn baby poop.
I probably shouldn’t say that.
The weird thing: they didn’t turn out green at all. In fact, the cookies were surprisingly moist, and I couldn’t taste the avocado specifically. But they did taste different, and the consistency wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t tell if that was the avocado or the gluten-free flour.
So I invited my friend over around Christmas to try making sugar cookies with avocado. She has a daughter almost exactly Ginny’s age and we thought making Christmas cookies with the girls would be fun.
Oh my goodness, that was a challenge. The girls really didn’t have the attention span for that big a project. I think they spent more time fighting over the baby doll bottle and stroller than anything, but it was so fun watching them stamp out the Christmas shapes with the cookie cutters and dump sprinkles all over the frosting (which subsequently ended up all over the kitchen). Totally worth it.
The thing is, with a cookie like a sugar cookie, the butter is really part of the taste. It’s a buttery cookie, like shortbread, for example. So I don’t think the avocado swap worked very well. I could taste the avocado, and it clashed with the peppermint frosting we used.
The cookies had a slightly green tint, but since they were Christmas cookies, that wasn’t a problem. Once frosted, the color wasn’t noticeable anyway.
So we basically made healthy, pretty cookies that tasted a little funny. I will say, Ginny loved them and asked for them all time, and I felt great giving them to her, so that was a plus.
I suspected that the trick really involved combining avocado with chocolate, since the gluten free chocolate chip cookies didn’t taste like avocado. So recently, I took a brownie mix and gave this another try. I used ⅓ cup of avocado instead of ⅓ cup of butter called for. And…
Success! The brownies tasted great, and they were brown! No avocado aftertaste. They were moist. They were good. They were just what a brownie should be…without nearly as much fat!
Conclusions: using avocado instead of butter can be done, but not for every baking recipe. Chocolate and avocado pair well together, so I think it’s safe to say that the swap can be made for most baking recipes that include chocolate. Maybe that’s because there is just enough butter in the chocolate itself to make the magic work. I’m not sure. But I do recommend giving this a go.
Just try not to get freaked out by the batter color.