A Southern Grace: going green

December 1, 2014

going green


Ms. Hyde has become Dr. Jekyll once again...

It's experiment time.

Did you know that in some recipes, it's feasible to replace butter with avocado? I read that it was true, but I'm not easily convinced about such things. So, in an effort to test this, I found a basic, butter-containing muffin recipe and did three trials. In those respective trials, I replaced a)none, b)half, and c)all of the butter with avocado. The results were amazing and a little bit surprising.

Half the fat.
All avocado, all the time.

Texturally, the muffins made using all butter were only slightly more moist and cakey. Just a smidgen, seriously, but they did edge out the others. As far as appearance goes, the muffins made using all and half avocado were, well, a bit ragged. Plus, they were bespeckled with green, which may be off-putting to some. Points, again, to butter. The victory flavor-wise, though, goes to the avocado batch, hands-down. They were preferred by 100% of the people who tried them. (Disclaimer: My sample size was only 8 people, so you statisticians out there can take my results with a grain of salt.)

Forget you, avocado.
Split the difference.
Beat it, butter.

I liked the nuttiness the avocado contributed. Even the flecks of green didn't deter me from choosing them as my winner; in fact, I liked the way they looked. It made me feel like I was making a healthy choice, so I can definitely get past the teensy-tiny difference in crumb and mouthfeel. I'm thinking I might be experimenting with the avocado as a butter replacement more often, and I think you should, too! Shave off a little fat and a few calories here and you can feel free to have just one more piece of Christmas crack. (Okay, maybe two.)

Lean Green Applesauce Muffins
Makes 12
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup applesauce, homemade (using SweeTango apples, my current fave) or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly spray or line a muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
Combine the applesauce, sugars, mashed avocado, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
Fold in the nuts, then spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway.
Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is something I haven't tried yet (replacing butter by avocado). Your muffins look exquisite.



Amy (Savory Moments) said...

This is great, Grace! I have used avocado to make chocolate pudding and ice cream before, but have not used it in baking. Thanks for sharing your results! I'll have to give it a try.

Barbara said...

Well, I've read about it, but never tried the substitution. Kudos to you for doing the test. Must admit I'm surprised at the taste results. Don't know what I expected, and I think the green would put me off, but you can't deny your results.
I'm still too chicken to try it. Hah!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Never tried this, but I love avocado and almost always have one ready to use. The green wouldn't bother me at all. This sounds like a good way to get some more healthy fats in! :)

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I love avocados in desserts. I just made chocolate avocado pudding - posting in a couple of weeks. I would totally devour these muffins!

Carolyn Jung said...

What a great post! I love how you showed the different variations. I've never baked with avocado, but I bet it does add a wonderful richness and nuttiness. I think you've made us all converts now. ;)

Katerina said...

That must have been one fun experiment! Now you had me thinking!

Angie Schneider said...

I baked some kale/avocado bread buns the other day and I totally love the result. These muffins look perfectly dense, and moist. A great recipe, Grace.

Joanne said...

I have to admit, I do enjoy some avocado in baked goods...even that lovely shade of green appeals to me. :P

I Wilkerson said...

What a great experiment! We make guacamole regularly but I never even thought of baking with avocados. I am definitely going to try this!

Pam said...

I've never baked with avocado but it's a great idea. The muffins look tasty.

Marjie said...

You could have brought them here this weekend. I had a sample size of 17 to 22 for nearly a week!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That is so interesting! I'm going to experiment this weekend with some avocado baking too :D

Gloria Baker said...

Love these mufffins!! awesome Grace!!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

I love when experiments yield awesome results :D This looks delicious!

Choc Chip Uru

Juliana said...

I knew that avocado has a lot of fat, but never thought in substitute the fat in baking with it...great recipe Grace...and thank you so much for the inspiration.
Have a wonderful week :)

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Grace!
I'm thrilled to see this post for more reasons than you can imagine. You did such a wonderful job of comparing too. (something I didn't think to do, wish I had)

I've heard of using substituting avocado for butter since doing research on chaning my diet. I did use it for making thumbprint cookies and it worked out just fine. Now, I know it will work in muffins too!!! I'm so glad to know that!

I have a post planned for Sunday for a Brownie recipe that uses a "secret new ingredient". I can not wait to share it. I can just imagine YOUR excitement when you realized these muffins were going to get a huge star!!!

Thank you so much for sharing, Grace...I am so saving this post...

P.S. If you get a chance, pop by my Sunday post for the Brpwnies. I think you will be pleasntly pleased:)

PPS. I tried to leave a comment on your Hickory Farms recent post but comments are off. It just would be Christmas season without Hickory Farms nd their generosity:)

lisa is cooking said...

So interesting! I would have thought avocado would work ok but that butter would win for flavor. Now, I have to try it!

Lynda Olsen said...

I've seen recipes using avocado as a butter replacement but haven't tried it myself. Thanks for experimenting for me Grace!

The Sea Salt said...

So interesting! Thanks for doing that experiment!