Let’s talk guilty pleasures, and for once, this isn’t about food (yet). Okay, I’ll just say it: I have a problem with reality TV. “A problem” in the addictive sense, that is. For instance, I jokingly started watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians when nothing else was on, and at some point my viewing crossed a line to…well, needing to actually keep up with the Kardashians. Trash TV like this puts me in a trance that I can’t fully explain…a calm, brain-dead trance, that keeps me coming back for more.
Naturally, this trance expands to food-centered reality TV as well, and my latest “problem” is Cupcake Wars. Here’s the gist: Four bakers compete to have their cupcakes displayed at a grand event (fashion show, broadway opening, hollywood party, etc.), and that event becomes the theme of the competition. The themes come with crazy ingredients too, like vegetables, spices and absinthe (that was just one time, but it made an impression on me), that the bakers need to transform into delicious cupcakes. Food blogger Baker Bettie decided to do her own spin-off of the TV contest, and with COOKIES, no less. I’m much better-versed in cookie experimentation than with cupcakes, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to try something risky and adventurous, and feel like I was actually IN Cupcake Wars. How cool, right? Of course, there would be no actual cupcakes, stressful time crunch, or $10,000 prize, but hey, bring it.
- 1 avocado
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 stick butter
- 8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped very fine
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Sure, some of these ingredients are unconventional, but fear not. Avocados, which are high in fat, easily replace half the butter in cookies, cakes, and muffins, and their creamy consistency brings a soft, rich, and moist result. Halving the cocoa powder and replacing it with melted dark chocolate deepens the flavor, and gives each cookie that crave-able fudge center. The finely chopped mint isn’t identifiable in the cookie’s texture, but even a small amount will infuse each bite with a brightness that’s important in an otherwise crazy-decadent mouthful. So, folks, I present to you the recipe for the Thin Mint’s softer, richer, and not-so-thin cousin.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
If your avocado is soft, mash the heck out of it with a fork. If your avocado needs some help, take out the food processor and blend until smooth. I had to go the processor route because my grocery store apparently refrigerated their avocados before putting them out for purchase. Tisk tisk. The avocado was ripe, just cold, so I knew I could work with it.
When your avocado is smooth, use a mixer to blend in the sugar until you have a creamy, vibrant mixture, like so…
Add the eggs and the vanilla, and mix until well incorporated. Set the mixture aside for a few minutes while you get the star of the show ready.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and top with a larger glass bowl so it fits in the pot, but doesn’t touch the water. A plastic bowl will not work well for this…I’ve been there, and it’s not a good place to be. Add the stick of butter and chopped chocolate, and stir with a fork until it melts into silky smoothness
Then mix the melted chocolate into the wet ingredients, taking care not to let any accidentally make its way into your mouth (do as I say, not as I do). You want to use a mixer to fully incorporate it, but let’s take a moment to appreciate how fun this looks…
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the chocolate avocado mixture. Blend in the mint and chocolate chips, and you’re ready to roll.
This dough is sticky, so you’ll have a much more attractive result, and less frustrating experience, if you refrigerate it for a half hour. While you’re waiting, cut some parchment paper to line your cookie sheet, and since that takes about 2 minutes, find something else to do for the remaining 28. After you’ve been patient and your dough has been chilled, take a hefty spoonful, roll it into a ball, and press down lightly with the palm of your hand. I experimented with sizes, and found that making a big, nearly golf-ball-sized cookie gave me the best results.
Bake for 9-10 minutes for golf-ball sized. You want these to be juuuuust set when you take them out.
Even as I created this recipe, I was a bit wary. I texted my mother, “I’m making a cookie that would horrify you,” not because I was seeking reassurance, but because I needed to admit my risky behavior to someone else. However, as soon as I took these out of the oven and split one in half, the deep, dark chocolate center caught my eye, and when I bit into it, things only got crazier. The cookie was fudgy and decadent, with a refreshing hint of mint. The avocado really ups the moistness factor, and the melted chocolate boosts the chocolate flavor to a level never even touched by cocoa powder alone.
I mean really. Look at that.
So go ahead and judge me for being a reality TV junkie. Or judge me for putting avocado and fresh mint into a cookie, because I don’t even care. After all, I’m the one sitting here enjoying a rich, intoxicatingly delicious cookie while watching the Kardashians do their oddly therapeutic thing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.