Fresh Fridays
2008


lemons
lettuce

fresh figs
lettuce
lettuce

Batter Up:  

 Baking with Avocados   

  

Tasty, creamy California avocados are easy to find in supermarkets everywhere now. In addition to being a must-have ingredient for all kinds of salads and of course, guacamole, they work as a baking ingredient, too.  

 Avocado Tree

Since one of the objectives of the Mediterranean Diet is to lower your consumption of saturated fat, they're an important "healthy-eating food."  Over 75% of the fat in avocados is unsaturated, making them a fine substitute for ingredients high in saturated fat.  Try substituting the same amount of pureed avocado for the butter, oil, or shortening in your recipe.  

 

This healthy swap will help reduce your intake of cholesterol, fat, saturated fat and sodium. Studies show that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, while staying within calorie needs, is more effective in reducing the risk of heart disease than simply lowering total fat intake.  Additionally, the overall calories in a recipe can be reduced by substituting avocado for butter: Two tablespoons of avocado have 50 calories, two tablespoons of butter total 204 calories.

 

Here are two ways to test the power of avocados in baking. Reveal the secret ingredient after your friends and family have sampled these cookies.   

 

 

Avocado, Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti  

Serves 32 (Recipe yields 32 Biscotti) 

 

Make a batch of these delicious treats as a thank you gift. They're delicious with coffee or tea.

     

Ingredients

Avocado Biscotti

1 cups dried cranberries

⅓ cup fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

cup mashed ripe fresh avocado

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

⅔ cup shelled pistachios

1 tablespoon low-fat milk

 

Preparation 

Preheat the oven to 325F. Combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the orange peel, and let stand until ready to use. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

 

Combine the avocado, lemon juice, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat for 1 minute until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the avocado mixture, beating well until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. With the beater at medium speed, add the flour mixture, one cup at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat until blended.

 

Add the cranberry-orange mixture and the pistachio nuts by hand, blending well.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the mixture in half. Roll each half on the board until lightly coated with flour and form into logs, -inch thick and 4-inches wide.  Brush the top of each log with milk.  

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F. Remove the logs from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool for 20 minutes.

 

Slice each log into -inch thick slices. Place the cooling rack on a cookie sheet and arrange some slices on it, cut side up. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn each cookie over and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining slices. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

 

Tip: 1/4 cup mashed avocado is equivalent to approximately 1/4 of a large avocado. Use the remaining avocado for other recipes, or mash and store it in the freezer for future baking.

 

Nutritional Analysis: 

Calories: 90, Fat: 2g, Sodium 105mg, Carbohydrate: 17g, Protein: 2g 

 

Recipe courtesy of California Avocado Commission

 

 

Avocado Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies  

Serves 24 (Recipe yields 24 Cookies)            

 

These tasty cookies travel well and are an ideal picnic treat. If an electric mixer is unavailable, use a sturdy wooden spoon or spatula to add and mix the ingredients. 

   

Ingredients

Avocado Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

1 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

teaspoon baking powder

teaspoon baking soda

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature

cup packed dark brown sugar

cup sugar

1 egg

1 ripe, fresh avocado, peeled and seeded

1 cups raisins

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325F. Arrange the oats on a small baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and golden, about 20 minutes; cool. Turn the oven up to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil, shiny-side up. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together into a small bowl; set aside.


Cream the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually mix in the brown and white sugars, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, increase the speed to high, and beat until well mixed. Add the avocado to the bowl and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and mix in the flour mixture and the oats. Stir in the raisins. 

 

Use two level tablespoons of batter to form each cookie and place them about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheet. (The cookies will not spread.) Slightly flatten and shape each cookie into a 2 -inch round. Bake until browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Store in a covered container.

 

Tip: The dough can be prepared several days in advance, covered and refrigerated before it is formed and baked.   

 

Nutritional Analysis: 

Calories: 120, Fat: 5g, Sodium 45mg, Carbohydrate: 19g, Protein: 1g   

 

Recipe courtesy of the California Avocado Commission.

 
Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living.  We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.
    

 To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit our  

Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA) website