Musings with a side of Triple Choco-cado Brownies

How do you keep your everyday interesting? Sometimes I scroll through my Instagram feed and feel just a little bit jealous (okay, a LOT jealous) of how everybody else seems to be living such a charmed life. While I sit in an office six times a week from 9 to 6, the people on my feed are hiking up mountains to witness breathtaking sights, or taking scrolls along a beautiful forest path. As I scroll down and read the captions I begin to realize these people actually live in these lovely places. They probably see these sights everyday and yet they never fail to find new Instagrammable spots and objects.

I think it’s nice to wake up each day and be able to see things from a different light. I really admire the people who strive to look outside the box every single day. Those who have the ability to take one object and see its worth in more ways than meets the eye. It’s hard sometimes to see things other than how they appear, but I found that sometimes even the most ordinary things can surprise us if only we try and really take a good look at it. Tilt it one way to see another face of it. Move it under the light to see a different shade of it. It’s something we need to keep learning everyday: how to look and be able to see.

Many of the people on my feed seem to have a good grasp of this concept. They understand that life is dynamic and can be full of surprises as long as they keep an open mind. It’s no wonder their Instagram feeds are always bursting with enthusiasm for life. Maybe if I keep looking through their photos I will find inspiration to practice the same kind of open-mindedness. I have a tendency to zone in on something specific I perceive that I don’t let other thoughts leak in, so I can honestly say that I need to acquire this superpower. And the sooner the better.

Today I’m going to practice this habit on a fairly shallow level. Behold the avocado. It has more uses than just being a part of guacamole or this phenomenal Avocado Cake. You can also use it as a substitute for butter. You can use it to pretend that what you’re making is lower in fat and therefore maybe just a tad bit good for you.

“Low-fat” brownies, anyone?

In adapting baked goods to a “healthier” set of ingredients, I find that it’s always good to substitute only a certain amount rather than all of the “bad” ingredients away. In baking, butter or fat plays an ever important role in getting the texture of your cakes and bakes right, and to me texture is just as important as taste. Avocado contains some fat but of course it doesn’t quite work the same way as butter in keeping things nice and moist.

This recipe makes use of three types of chocolate, namely unsweetened, bittersweet, and cocoa powder. I used Malagos 65% for the bittersweet part of these babies and they came out tasting absolutely perfect in terms of depth and chocolatey-ness. Using a high-percentage chocolate also made them a little less sweet in my opinion. When I eat brownies I really go for those with deep dark cacao notes rather than the ones with a milk chocolatey sweetness. Now I know which chocolate I can turn to to achieve that in brownies.

In the case of these brownies, the most crucial mistake you can do is to overbake them, just as I did. It helps to under-bake these a little, in fact; to poke it with a toothpick or tester around the 25 minute mark to see if it comes away with some moist crumbs but feel just set inside. Remember that when you take them out of the oven they will continue to cook a little more before they completely cool down.

I had been making another recipe when my oven timer rang so I couldn’t get these out quickly enough. When they came out of the oven I had baked the brownies completely through so the moistness that would have been was sacrificed. Regardless, these tasted pretty phenomenal! They don’t have that same glorious decadence of a regular brownie but the chocolate hit is the same. 

Triple Choco-cado Brownies
Delicious brownies made with three types of chocolate plus avocado as a substitute for butter. It's best to under-bake these a little to keep them nice and fudgy.

Makes one 8x8-inch pan, or about 16 squares
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  1. 142 grams (5 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  2. 57 grams (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  3. 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut in half
  4. 57 grams (2 ounces) mashed avocado, from about 1/2 avocado
  5. 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  7. 1 ¼ cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) with a rack in the lower third. Line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposing sides so you can lift the brownies out easily once they're baked. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. 2. Place the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and the butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second bursts at about 50% power, stirring in between each burst, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the mashed avocado and cocoa powder, whisk until combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until combined. Add the warm chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Finally, stir in the flour with a rubber spatula just until incorporated.
  4. 4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake brownies for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Do not over bake or the brownies will be dry.
  5. 5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the brownies to cool completely. Use the foil to lift the brownies out of the pan. Slice into equal squares before serving.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated via Tracey's Culinary Adventures blog
Because I’m trying out a new photography style, I thought I’d do one of those page-from-a-magazine type of things where I place the recipe on one of my photographs. You know, just for fun. You can click on the photo below to open its full size.

To wrap up this post full of brownies and ruminations, here’s some food for thought from Abraham Lincoln:

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

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