Friday, April 19, 2013

Avocado: Secret Ingredient in Baking!

What does your plate look like? Do you need some ideas to modify it to improve the nutritional value? Let me give you some tips on how to replace butter, oils, creams with a super fruit, creamy avocado!

California Avocados are in-season April through September but are available all-year round. According to the California Avocado Commission, there are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs. Avocados naturally contain many of these vitamins in addition to minerals and "good" fat. One-fifth of an avocado has only 50 calories and includes these key vitamins, minerals and fats:
Monounsaturated fat.... helps to lower bad cholesterol and good replacement for saturated and trans fat
Vitamin K... plays a role in blood clotting, fat-soluble
Folate...promotes healthy cell and tissue development, water-soluble
Potassium...essential for proper function of cells, tissues and organs
Vitamin E... potent antioxidant, fat-soluble
Lutein.... helps to prevent eye disese and helps with maintenance of healthy skin
Magnesium... essential mineral for human nutrition
Vitamin C... antioxidant, required for growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body, water-soluble
Vitamin B6...helps the immune system produce antibodies, water-soluble

All of this in ONE food :-)

Simply reduce half the fat in your favorite baked dessert with equal amounts of fresh avocado and you will increase your fruit intake. By this simple substitution, you just obtained 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with healthy fats! Two tbsp. of avocado has only 50 calories and 2 tbsp. butter equals 204 calories. Re-think your fat!

The recipe for this delicious biscotti secretly uses California avocados as a substitute for butter.

California Avocado, Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Yields: 32 biscotti cookies
  • 11/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (healthy modification: half whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mashed ripe, fresh California avocado*
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (healthy modification: Stevia, sweetener extracted from a plant)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 Tbsp. low-fat milk
  1. In a small pan, combine cranberries and orange juice. Cover and bring to a boil . Remove from heat, stir in orange peel and let stand until ready to use.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice and sugar. Beat for 1 minute until smooth.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, to avocado mixture, beating well until blended. Add vanilla and beat until mixed in.
  5. With beater at medium speed, add flour mixture, one cup at a time, scraping down bowl after each cup. Beat until blended.
  6. Mix in cranberry-orange mixture and pistachio nuts by hand, blending well.
  7. Turn out dough onto lightly floured board. Divide mixture in half. Roll each half on board until lightly coated with flour; form into a 1/2-inch thick and 4-inch wide log. Brush top of each log with milk.
  8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Transfer logs to cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 35 minutes.
  9. Remove logs from oven and place on cooling rack . Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  10. Slice each log into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and arrange slices, cut side up. Bake in 300°F oven for 15 minutes. Turn each cookie over and bake additional 15 minutes; cool. Repeat process with remaining slices. Cool and store in airtight container.

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