Tuesday was Free Cone day at Ben & Jerry’s. It was also rainy and miserable here in New York City. I love free stuff. I love ice cream. And yet, I declined to attend this glorious occasion (see: rainy and miserable). I was sort of disappointed and seriously have been craving ice cream ever since. I could a. Continue to wallow and refuse to spend money on a scoop of deliciousness, b. Uh, go to Ben & Jerry’s or…
Holy Fake Out Batman! There’s a way to get my Chunky Monkey on for a fraction of the calories, price AND time?! Sorcery!
Ok, it’s not “magic food,” it’s bananas. More specifically, frozen bananas. Which always makes me think of George-Michael Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand.
So bananas tend to ripen and over-ripen rather quickly. If you live alone like I do, you end up with browned, bruised fruits that you absolutely must use to make muffins or bread because you live on sugar/waste nothing. Or, you decide to use your brain and your freezer, which is what this utterly brilliant blogger has done. Just in time for summer! This is also probably a great way to get your kids to eat more fruit, too. Tell them they’re eating ice cream. That’s right…LIE.
If you don’t feel like clicking over, all you have to do for two servings is puree three bananas in a blender until they’re smooth and start to resemble frozen yogurt/ice cream. Then, add your toppings. Smithfield recommends topping with heart-healthy walnuts and dark chocolate chips.
I’m but a small woman trying to conserve bananas for, um…my own frozen banana stand? For one serving, I pureed one banana with a touch of soy or regular milk. I’d suggest throwing in some blueberries and adding a bit of cinnamon to the finished product too.
Here’s what I created. The Smithfield version is much prettier, and I’m sure whoever made that bowl didn’t drop her glasses into her bowl in a fit of glee. Even that really didn’t stop me from polishing off this yummy creation and congratulating myself for eating healthy. I’m awesome.
Now, now, don’t get all offended. I said fellow weirdos, didn’t I?
The whole hernia thing has put me in a weird mood. Weird mood = weird food! Anyway, a little over a year ago, when I was a poor, bored, unemployed graduate student with a sad and random pantry, I came across a recipe on Glamour.com (it doesn’t appear to be on the site anymore, otherwise I’d link to it) for Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Avocado “Buttercream” Frosting. Why the quotation marks? Well, the recipe also happens to be vegan. And, I happened to have everything I needed in my sad and random pantry! My life’s EXCITING!
So, yes, it seems strange. And avocados are not exactly cheap. Still, if you’ve got the time, the curiosity, and some eager taste-testers (or you’re just willing to eat like two dozen cupcakes all by your lonesome, no judgment), they are absolutely worth it. They’re moist, rich and perfectly chocolate-y. Vegan and non-vegan friends and family loved them. Also, since the only fat in these babies are oil and avocado meat, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by scarfing a few down. Let’s get our folic acid consumption on, homies!
I know there are still some skeptics out there who aren’t fans of the fruit (It’s a fruit!), so let me say this: you don’t absolutely have to make the bright-green avocado icing. Since the avocados are used in the cupcake batter only as a binding agent in place of eggs and butter, and since the taste of avocados on their own is quite mild anyway, you won’t taste them at all in the finished cake. You will taste them in the frosting, though, and in my opinion, you should. Do it! Be weird! Get crazy!
What you’ll need for a dozen cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of avocado (usually the meat of half an avocado)
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 365°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, mash the avocado with a fork or your hands if you’re super angry and powerful.
Add to this wonderful gooey mixture your oil, water, vinegar and vanilla, then fold in the sugar until fully incorporated. Um…use a wooden spoon for this part. I used an electric hand mixer and now I’ve got a weird Kermit thing going on. Baking night is also now laundry night.
Add to dry mixture and whisk using a hand mixer or, again, get all up in there with that wooden spoon and start beating.
Now, it’s almost impossible to get a totally smooth mixture without a stand mixer or magic or Jesus at your disposal. Don’t be frightened by the tiny specs of avocado in the chocolate mixture. Pour what you’ve got into your cupcake tin, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.
While you wait, lick the bowl. No, really…lick the bowl! Since there are no eggs in this batter, it’s totally allowed. Tell your moms Shibow told you to lick the bowls, kids!
Or, instead of sitting around cleaning your baking dishes with your tongue, you could be productive and make some frosting. This recipe was cribbed from Alton Brown, ultimate food dork, and halved to frost a dozen cupcakes:
8 ounces of confectioner’s sugar
4 ounces of mashed avocado (the meat of one medium-sized avocado)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix the mashed avocado with the lemon juice, then add in the sugar in increments, beating after every few additions. When all sugar has been added and the mixture looks fairly smooth, mix in the vanilla. It should look a lil’ summin’ like this:
Your cupcakes should be just about done by now. Maybe they were done a little earlier, or maybe you forgot about them until your smoke alarm sounded and now you’re standing outside shivering in polar bear pajamas and hot firefighters are giving you the evil side-eye. This has never happened to me. Anyway, if you’re still inside and safe, and your cupcakes are cool, get frosting!