First, let’s address the elephant in the room: the avocado. At first glance, using avocado in a brownie recipe may seem outlandish. But you’d be surprised how well mashed avocado substitutes for more traditional fat sources in baked goods. Thanks to its buttery texture and healthy fat content, avocado can be substituted with butter or coconut oil in a one-to-one ratio. Note that to accommodate avocados’ higher water content versus butter or oil, you’ll need to decrease your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and increase the baking time by several minutes. And if you’re worried about the flavor, don’t: the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and espresso mask any avocado notes.
Given the fact that you can’t taste the avocado, it’s hard not to be impressed by this brownie’s nutritional profile. You’re likely familiar with avocado’s superfood status, thanks to its popularity on health food blogs and fitness Instagram accounts. But what exactly makes avocados so healthy? The green fruit is chock-full of unsaturated fat, B-vitamins, and potassium. And while it clocks in at just 9 grams of carbohydrates in a 100 gram serving, it provides around 7 grams of dietary fiber. Together, these components can help reduce blood triglyceride and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, making avocado a smart addition to a heart-healthy diet.
If you’ve never added coffee to a brownie or chocolate cake recipe, you’re missing out. Tossing a shot of espresso, spoonful of coffee powder, or an ounce or two of bold black coffee into the batter won’t impart any bitterness or cause caffeine jitters. On the contrary, coffee adds depth to the chocolate, enhancing the richness of the cocoa. You only need a small amount of coffee to achieve this effect, so you won’t be able to taste (or feel) its presence.
But what if we want a little bitterness to even out the sweetness of our brownie? That’s where the rich espresso glaze comes in. Made with espresso, confectioner’s sugar, and a splash of milk, it evokes the delightful smoothness of Vietnamese iced coffee. You can customize your glaze’s coffee-ness by fiddling with the coffee-to-milk ratio until it’s as bold or as creamy as you prefer. Sprinkling sea salt and toasted coconut flakes provides a finishing touch with caramel notes and subtle crunch. You can play around with the glaze toppings to capture the flavors of your favorite coffee drinks. Try crushed candy canes for peppermint latte brownies, a drizzle of Nutella if you love hazelnut, or chopped marshmallows like in hot cocoa.