girls would turn the color of the avocado when he would drive down their street in his el dorado

Magical things, avocados.

But first a BIG thank you, as big as the words Thank You made out of colourful rubber and inflated to the size of a forty-foot building, with a noble capybara balancing on top of it looking thoughtfully into the distance, for all the nice comments and emails about my last blog post. From the bottom of my chocolate-iced heart.

Back to avocados; aren’t they exciting? Like nature’s version of rich creamery butter, kept in an endearingly curvaceous, bumpy casing. Nutty and smooth and yes, buttery, I love it mashed into guacamole to be scooped up with corn chips, spread on toast for a breakfast treat anytime of day, or sliced into a bowl of salad so that you can try and surreptitiously dig for it all with the spoons when serving yourself.

But to turn them into pudding? Inconceivable!

Conceive of this. I know I go on about Hannah at Wayfaring Chocolate a fair bit, so I’ll try and squash down the enthusiasm a little here so I don’t sound like some kind of creepy person who waits outside your window and cries “the hunter has become the hunted!” No, it’s not like that. It’s just that she’s got one of my favourite food blogs in the world, is all. And while I’ve heard of using avocados in non-savoury recipes, it was she who prised open my eyes to how delicious and non-threatening it could be. Through the medium of raw vegan brownies. Regular baked brownies have their place (and that place is a table marked “DELICIOUS THINGS HERE, PLEASE”) but it’s fun to push the limits of creativity in the kitchen sometimes by restricting your parameters. Which is what Hannah did with this amazingly delicious recipe.

Yes, those are useless-ish stripy novelty straws: they make my heart soar, and what price soaring? Occasionally I buy into pretty things, and occasionally…I literally buy them. Treat yo’self.
A daring mixture of dates and nuts are whizzed up in a food processor with cocoa to form the base, and then the power of a whole avocado is harnessed to create the icing. It’s amazing – you add golden syrup and cocoa and suddenly it turns into this creamy, darkly chocolatey, shiny ganache-like substance.
Unfortunately when I busted anticipationally into the avocado it wasn’t entirely usable – instead of two bowl-like halves offering up smooth, unbroken greenness, there were significant portions that were bruised and horribly stringy. I scooped out what was salvageable, and this is why the layer of icing on my brownies is sadly thin. But another time, another avocado. 
Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownies with Spectacular Avocado Icing

Adapted slightly, and respectfully, from Hannah’s recipe which she adapted from another recipe of her own anyway: inception! Feel free however to just click through to hers.

2 cups nuts: I used a mixture of almonds and pecans, but near-on anything would suit. 
2 cups dates, roughly sliced
1/3 cup cocoa powder

Blend the living heck out of these ingredients in a food processor. It may take some time to come together. Eventually it will be a fine-ish, crumbly mixture of tiny ingredient particles. Turn it out into a baking dish, roughly 20cm square or a little bigger or smaller. Press down on it with a spoon, freeze while you make the icing.

1 ripe, perfect avocado
2 tablespoons golden syrup 
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional, by which I mean I forgot)
Small pinch of salt

Thoroughly clean out your food processor, then blend all of the above till smooth and shiny and amazing. Add more of anything to taste, then spread evenly across the base. Return to the freezer, slice once ‘set’.

I admit: I had issues making this. I increased the base quantities a bit from Hannah’s recipe and I don’t know if it was because of that, but the food processor just Would. Not. Break. Them. Down. Rather than being sliced up, it was like the blades were some kind of carnival ride for the dates and nuts to scoot round on. I’d be processing the heck out of it, take the lid off, look in: perfect, whole almonds and dates. Stir it round, repeat. Look in: perfect, unblemished nuts and dates. So confusing. I’m not sure if I should’ve soaked the dates first or something but eventually, eventually, they started to break down. This is why I recommend you chop them first.

But despite that, as long as you own a food processor these are a complete breeze to make, and even though I’ve only eaten a few pieces I know I’m going to make this again, and often. For one thing, to get a better quantity of icing. For another thing, to try out all the different flavours (except carob, I can’t go for that) like having maple syrup in the icing or walnuts in the base. This is incredibly delicious stuff – a little crumbly, although I suspect that’s my own fault – but caramelly and dark and biscuity and cold and wonderful. Something about the texture of the dates and the intensity of the cocoa makes it taste and feel almost like solid chocolate. And the icing – oh my. Even with the mean scraping of it across the top it’s almost aggressively luscious, showing how avocados in sweet things makes total sense – the buttery flavour, its yielding texture, and whipped-cream body. And they’re vegan and gluten-free! (Well I’m not sure if golden syrup is strictly vegan, but it seems to be…if not, just use maple syrup as per her recipe.)

Thanks Hannah – and I urge you to run, not walk, to her blog and read through all the other good things she’s come up with.

What have we been up to lately, apart from eating all this brownie? Went to the SPCA to drop off some newspapers but also to hang out with the beautiful cats and dogs there for a bit – seriously, I want them all. Baddddd. Words can only hint at how cool the cats were and at the depths of love in the dogs’ eyes. I just wish we had the space! We were a little slow-moving that day though because what started off as a spontaneous BYO dinner to toast Jo’s job success on the previous night had escalated into a spontaneous-er wingding at our place. On Sunday I went with Tim to the Wellington Phoenix’s first football game of the season (The Pheen, as I call them, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on). It almost didn’t happen – the internet cafe I usually go to was inexplicably full, then when I finally found another one my e-ticket refused to print for ages. The upshot of it was that arriving late to the stadium meant I didn’t suffer that mid-point slump – as I really don’t like sports in the first place, my attention span is not cut out for ninety minutes of people running round kicking a ball. Anyway, they won, which was super pleasant. Hooray for weekends.
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Title via: The laconic and shambling but nonetheless exciting Pablo Picasso, by the Modern Lovers. LOVE this band. Not least for the fact that they use the word avocado in this song.
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Music lately: 

Shout, Isley Brothers. I know I say this about so many songs, but this has just got to be one of the best songs in the world. It’s beautiful.

Badd Energy, Third Eye – am a huge Coco Solid (she who makes up part of this act) fan so clicked through the moment I saw a link to this. While it stands up easily on its own, if you can watch the video you’re in for some fun times. Fun cats-wearing-robes-and-shooting-at-you times.
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Next time: I tried making quinoa balls tonight, kinda like meatballs, and while they predictably fell to bits what was there tasted SO SO good and so that’ll likely be my next blog post.

20 thoughts on “girls would turn the color of the avocado when he would drive down their street in his el dorado

  1. georgi says:

    pretty sure golden syrup is vegan .. i can't think why it wouldn't be! yum. these look amazing. i just need to get the balls to use an avocado in sweet things. I also don't own a food processor but my blender does an ok job making cashew butter. not so sure about dates though.. we'll see!

    Like

  2. Emma says:

    Ooh here are these mystery avocado cocoa-y delights, popping up once again to this time say “Eat me! I proclaim to be healthier than all that thou eats, and I share a blog post with an unimaginably cute capybara that reminds you of playing the Amazon Trail in elementary school!”

    Raw vegan things tend to be chatty, I think. I will have to give these a try on of these days; wish I could get my paws on some golden syrup. One cheer for football. Three cheers for Hannah!

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    These looks very interesting and very creative with the avocado. I have never really done much raw desserts but have just made a Moroccan inspired one so I think this one might be next on my list

    Like

  4. Hannah says:

    *[ 🙂 🙂 :') ]*

    ^^^ That is the only way I can think of to describe how I feel right now. That is, speechless with happiness, and a little bit teary at reading words that make my soul soar and my sense of self tremble with joy.

    I'm so utterly delighted that these sang with deliciousness for you too, although I must apologise for laughing at your situations with the food processor and the hiding-from-the-blades nuts and dates! I honestly have never had that happen at all, so I can't understand why that would be! Is your food processor super enormous? Were you definitely using medjool dates, not rock-hard supermarket dates? Intriguing! *strokes invisible beard*

    There's one other thing I can't stop giggling about, and that is that if any of your readers do take your advice and click through tomorrow, they shan't be seeing any food. Oh no. They will be seeing a cartwheeling nincompoop…

    Like

  5. The KitchenMaid says:

    Avocado icing? Hmmm, you might have made me change my strict avocado policies – and I love the sound of the base. BTW, have you tried Little Bird raw macaroons? They. Are. Incredible. I almost felt depressed after eating one when I realised I was never going to be able to make anything as good (then I had another one and cheered up!)

    Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mmm these look fabulous. Deliciously interesting… I have never ventured into the world of raw food, but it's something I should try! I should also go and have a look at wafaring chocolcate…on my way now!

    Like

  7. hungryandfrozen says:

    @georgi

    I'm pretty sure it's vegan too – I mean it's just sugar – but can never be toooo careful with that kind of thing.

    My colleague was talking to me about this today, she suggested using dried apricots which are a lot softer – instead of dates – could be deeeelicious.

    Like

  8. hungryandfrozen says:

    @Hannah

    *twirls invisible mustache in attempt to distract* yes, I used rock-hard supermarket dates.

    YAY soul-soaring, if it wasn't Very Bad Practise I'd probably end up just taking your entire blog and re-entering it over here because I love it so much.

    Cartwheels – jealous…

    Like

  9. Hannah says:

    @hungryandfrozen

    *wriggles around on seat in joy* Oh Laura. You make me so happy 🙂

    Golly! I'm even more impressed with your review, if you used rockhard dates! The two people I know who tried the recipe without using soft dates had it fail pretty miserably. You really are a kitchen whiz-goddess 🙂

    Like

  10. Anonymous says:

    These look amazing, I may have to try them sometime
    Also, because I am such a nerd, you have the paper straws as well, aren't they awesome? 😀

    Like

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