I also used to love York peppermint patties, Junior mints, Andes mints, and a whole myriad of other minty chocolate sweets. Ironically, Andes mints are not available if you actually live in the Andes, go figure.
I wanted to make these brownies swirly and pretty with some color but, as you all know, I try to stay away from adding food dye unless absolutely necessary. That’s why I decided to try using….wait for it…yep, avocado. I know that most of you just yelled “GROSS!” but if you would just let me explain I can tell you how you won’t even know it’s in there.
I know that I said I’m not really big on St. Patrick’s Day but I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now to make for March. Actually, I’ve made a few different recipes that involved avocado, mint, and chocolate. Last year I made this shake (ignore the horrible pictures) and ever since then I knew I wanted to run with that idea for this year.
I made a slightly different version of the brownies with chocolate chip cookie dough instead of brownie batter the other day but it wasn’t what I was going for. The ratio of avocado to cream cheese in the filling was too much and they looked way too yellowy. Which meant, of course, that I had to try again.
After some tweaking I figured out that the best way to get the color is to use the dark green part of the avocado. You know how when you cut into an avocado it has two distinct colors?
Well that darker shade is what you want to use because it gives you the biggest bang for your buck, so to speak. Oh, and you have to use a perfectly ripe avocado. If it’s too ripe it will turn a little brown when baked and if it’s not ripe enough it won’t blend smoothly and may have a stronger, more fruity flavor. Make sure it’s bright and buttery soft.
I don’t know why but there’s something sp fun about the challenge of making food with natural colors. I mean, these may not be a health food but a least they’re made from whole ingredients from scratch.
This is a great recipe to make anytime of year but it happens to also be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup chopped semi-sweet dark chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado *see note
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- pinch of salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease a 13x9 inch baking dish or pan.
- Cream butter and oil with sugar in medium mixing bowl. Add eggs, extracts, salt, and soda. Stir in flour and cocoa powder followed by chocolate chunks.
- Pour half of batter into prepared pan and smooth with spatula. Place in oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until until top is light brown. While that is in oven, beat cream cheese and sugar together until completely smooth, add avocado and egg and stir until combined. Add salt and extract and mix until smooth.
- Remove pan from oven and pour cheesecake filling on top. Smooth with spatula and then pour remaining brownie batter over top and use a fork to make swirls. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely and cut into squares. I recommend chilling in refrigerator before serving.
*For the best color when using the avocado, use a spoon to scoop from the outer edge closest to the skin where it is dark green.