Josh and I are one day away from finishing an Advocare 24-Day Challenge. For the past 23 days we’ve been eating clean- having eliminated white sugar/flour/ from our dietary equation and attempting to eat as few “processed” foods, as possible- including no dairy. If you have any questions about Advocare or the 24-Day Challenge, contact either Coralie or myself. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, desserts are my jam, a raison d’etre, the period on the end of a meal sentence. Suffice to say, not a lot of my favorite dessert foods are 24-Day Challenge approved. The recommended “piece of fruit” dessert swap, to me, is almost laughable. I know- all the white whines. Regardless, I am always on the lookout for yummy, healthier dessert alternatives.
This past Saturday evening, I found myself craving something sweet and lamenting the fact that I was out of bananas and couldn’t make my Oatmeal Raisin “Cookies”. As it was too late to go to the store, I surveyed my available ingredient options. After eyeing the two ripe avocados sitting on my kitchen counter, I was reminded of a healthy dessert idea that I had seen floating around during a recent “clean dessert recipes” search on Pinterest. The idea is that by blending avocados with cocoa powder (and some other sundry ingredients) you can make a “clean” version of chocolate pudding. Going back to Pinterest to search specifically for “chocolate avocado pudding” yielded a TON of recipes. I went with the pin that led me to Oprah’s website. You know, because Oprah. The recipe is from the host of the Food Network’s Healthy Appetite, Ellie Krieger. It is as follows:
- 2 large avocados, pitted and peeled
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 Tbsp. honey
- ¼ cup skim milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
- Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish
- Orange zest, for garnish
- Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend avocados, cocoa powder, honey, milk, vanilla, and instant coffee until completely smooth, then chill, covered, in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
Transfer to 4 bowls and garnish with coconut, zest, and sea salt.
I didn’t have any instant coffee or espresso powder… which, probably made a difference. I also substituted almond milk for the skim and agave nectar for the honey. I threw all the ingredients into my blender and went to town.
As the ingredients came together, I immediately noticed the visual creaminess of the pudding. It looked right! I was excited to try it. Turning off the food processor, I carefully dipped a finger in the mixture and was delighted that it also FELT right. My taste buds, however were sorely disappointed. The taste was extremely bitter and… green? By “green,” I mean tasted vegetable-y. I adore avocados and had no qualms with using it in the dessert capacity, but was surprised at the how green the mixture still tasted. It never occurred to me what a distinct taste the avocado has. I also noticed, during the discovery phase of this experiment, that there were not one, not two, but three different garnishes suggested for this dish. Now I knew why. Hoping that somehow the garnishes would save the dish, I scooped out a dollop of the pudding into a ramekin, sprinkled it with sea salt and my favorite Dang! Toasted Coconut Chips and hoped for a massive transformation. Although the garnishes helped, that isn’t saying much. It was still kind of gnarly. Looking back, I concede that ground instant coffee/espresso powder would probably had neutralized the green flavor, but as I had neither of those on hand, I now had a food processor full of a mixture that I wouldn’t eat and had wasted two avocados. I was miffed. I lol’ed at the recipes suggestion of serving this to guests. Hoping that maybe letting the mixture sit overnight might salvage it, I packed it up and put it in the fridge for the night.
Miffed, I went back to the internet the next morning and started delving deeper into the problem. In the comments section of the recipe, I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my disappointment. There were just as many variation suggestions as there were rave reviews. One of the commenters specifically suggested that adding half a banana would remove the green taste from the equation. So, the next night, I scooped the mixture back into the food processor, added half a banana, and went to town. Y’all. Y’ALL. It made all the difference. The banana rounded out the green, cancelling both flavors, and not only was the pudding redeemed, but it was fully realized. It became so perfect. The sea salt and coconut are lovely additions, but no longer as intrinsically necessary as in the original iteration. Creamy, rich, and decadent… and with none of the traditional pudding “skin”!
Some things of note, when I took the pudding out from chilling overnight, I noticed that the top layer of the pudding was slightly darker than the bottom… much like old-guacamole. Unlike guacamole, since the pudding was brown already, the browness bothered me not. Additionally, although this version is cleaner, it is not as low in calories as its Jell-O counterpart. I will tell you that this version is much more velvety and rich than its instant brethren. So, you know… it is all in what plan you are working. Additionally, I will say that if you make this and aren’t satisfied with the taste, keep trying. There is a variation for you. And having this recipe in your arsenal is totally worth it. Bill Cosby would certainly approve. Nom nom nom. Here is the revised recipe:
- •2 large avocados, pitted and peeled
- •½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ banana
- •6 Tbsp. honey
- •¼ cup skim milk
- •1 tsp. vanilla extract
- •1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
- •Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish
- •Orange zest, for garnish
- •Flaky sea salt, for garnish
- Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend avocados, cocoa powder, honey, milk, vanilla, and instant coffee until completely smooth, then chill, covered, in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- Transfer to 4 bowls and garnish with coconut, zest, and sea salt.
What do you think? Would you try it? Are you obsessed with avocados? Will you also not eat brown guacamole, even though there is no taste difference? As always, let us know!