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Gluten-Free Living

Gluten-Free Living: Gluten-free baking’s secret ingredient? Avocado

  • Gluten-free banana avocado muffins.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Gluten-free banana avocado muffins.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Gluten-free banana avocado muffins.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Gluten-free banana avocado muffins.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Gluten-free banana avocado muffins.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Gluten-free banana avocado muffins.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

Gluten-free baked goods have two major problems: height and moisture. Careful measuring and proper storage help, but even the most precise baker can end up with a batch of flat, dry goodies when experimenting with alternative flours.

My favorite solution is a little weird, but it really works: pureed avocado.

Using avocado to replace the butter or oil in a recipe adds healthy fat that locks in moisture and fiber to give your batter a sturdy structure and impressive rise. This trick is so effective that it’s possible to use heavier, more nutritious flours without creating a muffin tin full of golden-brown hockey pucks.

Avocado-laced batter does have a bit of a green tinge before it’s baked, but it won’t taste like guacamole. I promise. Once you’ve thoroughly mashed the avocado flesh, treat it just like you would butter or shortening by creaming it together with the sugar and, later, eggs. If you’re really worried about the flavor, add a bit of extra vanilla with the other wet ingredients.

Try replacing half the fat in any baked good recipe with an equal amount of avocado. It works in cookies, brownies and cakes. If you prefer more specific directions, follow the muffin recipe below.

Avocados are ripe, plentiful and inexpensive this time of year, so it’s worth making a big batch of these muffins to throw in the freezer for quick breakfasts or snacks. The recipe below makes about a dozen muffins, but it can easily be doubled or even tripled. The bananas made these plenty sweet for me, but you can add an additional quarter cup of sugar if you’d prefer something more like dessert.

Banana-avocado muffins

1 avocado, mashed

2 ripe, medium bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 tablespoon psyllium husk

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a mixer to cream together the avocado, banana, eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar. Mix on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, the psyllium husk, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the avocado mixture and beat on medium speed for about a minute. Stir in the nuts.

Scoop the batter into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.

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