When you want (or need) to bake a cake, letting things such as missing ingredients get in the way is a pain. And that’s why we’re grateful for substitutes. Whether you’re using aquafaba to make eggless cookies, or hoping to pad the nutritional value of your afternoon snack, substitutions can save time, effort, and money in the kitchen when you need them most.
That’s why, when we heard around the Cook’s Country test kitchen that people were talking about substituting avocado for butter in baked goods, we had to give it a try to see if it passed muster.
Sign up for the Cook's Country Dinner Tonight newsletter
10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
We did some calculations and found that one mashed avocado weighs about the same as a stick of butter, but has about a quarter of the calories and fat—about 95 percent less saturated fat and no cholesterol versus 234 milligrams of cholesterol for a stick of butter. So if the substitution worked, the health benefits would be significant.
The test cooks then made chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, replacing all the butter with one ripe avocado. When creaming the avocado and sugar, the mixture never became fluffy—as it would have with butter—and the dough turned a creamy green color.
In the oven, the cookies made with butter spread as the butter melted, but those made with avocado never did. Beneath their dry, pale green surface, these cookies were dense and damp. The cooks tried again using half butter and half avocado, but the results weren’t any more appetizing. So the answer to the cookie question was, unfortunately, an emphatic no.
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip CookiesThere are two types of people in the world: those who like chewy cookies and those who like crunchy ones. Chewy chocolate chip cookie lovers, this is your lucky day.
But what about cakes? Sadly, a simple yellow cake didn’t fare any better—it came out of the oven with a pronounced vegetal flavor, and certainly didn’t didn’t live up to its name, having turned green once again. But could chocolate cover up these issues?
We made three chocolate cakes, one with butter, one with half butter and half avocado, and the third with all avocado. The cooks all liked the half-avocado version, and two-thirds of the team liked the all-avocado cake, too; the rest of us found it “wetter” or “gummier” than the original and didn’t think the substitution worked.
The bottom line? Don’t use avocado in place of butter in cookies—it demeans both the avocado and the cookie. But feel free to go ahead and replace at least half of the butter in chocolate cake, so long as you don’t mind a change in the traditional fluffy cake texture.