This bread has a secret ingredient. I mean, it’s not a secret to you because you already read the title of the post. But if you make it and don’t tell people what’s in it, they’ll have trouble guessing your secret ingredient.
I thought the pale green hue might give it away, but the Weatherman had a little trouble guessing. So did my mommy…and her co-workers. People did have plenty to say about the quick bread though, even if they couldn’t guess the secret ingredient. It was “creamy”…”buttery”…”fruity”…”nutty”…”a little crunchy?”
These are good words. Especially because this quick bread has no butter in it. I like tricking people in these ways.
When I tell people there’s avocado in the bread, it suddenly makes sense. Avocados are buttery, creamy, and a little fruity. (They aren’t crunchy – or at least they really, REALLY shouldn’t be – but the crunch comes from somewhere else.) This bread is my new favorite way to use up avocados that would otherwise go bad. Maybs you’re like me, and when avocados go on sale, you stock up like there’s no tomorrow. And then you realize you can only eat so much guac at a time…and you’ve already put avocados in your salad, on your eggs, even on top of your broccoli. But you have to use those last two avocados because even though they were on sale, they still cost 75 cents each, and you’d rather eat sand than throw 75 cents away.
I adapted the recipe from Joy the Baker’s Avocado Pound Cake and Avocado Wheat Bread from Squirrel Bakes. I loved the fact that Joy used cornmeal in her cake; it always adds a fantastic, pleasant crunch. (I’m also obsessed with polenta, but that’s a story for another day.) I didn’t want to use butter in mine though, so I just used vegetable oil instead, like plenty of other quick bread recipes. I wanted to incorporate some whole wheat flour as well. I couldn’t decide between plain yogurt or buttermilk…and finally picked buttermilk, only because I had some on hand. I wanted a little bit of a citrus kick to highlight the fruity aspect of the avocado, so I added some orange zest into the batter, but you could easily use lime – or even grapefruit YUM – zest.
I have been a devoted banana bread fan my entire life, having memorized my favorite recipe by the time I was 10 or so….but this avocado bread is creeping its way up the list. I made it twice in the span of two weeks, and with so many things on my “to bake: soon, sooner, NOW” list, that’s saying something. And since it’s such a pretty, pale green, it’s perfect for spring…and St. Patrick’s Day!
Avocado Quick Bread
Makes one 9×5 inch loaf
1/4 cup cornmeal (medium-grind)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe avocados, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups mashed avocado)
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 tsp orange (or lime or grapefruit) zest
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the avocado and the sugar with a rubber spatula until smooth and completely combined. (You can kind of think of this as the part where you normally cream together butter and sugar.) Add the oil and eggs and whisk until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and orange zest. Sprinkle the dry ingredients mixture over the wet ingredients and stir together gently until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until light golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. A tester inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean. Let bread cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan and turn the loaf out onto rack to finish cooling completely. Bread will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for 3-4 days; you can also tightly wrap the loaf and freeze it for up to 1 month. (Thaw at room temperature.)
This bread is fantastic for breakfast or an afternoon snack. If you want to negate the fact that there’s no butter in the recipe, a soft, bright citrus butter (butter with a little orange zest stirred in) would be fantastic on the bread. I drizzled just a little bit of honey over a slice and called it dessert. If you make the bread, let me know if you could get people to guess the secret ingredient! Thanks for reading, happy baking!
…Also…in the next few posts, I’ll put a link (or multiple links) to a way we can help in the relief efforts in Japan, or articles with important info about the situation. For today, a link to Architecture for Humanity’s reconstruction plan for Sendai, courtesy of Good: http://su.pr/1bXbc9