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Avocados make chocolate cupcakes vegan

Bananas and avocados suffer the same fate on my kitchen counter: Seemingly overnight, they go from impossibly unripe to the brink of rotten.

The frugality that prompted me to buy in bulk turns to panic as I figure ways to use the ingredients quickly.

Most people would make guacamole and call it a day. But my thoughts turn to baking (no surprise there; I was once a pastry chef in Colorado).

I’ve unintentionally gathered quite a few avocado desserts – the fruit offers creamy fat. If you are new to vegan baking, I recommend this recipe as a place to start.

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Makes 9 cupcakes.

The unfrosted, cooled cupcakes can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Adapted from the Vegetarian Times (September 2008).

For the cupcakes:

1-1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

Flesh of 1 ripe avocado

1 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup plain soy milk (may substitute regular milk for non-vegan cupcakes)

1/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

3-1/2 ounces soft silken tofu (one-fourth of a 14-ounce container), drained and patted dry

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces of 60-percent (bittersweet) chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9 of the wells in a 12-well muffin tin with paper or silicone baking cups. Fill the remaining 3 wells halfway with tap water.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl.

Combine the avocado, maple syrup, soy milk, oil and vanilla extract in a blender. Puree for 1 minute, until smooth.

Add to the flour mixture and stir just until combined; be careful not to overmix, or the glutens will activate and the baked cupcakes will be rubbery.

Use an ice cream scoop to plop equal amounts of batter in the baking cups; they should be about two-thirds full. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the glaze: Combine the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until well incorporated.

Transfer the glaze to a bowl; dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the glaze. If desired, pull straight up, to form peaks or swirls.

Calories per cupcake: 406; Protein: 7 grams; Carbs: 60 grams; Fat: 18 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Sodium: 377 milligrams; Fiber: 5 grams; Sugar: 34 grams

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