Two recipes already this week, but do I go for another? Hells yeah! Let's preface: finished off a long day of work and Katie and I were hanging out at my apartment. I'd printed off Alton Brown's Lentil Cookies recipe a while ago, but had never gotten around to it. Why not make it tonight? Only downside? I didn't have most of the extra ingredients (rolled oats, dried fruit, coconut). Hell, since I'm going away this weekend, I don't really have a whole lot of anything. I did have avocados, though, since they were on sale last time I was at the grocery store. Add avocados to cookies? Sounds weird, but then I remembered a delicious dessert at Sutra: a chocolate and avocado mousse. Now when most people think of avocados, they automatically draw a connection to guacamole-like applications, which tends to conflict with the idea of desserts. But if you think about it, avocados are themselves sweet and smooth. That's what they do when they are say, put on a burger. So when placed with a powerful taste like chocolate, they add a sweet, creamy texture with a lingering hint of avocado flavor.
So I thought, if it worked for the mousse, why not a cookie? Plus, I realized that I didn't have any butter, so perhaps the avocado could work in its place. So that's what I did and it worked. Quite well. I used a little too much cocoa powder, so I've changed the recipe to use a little less while adding chocolate chips instead. Feel free to experiment a little. I'd recommend placing something in the center of the cookies before putting them in the oven: maybe a marshmallow, or a balsamic-reduced sour cherry. The possibilities are limitless.
Last thing: it seems like both the original intent of this recipe, and especially the modified version, is designed to get the nutritional value of lentils into something traditionally devoid of nutrients (also fun fact: replacing the butter with avocados also reduces the recipe by ~1000 Calories and 120g of fat, so how's that for revolutionary cookbook idea), while not necessarily contributing flavor from the lentils themselves. While this would probably reduce my score in Iron Chef: Battle Lentils, I figure for a couple of the twenty recipes, sacrificing lentil flavor to get nutritional value of lentils into a dessert is okay.
Here's the recipe, which is in two parts to include the lentil puree:
Chocolate Avocado Lentil Cookies
9.5 oz. AP flour (approx. 2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground allspice
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
8 oz. sugar (approx. 1 cup)
6 oz. avocado (approx. 1.5 avocados)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups lentil puree, recipe follows
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together the sugar and the avocado on medium speed. Add the egg and mix until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and lentil puree and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and blend on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips.
Form the dough into balls about 2 tsp in size and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving about 1-in. of room in between. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 195F is reached.
4 oz. lentils (approx. 2/3 cup), picked over and rinsed
2 cups water
In a small pot over medium heat, combine the lentils and the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and puree. If made in advance, put in fridge to cool (can be done up to 4 days) otherwise put in the freezer for 30 min. until room temperature. Yields 1.5 cups.