Monday, August 19, 2013

Almond Avocado Alligators

I love avocados ... so many great things to do with them. Like guacamole. Or guacamole. Or guacamole.

But seriously, I've used avocado in baked goods, like cookies. It was inevitable that I'd use them in bread, right?

This bread is similar to a sweet brioche, with the avocado taking the place of the egg and butter. My dough was a lovely green color before it was baked. Afterward, there was a green tinge on the outside in areas that weren't browned, and the inside was a greenish yellow.

Your results might be different. Avocados vary a bit in color, and mine was quite green. If you have avocados that are more yellow than green, your bread will be less green.

I thought the almonds were a great complement to the bread - to me, avocados taste a little bit like pistachios, so other nuts made sense. And, since the bread was green and brown, I thought that the sliced almonds resembled the rough back of an alligator.

Speaking of alligators, did you know that avocados are sometimes called "alligator pears"? It makes sense, right? The shape is like a pear, and the rough exterior is pebbly, like an alligator. So, there's more than one reason for these buns to be alligators, right?

When you're making this bread, mash the avocado right before you add it to the bread so it doesn't have a chance to start turning brown.

Although I didn't need sliced avocado for this recipe, I had some fun playing with the avocado tool (and citrus tools) that Good Cook sent me.

The avocado tool has a hook (for lack of a better description) on one end that you can use to pry out the pit. The other end scoops and slices the avocado in one motion. Kind of neat, if you need to plow through a whole lot of avocados. It makes even slices, which is a nice for presentation, too.

The tool is dishwasher safe, which is always a plus. I have enough stuff that doesn't fit in the dishwasher or that has to be hand washed. Anything I can chuck into the dishwasher is great.

And (bonus points) since this isn't a sharp implement (because avocados are fairly soft when properly ripe) this is a tool you can hand to your kids and let them help in the kitchen.

The other tools are a citrus reamer and a zester.

I used to have a wooden citrus reamer that disappeared some time ago, but it wasn't my favorite tool since it wasn't all that easy to clean. This one is dishwasher safe and hand-washing isn't much of a problem, either. It pretty much rinses clean.

The zester will make smaller shreds as well as larger ones that you'd use for cocktails.

Almond Avocado Alligator Buns

1 cup lukewarm water
4 tablespoons sugar (divided)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1/2 cup mashed avocado
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Eggwash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Jam (optional)

Combine the water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer. Let it rest for a few minutes while you gather the rest of the ingredients.

Add the bread flour and knead with the bread hook until the dough forms a ball, cleans the sides of the bowl, and becomes smooth.

Add the mashed avocado, salt, and instant mashed potatoes. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size - about an hour.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the dough has risen, flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Divide it into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball and arrange them on the baking sheet.

Just for fun of it, I filled three of the buns with blueberry jam, but the rest were left un-filled. I thought the purple looked good against the light green of the bread, and the flavor worked really well, too.

If you want to fill some buns, form the dough balls into flat disks, put a small amount of jam in the center, then bring the edges up and pinch them together to seal the dough over the jam. Place the buns seam-side down on the baking pan.

Cover the buns with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

When the buns have doubled, remove the plastic wrap and brusd the buns with the eggwash. Sprinkle the buns with the sliced almonds. (I didn't put the almond on the jam-filled buns, so I could tell them apart better after baking. If was making all of the same type of buns, I'd put the almonds on all of them,)

Bake the buns at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 25 minutes. Let the buns cool completely on a rack before serving.

Want more avocado? Check out these other blogs!

Disclaimer: I receive products and giveaway items from Good Cook as part of their Kitchen Experts program.

Good Cook is offering a 25% online discount on the ProFreshonals Produce Tools. Use the code LoveAvocado to get your discount.