Sunday, June 6, 2010

Second Contest Entry - Avocado Fudge Brownies with Feta Cheesecake Swirl did NOT read that title wrong!  I really DID make an avocado brownie that's marbled with feta cheesecake.  This is my second entry for Denise and Lazaro's challenge.  (See details at or 

While you are there, be sure to check out Denise's book......

Before everyone becomes convinced that I have taken leave of my senses (again), let me explain the reasoning behind the avocado brownie.  I have played around for years with different ingredients and methods in the quest to create truely scrumptuous vegan baked goods that are just as good if not better than their dairy/egg laden counterparts.

I must admit, I've made some real messes along the way.  But I've made some breakthroughs as well.  One of those was my Vegan Avocado Fudge Cupcake which we sold at Central Florida Veg Fest two years in a the HUNDREDS.  The avocado serves a dual purpose here...both as an egg replacement/emulsifier and a healthy fat source.  It works amazingly well too.  Granted the brownies are not vegan but I thought...why not give it a whirl and see what happens.

The results were astounding.  My ridiculously rich recipe for Fleur De Sel Caramel Triple Chocolate Brownies uses a Deen-like amount of butter.  I replaced one of the eggs and half of the butter with pureed avocado and the result is a dense, moist, fudge-like brownie that probably breaks the law in some states.  To encorporate the feta, I made a feta cheesecake batter to swirl into the brownies.  There is so much anti-oxident rich dark chocolate in these brownies that they actually look BLACK!  The feta cheesecake swirl is a nice contrast.

Avocado Fudge Brownies with Feta Cheesecake Swirl

  • 10 ounces dark (70% cacao) chocolate, chips or broken chunks

  • 1/2 stick unsalted organic butter

  • 1 ripe Haas avocado, pitted and peeled

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder

  • 3 large organic eggs (1 for cheesecake swirl)

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown organic sugar

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour (organic preferred)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • 4 ounces room temperature cream cheese

  • 3 ounces feta cheese

  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8x8 baking pan; set aside.

  1. Place chocolate chunks and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

  2. While chocolate melts, combine avocado, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, salt, buttermilk, espresso powder, 2 of the whole eggs and the brown sugar in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add avocado mixture to semi cooled chocolate gradually until encorporated.

  3. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with baking powder and cocoa.  Pour chocolate avocado mixture into flour mixture and stir until no dry spots remain.  Coat nuts in 1 of the remaining tablespoons of flour.  Fold into batter.  Do not overmix.  Batter will be very thick and fudge like.  Smooth batter into prepared pan.

  4. Prepare the Feta Cheesecake Swirl:  Place remaining egg, vanilla extract, softened cream cheese and feta in blender.  Add granulated sugar and last tablespoon of flour.  Process until thick and smooth.  If you need a couple drops of buttermilk to facilitate blending that is ok but try blending without it first.  This mixture should be thick but pourable.

  5. Using a butter knife, cut through the brownie batter in a swirl pattern.  The batter is thick enough to stay put.  Pour Feta Cheesecake mixture into the indentions in brownie.  If additional swirling is necessary, just drag knife through until desired swirling is achieved.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.  The center may still seem wet when pricked with a cake tester and that is fine.  Do not overbake.  Cool brownies completely before removing from pan.  Cut into desired shapes.  Number of servings will vary depending on how they are cut. 

Check out the beautiful swirled tops...

Very dark and moist...but they cut beautifully.

a little creative plating with a ripe, juicy strawberry, a dusting of cocoa and powdered sugar and some bon bon candles.  I stood one brownie on it's side for visual impact and also to show the color and texture. 

Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet


  1. Fabulous entry for the challenge Jillian! Love that you chose a dessert to showcase how well avocado and feta can harmonise!

  2. Jill, I think you should win that. Hands down. You got my vote, but in this case my vote goes no where.


  3. Hey Jilly, this sounds awesome! What kind of dark cocoa do you use? I like how rich the color looks... Ooh, and is the feta sour or does it mellow out with the sugar and such? Curious...

  4. I use Green and Blacks cocoa Stella...the darkest I can get. I also use Green and Black's 82% cacoa chocolate bars (melted with the butter in step one). You can use 70% and you'll still get a very dark brownie but I just prefer really, intensely dark bittersweet (batting eyes at Rick) chocolate. I actually created a little bonus recipe with the feta since I was playing around in the kitchen anyway (which I will post later when I have time). I ended up using the other half of the block of cream cheese (reduced if that matters in THOSE brownies)and more feta to make Individual Pecan Crusted Feta Cheesecakes with Gingered Agave Syrup. The reason was because after we tasted the brownies and saw how fabulous that feta cheesecake swirl was when mom suggested I try something showcasing just the feta cheesecake. It's still got a tartness that cream cheese alone would not have and you can certainly tell that it is feta (as opposed to goat cheese or whatever)but it just enhances the cheesecake batter so much. You would think it would be salty but in fact it isn't. I took out a little insurance by not adding any additional salt to the recipe and it worked out very well. I thought I might need to disguise the taste of the feta but found it completly wonderful. The amount of sugar need not be any more than any other cheesecake batter requires. I did go a tiny bit heavier on the vanilla but all in all...the feta was surprisingly delicate for being such a prominent flavor element.

  5. BTW...the Individual Pecan Crusted Feta Cheesecakes with Gingered Agave are RICH RICH RICH!! Pics and recipe later....

  6. Inspired and beautiful. I love using avocado as an egg/butter substitute. I was sceptical about the feta cheesecake swirl but given the popularity of salted toffee, it's clear that sweet 'n salty can work extremely well. Will have to try this!

  7. I love learning something new. I would never have thought to use avocado as an egg replacer. Beautiful dessert!

  8. These look amazing Jilly! Never thought of using avaocado in a dessert. Very creative indeed!

  9. Jill...Congrats on your win! Well deserved. My email is I need a mailing address to send you your prize.


  10. Huge congrats on the challenge! I really like you dish!!!

  11. Thank you...this is really an honor. there were SO many wonderful dishes in the challenge. Thanks to you Lazaro, Nancy and Denise for sponsoring the contest. I'll email you my address Lazaro.

    Thanks again

  12. You won me over with the title. I love to read about flavours like this, and even better when they work. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that we can think out of the box in culinary terms now and again.

  13. Congratulations, you presented a very original and delicious recipe.
    Well done ♥

  14. Thank you everyone! I actually got a bonus recipe out of this challenge which Im getting ready to post tonight...that feta is insanely delicious in cheesecake!

  15. First deserve to be congratulated for your inspirational recipe. I got here to discover your blog purely by chance of landing on the Quickie challenge. I'm so glad to have passed by. I'll definetly have to come back and spend a little more time ;o)
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  16. thanks Foodessa! Come back anytime

  17. I just came across these and think they are amazing! How clever and delicious :)

  18. Very interesting but confusing recipe. You said you replaced some of the butter and egg with the avocado, but there seems to be a good amount of eggs and butter in the recipe. Typo?


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Fort Myers, Florida, United States