There’s a good reason we leave Santa cookies on Christmas Eve: delivering gifts to every kid in the world in one night is a logistical nightmare. Santa deserves a break, and if cookies are his weakness, who are we to hold it against the guy?
But there’s a way to give Santa (and your family) a treat without the bulk, and the secret is hidden inside your favorite fruit: avocado. By swapping out the butter in this recipe with avocado, you can reduce the amount of calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium Santa eats with his treats. And by pairing avocados with rich cocoa powder and a few treats (chocolate chips or crushed peppermint candies, for example), he won’t miss a thing.
There are two tricks to this recipe. The first is to pick a perfectly ripe avocado, one that yields to gentle pressure, but isn’t too soft. Check out this short video to learn more. Depending on the size of the avocado you buy, you may have some leftover after making this recipe. A quick sprinkle of lemon or lime juice plus plastic wrap will help preserve it in the fridge until your next salad or snack (this video shows you how).
The other secret to this recipe is to serve it cold. Once the cookies cool, pop them in the freezer for at least a few hours (or store them in a freezer bag until you or Santa are ready to eat). It changes from a soft cookie into a brownie/cookie hybrid, super fudgey and rich.
The recipe is written using Dutch-process cocoa powder, which is treated with an alkali to neutralize the acidity and give the cocoa a smoother flavor. You can also use a natural cocoa powder if you prefer your chocolate more bitter, but swap out the baking powder for half the amount of baking soda.
Yield: 8 cookies
¾-cup Avocado From Mexico flesh
½-cup sugar (can easily be swapped with coconut sugar)
½-cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling after baking)
60 grams of mix-ins (chocolate chips or crushed peppermint candies work well)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a 9×13 baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the first six ingredients in a blender and process until smooth (this can also be done with a bowl and a hand mixer). Stir in the mix-ins by hand, then scoop dough out in 1 ½-tablespoon increments until there are eight cookies. The cookies won’t spread much while baking, so use a spoon to spread them out a bit on the sheet pan.
Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, then check to see if they can be gently lifted off of the pan. If not, put them back in for a few minutes and repeat until they hold together. The time is less important than the appearance of the cookie: you want it to be baked enough that it doesn’t stick to the pan or crumble when you lift it with a spatula. As soon as the cookies are finished, sprinkle them with a little bit of salt and gently press the salt into the tops. Once the cookies cool to room temperature, transfer them into a freezer bag and freeze until ready to eat.
Santa will thank you.