I distinctly remember having a 'what do you want to do when you grow up' conversation with one of my friends when I was eleven.
"I want to be a medical illustrator" she said.
"Like, illustrate anatomy textbooks and stuff."
"What kind of a lame job is that?" I was angry that a friend of mine would aspire so low.
"I want to be an artist but that is not practical. They don't make any money. So I am going to be a medical illustrator and do art on the side."
"You're just saying that because your PARENTS said you had to be a medical illustrator!"
This dialogue shows how foolish I was at that tender age. Now I think that being a medical illustrator would be a pretty cool job. But at the time, my grip upon reality was far more tenuous. I wanted to be a super-famous actress or writer. Or a fairy sorceress, like Morgan Le Fay. I was obsessed with The Mists of Avalon at the time (a book I highly recommend for any age).
I suspect that at least part of my childhood fascination with horses (which has deepened to a more mature respect and love), as well as to a lesser extent my desire to learn swordplay and archery, sprang from my fantasy of becoming a Warrior Queen with a command of magical powers to make nature do her bidding.
I even had a book called The Modern Witches' Spellbook (I think). I must have gotten that much earlier, in the fifth grade, because I distinctly remember trying to perform a charm from it that involved digging the dirt from the footprint of one of my friend's crushes, to make him love her. I got in big trouble for that.
To be honest, magic has really never compelled me for the sake of magic--I find myself quite taken aback in my yoga class when I learn that intelligent people profess a belief in every kind of herb on the market, astrology, and crystals. It was the power that Morgan Le Fay represented over men that drew me in, a power completely on her own terms.
Baking to me often has that spirit of alchemy--you begin with ingredients that seem very humble and not very attractive, like a green-hued fruit and a weedy herb like thyme and make something magical. These are real avocado muffins, not 'hide some avocado in a chocolate cake to add some extra Vitamin C' nonsense.
I brought them to my yoga class and they were a hit!
To lighten the sweetness and to see if it produced higher crowns, I substituted some powdered sugar for regular sugar. You could just use an entire cup of granulated sugar, however, which will make your muffins (slightly) sweeter. Or for a more savory muffin, just use a half cup of the granulated.
Avocado muffins with white chocolate and thyme
--yields 12 muffins--
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup powdered sugar (see italicized note above)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 mashed, ripe avocado (innards only)
2 large, beaten eggs
2 teaspoons fresh, crumbled thyme
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. Sift flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar together. Mix butter, avocado, and eggs together and fold dry mixture into wet.
3. Incorporate thyme, followed by white chocolate chips. Pour into muffin tin.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes (the ripeness of the avocado will affect the baking time).
5. Cool and remove from muffin tin.