Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

Do you all remember when I was talking about making a list of healthy meals that taste really good too?  Unfortunately, that list is still pretty short, especially in the dessert area.  But I have found a great new addition!  A few weeks ago I found Monique’s wonderful blog, Ambitious Kitchen, and instantly fell in love with several of her recipes.  One that especially caught my eye was the Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies.  They seemed exciting, new, and a bit intimidating.  But they have chocolate chips in them, so they can’t be too overwhelming, right?  Right?

Well, I was right! These bars are vegan and gluten-free, but don’t let that scare you off.  They are super easy and delicious.  I doubled the recipe for a 9 x 13 pan. 

Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies 
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter, or another nut butter of your choice
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tspspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegan (or regular) chocolate chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling

1. Use a food processor or blender to blend the chickpeas into a smooth paste.  (If you use a blender, add the maple syrup in right away to help speed up this process.  You may also need to add a bit of water.)

2.  Stir the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the chickpea paste.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

The batter will be rather thick and sticky, so you may want to take precautions and grease your spoon for easier clean up.  Also, the batter became too thick for me to stir properly, so I added about a TBSP of water, and things went much better.  You can also warm up your peanut butter for a few second in a microwave, which will make it easier to stir. 

3.  Spread the batter into a 8x8 greased pan.  You can sprinkle the sea salt on now, or when it’s done baking.  If you’re watching your sodium intake, skip the sea salt altogether.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the edges start to brown.  (The batter may look a bit underdone, but you don’t want the bars to dry out.)


I’m sure there are several people thinking right now “Umm...these look very...interesting.  If you need me, I’ll be over here with my No Bake Reese's Fudge Bars!”  But hear me out: I’m not a fan of chick peas.  In fact, when I first saw this recipe, the main reason I saved it is because I had several cans of chickpeas and no idea what to do with.  (I got them on sale, and girl can only eat so much hummus.)   Knowing that I don’t like the main ingredient, I was generous when adding peanut butter and vanilla to cover up the dreaded chick pea flavor.  It worked very well!   Also, a 1/2 cup of chick peas has 6 grams of protein and 8% of the iron you need daily.  Do your fudge bars have that?  (Hint: no.)

I’m so excited about how well these bars turned out!  I know I said it before, but I’m going to say it again: if you aren’t vegan or gluten-free, please, please, please don’t be intimidated by this recipe.  You will forget about the chickpeas as soon as you taste the deliciousness (and if you’re stubborn and can’t forget about them, just remember all the protein and iron).  And, if you're vegan or gluten-free, you seriously have no excuses not to make these!

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