Paleo, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free
I am not sure where or why my latest obsession started, but I am deep in it. What am I obsessed with? Chickpeas. I know, not nearly as exciting as you probably thought.
It started when I got spicy chickpeas in my salad from Sweetgreen and then all I wanted was chickpeas. I bought 5 cans of chickpeas and stayed in my kitchen for two hours. Yes, chickpeas are great in salads, the base for hummus or even as veggie burger.
BUT. They are also great in baking.
Don’t throw out the chickpea water.
First let’s talk about the chickpeas. When you are buying canned chickpeas, make sure that you get ones that have no salt added. If you get the salty ones, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly, taste them after rinsing to check how salty they are.
Now, about the chickpea water or, by the fancy name, Aquafaba. Whatever you call it, it is a liquid that is full of starch, a little bit of fat and protein. Sound familiiar? Yup. It’s basically the same as a an egg. Aquafaba is a great vegan egg replacement. You can even make it into meringue (though I have yet to do it successfully). I save mine in the fridge for 2 weeks or freeze it in ice cube trays for about a month.
If you have salted chickpeas, do not save the chickpea water; it will be overly salty.
Just sweet enough.
Chickpeas are not exactly full of flavor; they need a little help. When I am making blondies normally, I add about 1 full cup of sugar (either all brown sugar, coconut sugar or a mix of coconut sugar and liquid sweetener), which make the resulting bars on the sweeter side. While I wanted these chickpea blondies to be sweet; I didn’t want them to be overly sweet.
I used half the amount of sugar I would normally use, splitting it between organic agave nectar and coconut sugar. Agave nectar is sweeter than cane sugar; so, you need less of it, but still get the same amount of sweetness. Coconut sugar gives you the caramel-like flavor like brown cane sugar. The best part is both are low glycemic sweeteners, meaning they take longer to metabolize and cause a slower rise in blood glucose levels. Add this to the protein and fiber you get from the chickpeas, these blondies won’t give you that spike in energy (and a crash later).
With or without the chocolate.
I am of the opinion that everything is better with chocolate. Some may disagree with that, but I will just ignore that opinion.
However, if you want to make these for breakfast or brunch, add sliced bananas, fresh blueberries, strawberries or all of the above to the mixture.
And now, it's time to make the blondies.
4 1/2 oz (about 1 cup) drained, rinsed chickpeas (No Salt Added, save the chickpea water)
4 oz almond butter (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz (about 1/4 cup) agave nectar
1 3/4 oz (1/4 cup) coconut sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
5 oz (1 cup) almond flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
Optional: 3.5 oz (about 1/3 cup) chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a food processor, add the chickpeas, almond butter, oil, agave nectar, coconut sugar and eggs. Blend until smooth (takes about 2-3 minutes).
Add the almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and blend again until smooth.
Remove the blade, scraping batter off with a metal spatula (avoid using rubber or plastic since the blade can cut it. No one wants plastic in their blondie). Pour batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading into the corners.
If using the chocolate chunks, sprinkle over the top of the batter. Tap the baking dish on the counter a couple times to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 22-24 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden brown.
Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing; enjoy warm with a glass of almond milk