suspension of disbelief or making cookies from chickpeas

Last post mentioned that my food science schooling involved lots of science and no cooking. Yet it wasn’t all hard work. Classes like Music 101 and General Theater helped me satisfy department requirements and also gave me insight into subjects completely outside of my major.

It was in the theater class that I learned about “suspension of disbelief.” In a good stage production, the audience suspends disbelief; limitations of live theater don’t prevent folks from believing what they see on stage. And it’s this phrase I thought of when deciding to pursue today’s recipe.

While my jury is still out on the merits of facebook, I’ve come to enjoy posting to my deLizious business page. Family, friends, clients, and even complete strangers have been pestered encouraged to sign on with a Like as well as to help make it more of a community by sharing their own fun food (and drink) finds. It’s gratifying when someone takes me up on this, so I was thrilled when my friend Kristine brought Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites to the deLizious party. This recipe, found all over the internet, promises “NO FLOUR, NO OIL, NO WHITE SUGAR.” And it contains chickpeas.

I shared the post and was surprised to see it prove popular, generating a healthy discussion on whether it might taste good (I had my doubts, having been burned before with those beet brownies) and whether it truly was sugar- and oil-free if it contained chocolate chips.

Noting that Dinner of Herbs had made these same cookies and given them thumbs-up via her facebook page, I decided to go for it. I’d suspend my disbelief that legumes don’t belong in baked goods.

Of course there were changes along the way. It made more sense to use the entire 15-ounce can of chickpeas instead of measuring out the 1 1/4 cups called for. A jar of nutella beckoned from the pantry when I reached for the peanut butter. (And when I emptied it before having the amount needed, cashew butter provided the balance.) Peanut butter chips and chopped chocolate stood in for the chocolate chips, and you know I used more than the 1/2 cup called for. Finally, instead of hauling out my food processor, I put everything in a bowl and whirred it (mostly) smooth with my stick blender.

canned chickpeas etc.

canned chickpeas etc.

And? I’ll agree with D of H and give them that thumbs-up. They’re a bit mealy, though not enough to bother. I can tell they contain chickpeas, but only because I know they’re there. Named well, they taste a lot like raw cookie dough even after baking. But to call them cookies seems a stretch. (That said, for gluten-free, they’re phenomenal.) No one will mistake them for Mrs. Fields‘ latest.

dough balls

dough balls

just baked

just baked

cooling

cooling

Do I not love them because I know what’s in them or are they just not that amazing? Can’t say. They’re tasty enough, but still strike me as a bit odd. Bottom line: I have trouble suspending my disbelief. Chickpeas shine in salads, hummus, pasta dishes, soups. But to puree them into a cookie seems sacrilege and I’m unable to get past that enough to rave about these treats.

If you’re in the mood, I challenge you to make these chickpea cookies and report back. Do you like them or no? How adept are you at suspending your disbelief when it comes to baked goods?

Mickey is back!

Mickey is back!

stack of gooey

stack of gooey

raw cookie dough?

raw cookie dough?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed well and patted dry
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or any combination of nut butters )
1/4 cup agave nectar (original recipe called for honey)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan or coat with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine all the ingredients except chocolate chips; blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Or process in food processor.) Add chocolate chips; stir to mix.

Scoop mixture into small mounds on baking pan. Bake 10 minutes or until just set. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 30 dough bites.

banana bash–three dishes you’ll want to make and one you will not

Those who’ve been here before may have read mention of neighbors who bring over a box of food every Sunday. My understanding is that their church has a community food bank, from which they take any leftovers home to share with friends and family.

It’s much like a CSA as I never know what a Sunday will bring. Near-expired dairy products, produce, cookies, bread–it’s been fun to receive this kindness weekly. We offer our thanks each time they bring bounty (though their being from Nigeria and ourselves born and raised Minnesotan means communication can be spotty) and when appropriate, share what we make with their gifts. (They once brought over a 50-pound (!) box of chocolate chips–you’d better believe they got a batch or three of cookies out of me.)

they dared me to use them all

they dared me to use them all

I share this here not so much as a personal anecdote, but rather to set up this post’s reason for being: four bunches of spotted bananas. Not four spotted bananas, no. Four bunches.

What to do? A loaf of banana bread wouldn’t even make a dent. Freezing (peeled or no, both work) would take care of what I couldn’t use, but I was up for a challenge, so put it out there on deLizious facebook that I needed banana recipes stat. And my awesome readers came through. Here’s what I did to use up three of those four bunches. (One went home with friends, so was not my problem.):

My friend Jill wrote about a smoothie her family enjoys on summer nights. Cleverly named Monkey Smoothies blend frozen banana chunks, chocolate sauce, peanut butter, and milk. I cut a few bananas up and froze them overnight, then followed Jill’s instructions the next morning. The shakes were dreamy and tasted much like a peanut butter cup would were it frozen and drinkable. Definitely a winner.

frozen bananas, pbutter, choc sauce, milk--yum!

frozen bananas, pbutter, choc sauce, milk–how could this be anything but extraordinary?

monkey smoothie: drink a candy bar for breakfast

monkey smoothie: drink a candy bar for breakfast

Fellow WordPress blogger Perky Poppy Seed opened new worlds for me with her “recipe.” She suggested slitting unpeeled bananas “banana split-style” and placing on a baking sheet. Next, the slits were filled with small pieces of butter, ground cinnamon, and a splash of rum (or brandy or bourbon) and roasted at 400°F-ish until the skins turn black. Finally, the puree is spooned from the skins and used wherever mashed banana is called for. This was a “wow” for me–any banana bread I’ve ever made (and I’ve made a fair number as I try not to repeat b bread recipes) could be made again with this spiked puree, taking on a slightly different flavor. This I had to try.

not going to win any beauty contest, but they smell heavenly

not going to win beauty contests, but they smell heavenly

I filled and roasted 10 of the bananas, placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet to avoid having to wash the pan. The fragrance was heavenly and the final puree was as amazing as I’d imagined.

this stuff is pure baking gold

pure baking gold

I immediately set aside a cup for my next project, which was…

bananarama cake!

bananarama cake!

Beki, of Beki Cook’s Cakes, is the instructor responsible for my personal best in making a cake look pretty. She responded to my facebook query with a link to her blog for what looked to be an amazing recipe. I followed this recipe mostly to the letter, though used the roasted rum bananas and sprinkled a touch of vanilla salt between frosted layers.

The cake was phenomenal, though Beki will most likely wonder if I left my fine decorating skills in her classroom. Alas, the finished cake was a bit more goofy than it was beautiful. (I could use my 7-year-old daughter as an excuse for the imperfect frosting, but she was really only responsible for one smudge in the lettering. I’ll take full responsibility here.)

one crazy--but tasty--cake

one crazy–but tasty–cake

But even without bakery-quality visuals, this cake was crazy good. I was finally able to stop myself after three slices (they were fairly small, but still!) and am even now remembering how moist and tender that cake was. How it had an earthy sweetness that keeps you coming back for more. I managed to part with half of the cake to share with our neighbors, which means the cake has already dwindled significantly. When it’s gone? I’ll make another as I have a good cup or so of the spirited puree in my freezer.

oh, this is good

oh, this is good

The one banana recipe I did not use (besides the one that read “open trash bag, throw away”–horrors!) was offered by the keeper of the Kirschner Cookbook Library, which I’ve written up here before. Megan posts great finds from this library at a favorite blog and she pulled from her archives to share Banana Sardine Boats. These scary salads are worth a click for the kitsch factor alone.

Left in my freezer, then, is about a cup of spirited banana puree and maybe 1/2 cup frozen banana chunks. I was thrilled to meet my banana challenge, though also had plenty of help from facebook readers. While the four bunches of spotty bananas are gone, I’m certain I will run across more sooner rather than later and I’d bet you will, too. So I ask you to keep the recipes and ideas coming. What is your go-to banana recipe when you find yourself with too many brown bananas? Please share as it’s more fun to go bananas with fellow food folk 🙂