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.

brownies and beans

A friend gave me an intriguing recipe today and because I had the time as well as all of the ingredients, I gave it a go. Black Bean Brownies appealed to me not so much as a healthy alternative to an otherwise decadent dessert, but because I wondered if the full, rich flavor of black beans would intensify the chocolate-ness of it all.

The brownies took only minutes to throw together and put in the oven and I was surprised to see them puff up as they contain no baking powder or baking soda. (Though whipping the eggs in a blender would add air.) The original recipe was heralded as gluten-free, but this wasn’t entirely true as most oats contain traces of gluten. Leaving out the oats (which I would do next time as they didn’t serve much of a purpose flavor- or texture-wise) would make them truly gluten-free.

I’d eat them regardless of nutrient content or health claim, though, as they’re sweet and melt-in-your mouth chocolatey. With no flour, they’ll get thumbs-down from anyone who enjoys cakey brownies–these are more moist, dense, and pudding-like. I ran nutrition numbers and each brownie clocks in at 170 calories. Use nuts instead of chocolate and the number goes down a bit; omit the chocolate or nut topping and you’re down to 130. That’s not oodles lower than a standard brownie (though far lower than some of the ultra-decadent versions), but you also get 3 grams of fiber and 4 of protein, which is better than what you’d find in most baked goods.

These brownies are more of a novelty for me as I very much enjoy using butter, white flour, and sugar in dessert-like baked goods. That said, this was a fun recipe to try and these intensely chocolate brownies will disappear quickly in my house. Next time I have a can of black beans on my shelf, I might just whip up another pan of brownies!

black bean brownies in a Christmas tree pan

black bean brownies in a Christmas tree pan

black.bean. brownie.

black. bean. brownie.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate or nuts

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 9×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In blender container (or in bowl using immersion blender), combine all ingredients except oats and chopped chocolate or nuts. Blend until smooth. Stir in oats. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle with chocolate or nuts. Bake 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Cool on wire rack. Makes 12 brownies.