Monday, April 23, 2012

Strawberry and Date Chickpea Blondies

Originally this idea started off as a cake but it was so dense (which I prefer), it could only be blondies. And they sound weird but they are so delicious!
Strawberry Date Chickpea Blondies by Mary Banducci 2 I saw an interesting article in Martha Stewart's Food Everyday (I believe Jan/Feb issue) about substituting some of the baking ingredients in desserts. There was a vanilla cupcake that used white beans and a gingerbread that used pumpkin puree. Of course, I'm not new to the substituting. I grew up on black bean brownies (almost ten years ago my Mom started making them, before they were blog-popular) and I loved the flaky tops the black beans provided plus they included protein and nutrients not obtained in normal brownies. The last couple times I've made gingerbread, I actually use mostly applesauce instead of oil and grated an additional apple in (recipe will come soon).

I love the idea of having my cake and enjoying it too. Sneaking vegetables in "non-vegetable" dishes has kind of been an obsession. I've made sweet potato macaroni and cheese for Amaressa and I (dairy and gluten free) and ever since I can remember following recipes (which I've never really done in the first place), I always subsituted applesauce or fruit puree for half the oil in baking.

Back to not following recipes... I believe I'm like my father in this way. He always had this "We could do that" mentality in the kitchen to anything. Whole garlic in our morning pancakes? Good for you Dad, because it turns out we didn't have any vampire boyfriends, let alone any boyfriends at all. I remember one of us girls requesting cookie batter for our birthday party instead of cake. I'm pretty sure Dad just wung it with this one. And guess what? It tasted great! That didn't always happen. I remember a couple weird concoctions that I ate politely but mostly my Dad's attitude in the kitchen was upbeat, optimistic, and cookbook-less. To this day, I see or eat something I like and I think I can do that.

On the other hand, my Mom's kitchen was full of cookbooks. She read them like I read novels, devouring every line. When I was thirteen, I just didn't understand. I loved words but measured out for a recipe? I needed pictures to accompany these recipes otherwise I was lost. I didn't have the aptitude to combine these complex flavors and understand the plot, the chemistry and the relationship of food.

And I never really did until these last couple of years, particularly this last year when I gave up dairy (and mostly gluten). Now I read cookbooks like a novel. I can understand how the sweetness of pineapple will complement the salty of soy sauce. How mushrooms taste like earthy butter, sauteed in a little olive oil. How the zest of lime can brighten a coconut caramel... Now I'm salivating.
Now where am I all headed with this?

That I like to throw things together. I'm diligent in scouring recipes like my mother but I take creative, carefree guesses like my father. (Now don't get me wrong. My mother is very creative and has thrown a couple recipes together that are to die for.... I just need you to go along with my at the moment).

So here I am going back to the article I found in Martha Stewart food.... and I thought why couldn't I make a cake (turned out blondie) that was completely using garbanzo beans. Instead of having it be a subsitute I wanted it to be VIP (very important player). I didn't want to add a ton of extra flours or sugars. I wanted something simple, delicious, and nutritious.... along with being dairy, gluten, refined sugar and nut free (I have a reader whose husband can't eat any nuts so I wanted to create something nut free).

I looked around my pinterest boards for inspiration.And found a delicious chickpea chocolate chip cookie pie from Chocolate Covered Katie found via Wit & Whistle. Katie is a vegan who, like me, loves to have nutritious desserts. So this recipe inspired my recipe... Hers used brown sugar and I was looking for something cane sugar free. I used a mixture of dates and strawberries instead of sugar and applesauce.

Strawberry Date Chickpea Blondies by Mary Banducci This is absolutely delicious plain or with whipped coconut cream (originally posted here, below I make it with honey).

Strawberry and Date Chickpea Blondies
1 can chickpea/ garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
4 + 2 Huge Strawberries (use more if they are normal sized) *
3 T coconut butter (coconut oil, which might stick together more)
1/2 cup gluten free oats (or quinoa flakes = more protein)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 + 3 large medjool dates, pitted

* UPDATE: You can use one cup thawed frozen strawberies.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In food processor, process all ingredients except 2 extra strawberries and 3 extra dates.
3. After blended well (might look somewhat grainy or you can process for super smooth texture), add extra strawberries and dates. Pulse lightly until the food processor chops and incorporates them into batter (you should see little bits of the dates and strawberries).
3. Bake for 30 minutes in round pie pan or square 8" pan.
4. Let cool atleast ten minutes for cutting. Enjoy plain or with whipped coconut cream.
Whipped Coconut Cream by Mary Banducci Whipped Coconut Cream
1 can coconut milk, refridgerated
2-3 T honey or agave

1. Seperate the thick cream of the coconut milk from the water. Just add the cream to mixing bowl.
2. Mix on high speed until frothy peaks form.
3. Add honey or agave until incorporated.


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