Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chickpea "Blondies"

Finding diet safe desserts to ease the void left from losing chocolate, ice cream, pastries, cakes, and all the other yummy things I used to bake to treat myself to on the weekends has been difficult. But I'm determined. I also have enough friends with food allergies that I've become skilled at finding crazy substitutes for desserts that wont harm my loved ones.

Black bean brownies taste almost exactly like the real thing but have no flour so they they make celiacs really happy. I've found ways to alter cookie and cake recipes, removing all traces of gluten and had the gluten free desserts taste much better than the real thing, to the point that even kids at the party refused to eat the desserts that contained wheat because they weren't as tasty. So now I think of altering desserts as a fun challenge.

I do celiac friendly desserts at all my get togethers because when person who is used to going places knowing they won't be able to eat anything because it might be contaminated finds out there is bakery that is safe their face lights up with the biggest smile. It only takes a few minutes research and buying some brown rice or spelt flour to bake gluten free, it's worth that to see someone happy and I get to play with baking something new. Treating a certain celiac friend Q (whom I see to seldom now that she moved) to safe baked goods is especially enjoyable because there is dancing and cooing and clapping involved. I love rewarding people who love food with food I know they'll like.

The interesting part this time around for this weekend's movie party was doing celiac safe and French diet friendly. No wheat, no added fat, and no sugar. That doesn't leave much. Thankfully I have experience cooking without flour because all my dessert have to be flour free from now on. And hank goodness for vegans. Especially the insanely delicious things at a blog I just stumbled on called Have Cake, Will Travel which is a very cute site with bunches of vegan treats.

On the very first page there was a recipe for faux blondies which I knew I had to make since I'd already had great results with the faux brownies recently. Making these was quite interesting and taxed my poor food processor as it required it to puree garbanzo beans and peanut butter together into a nice even paste. This was more difficult than one might imagine. And getting the super sticky batter into the pan almost taxed my patience. It wasn't pleasant to work with and it wasn't pretty.

Once in the oven however they smelled heavenly. They had a nice constancy that made them feel like biting into a real blondie. Of course they were no where near as sinful as the real thing but they were nicely reminiscent of blondies. It's like eating soy yogurt, you have to be ready for something new and not think about what you're missing because neither soy yogurt nor these “blondies” taste like what they're named after but they fill a void.

People stuck mostly to the hummus and vegetable platter at the party, deeming the “blondies” to have a nice texture but tasting mostly like chewy peanut butter. That's okay with me, that means more left over ones for me to eat. And these taste even better after a couple days in the fridge as they get all gooey in the middle. I'll be eating another one tomorrow and thinking about the silly noises Q would make if she was here to share them with me because only certain people understand the importance of dessert.

Chickpea "Blondies"

1 15-ounce can, garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup raw sugar (I used 5 tablespoons fructose)
1/2 cup strawberry all-fruit jam
1/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flax meal
2 tablespoons brown rice flour (I just added this much more flax meal)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I used 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until perfectly smooth, scraping sides often.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 26 minutes.

Best enjoyed after being in the fridge for a bit.

Original recipe from the Have Cake, Will Travel blog.

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