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December 25, 2013

Peanut Butter-Chickpea Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chips

The cookie exchanges held by Food Bloggers Los Angeles and by my craft group have become a big part of my holiday tradition here in Los Angeles.  I missed both of them this year, as they were held on the same day as a final for my psychology class.  Hoping beyond hope that my schedule would change, I prepared in advance anyway.  I was even able to find a friend in one of the groups to take my cookies for me and bring back a plate, so I was able to participate de facto with the craft group.  But what I've most enjoyed was the fellowship and festive spirit of the parties themselves, so my friends were dearly missed.

Each year I like to try one new recipe, though it wouldn't be Christmas without a few family traditional cookies.  In keeping with my new health studies at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I searched far and wide for healthy cookie recipes this year.  Still working with limited space (especially counter space) in my kitchen, I was particularly looking for a bar cookie that I could make with ease in a single pan.  I was also gifted with a small used food processor recently so that opened up a lot of new possibilities for me.  I came across a post by Ambitious Kitchen that fit the bill.  Their Chickpea blondies are packed with protein but taste like the best peanut butter cookie I've ever had.  The ingredients just fit into my three-cup food processor, and the 8x8 baking pan size allows me to have a treat without being overwhelmed with the yield.

I was proud to take this to several different groups this year, including the seniors at the rehab facility where my good friend is an activity director.   It felt good to know I was providing a small seasonal treat that was good for the body as well as the soul.

Peanut Butter-Chickpea Blondies w/Chocolate Chips
Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen

Cooking Spray
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar (I used honey, making this recipe non-vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegan (or regular) chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons sea salt, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, I like to use dark chocolate because it has less sugar but it's up to you. Note:
    Batter will be thick and super delicious, so you could actually just eat it on it's own!
  1. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. (The batter
    may stick to your spatula, so I like to spray my spatula with nonstick cooking spray first.) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. The batter may look underdone, but you don't want them to dry out!
  1. Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares. Makes 16 blondies.
I also added an egg to the batter, making it more cake-like, but not vegan.
You can use your favorite nut butter, just make sure it’s all natural.
Feel free to add in other things according to your dietary needs like nuts, dried fruit, or other types of chocolate.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar (1/16th of recipe) Calories: 120 Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 13.5g Sugar: 6.9g Fiber: 1.8g Protein: 3.5g

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