Never in a million years would I have considered adding beans to my chocolate chip cookies, but that’s the fun thing about being an ambassador for the 2016 Year of Pulses– it’s giving me a great excuse to experiment with more ways to incorporate beans, lentils and dried peas into my recipes.
And the result is REALLY tasty.
I’ve been asked what my process is like when I develop recipes, so I thought I’d share a bit more about that today. Usually, I’ll get an idea for a recipe in my head, either from a craving or from sort of inspiration I see at a grocery store or online. In the case of these cookies, I was inspired to try adding pulses to a dessert because I’m in the middle of working on a new recipe in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada– and these cookies were one of the happy results that I thought I’d share in the meantime.
Once I have the idea for what I want to make, I’ll do a quick Google search to see what’s already out there. When it comes to recipes, almost everything has been tried, so it’s just a matter of seeing if someone has already tried the recipe the way I would do it. In the case of chickpea cookies, it seems that most websites have used a combination of chickpeas, peanut butter, and honey or maple syrup. That wasn’t the direction I was originally planning on going with it, but usually if a recipe is popular enough (meaning that there are enough copycat posts out there), I assume the recipe is decent and will try it as written to see what I think. My own taste buds and intuition are always my best guide! I made this recipe as written, and while the cookies were fine, they weren’t exactly what I was going for. (My toddler son took a bite, and immediately asked me to remove that bite from his mouth… so it wasn’t a winner across the board.)
What was good about that recipe, though, is that I didn’t taste beans at all. So, I knew that this idea could work, I just wanted a slightly better outcome. Lately, I’ve been aiming to create more nut-free and egg-free recipes, so I went with my original gut-feeling, which was to combine the chickpeas with a combination of gluten-free oat flour and coconut sugar. The coconut sugar helps give these cookies a dryer texture, rather than using a liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup, and I think its maple-like flavor works perfectly in masking any chickpea flavor. My taste testers couldn’t tell there were beans in these cookies at all! (In fact, my husband’s co-worker has deemed these cookies BETTER than a “normal” cookie. Win!!) The beans act as the binder in this recipe, making eggs unnecessary, and they also add a hefty dose of fiber and protein to help stabilize blood sugar.
Knowing how much of each ingredient to add when developing a recipe is just a matter of experience and experimentation– usually it can take anywhere from 3 to 10 attempts to get a recipe right! So, we giveaway a lot of recipe experiments to neighbors or freeze them for future snacking. (In the case of my cookbook recipes, I usually test each recipe 20+ times, and then I also give the recipe to 25+ strangers to make in their own kitchens to make sure my instructions are clear.) I hope that you won’t have to do too much experimentation with the cookie recipe below, as it tastes pretty perfect to me! Keep in mind that adding a bean or vegetable puree to a cookie, in lieu of using eggs, will give any cookie a softer texture, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from gobbling these up– including my very picky son!
Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 16 cookies
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15 oz.) can, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour*
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
*Note: You can make your own flour by simply grinding gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or coffee grinder until a fine flour is created.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Process the chickpeas, coconut oil and vanilla in a large processor until relatively smooth. Add in the coconut sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and vinegar and blend until until a smooth batter is formed.
Add in the chocolate chips and pulse briefly until incorporated. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a lined baking sheet and use wet fingers to gently flatten each mound (they won’t spread a lot on their own.) Bake until the tops begin to crack and the edges are dry to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!
Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried adding beans or pulses to a dessert before?