So the other night, I sat my body down and was all, “Look, body. You’re okay, but I’m tired of the self-hatin’. It’s time we drop these last ten pounds once and for all and just be happy with our perfectly normal, healthy BMI, k?”
And I swear my stomach rose up, took on a mind of its own, and was all, “Gurrrrl, u don’t know what ur gettin yo’self into. Like u could last one week without baking.” Like a total sassafras.
As Laura would say, my stomach is a handful and a half.
But it has a point. I bake for a number of reasons. Because it gives me a release from stress, the mindless stirring and mixing and pouring and waiting gives birth to a kind of creation that is at once a great release and a miracle. But um, mostly because I like to eat. And while that’s all fine and good, moderation and a baking hobby hardly go hand in hand. (More like excess + baking hobby = harmonious harmony.)
Plus, I like to make things for people. I think this is somewhat of a cultural thing, the belief that love is demonstrated to others through food. So I feed people that I love (or at least like a lot), basically. The baking is not going to stop. The sugar can.
Enter this low-sugar chickpea brownie. Originally from the one and only Chocolate Covered Katie, this was meant to be her sugar-free version of her deep dish cookie pie which, let me tell you, is DELICIOUS. Coming from a person who grew up on traditional chocolate chip cookies, I do not think it tastes exactly like a normal cookie, but it’s moist and gooey and utterly delicious all the same. In order to reconcile my sassy stomach and stern mind to rest, I compromised in the form of this almost sugar-free chickpea cookie.
But look at that thing. Does that look like a cookie, I ask you? No. It looks like a fudge-y brownie. But it’s sort of more like cake. So here is what I’m calling a
chickpea brownie chocolate chickpea cake recipe, should you also feel the need to make something healthyish that tastes totally, ridiculously not healthy at all.
Katie lists a totally sugar-free version using stevia, but since I’m still wary of any sugar substitutes, I used the real stuff–and a little more of it than she called for, because I was nervous. That was probably needless; you could cut back the sugar by a tablespoon, if you so desire.
She also tossed the dates into the food processor with the rest of the wet ingredients, I assume–I was unsure of my food processor’s capacities and thus used this date-softening technique found on The Muffin Myth that the author uses to make sticky date pudding. Katie (of the Muffin Myth) says:
“I remembered an old recipe I used to make for sticky date pudding (yum!) where dates are boiled with water and then a teaspoon of baking soda is added to the pot. The reaction between the baking soda and the hot water first causes a fun foamy reaction, and then, once it’s sat for a while, the reaction causes the dates to break down into almost a paste. Or a jam. A jammy paste.”
I am fairly sure using this technique was what helped save my food processor from an early death. So I recommend it, and have included this tweak in the directions below.
Lastly, I was tempted to skimp on the chocolate chips–don’t. This creation is gooey and moist and dense and sweet, but the chocolate really saves it and, in fact, shoots it up to a whole new level of mind-blowing. Because in the midst of it all, you may forget that you’re eating BEANS. (And dates.)
Chocolate Chickpea Cake
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie
1 cup pitted dates (I used the brand Costco carries)
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 can white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed well)
1/2 cup quick oats
5 tablespoons sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda, divided
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened Silk)
1.5 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease an 8″ or 9″ round pan.
In a small pot, combine the dates and water and heat to boiling on high heat. As soon as the water boils, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir to combine. Mixture will foam alarmingly; let boil an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
While date mixture is cooling, combine all dry ingredients (except chips) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, milk, oil, vanilla and cooled dated mixture. If you, like me, have a small food processor, add around 1/2 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the wet ingredients into a high-powered food processor like a Cuisinart (don’t try to use a blender) and blend until as smooth as possible (no date chunks!). Scoop out into a bowl, and repeat the process with the rest of the ingredients. (If you have a large food processor, you may be able to do this in one batch.) Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour into greased pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes (check around 30 minutes and remove early if you want a really gooey center.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to remove it.