Peanut Butter Chickpea Blondies
Last week I opened a small boarding school for girls. At least that’s what I was calling it when three of my daughter’s friends bunked in with us for several days. It was a study pod of sorts, to bring some community into the world of virtual high school. I’m not sure anyone was happier than I to have a full house and an excuse to fill it with baked goods.
Chickpeas? In Blondies?
One afternoon, while tinkering with a batch of blondies, the girls joined me in the kitchen (the sounds and smells of baking always draws kids to the stove, no?).
As I dumped chickpeas, peanut butter, and brown sugar into the food processor, the girls watched with the kind of curiosity and skepticism I’ve come to expect of teenagers. When one asked why chickpeas in chocolate chip bars, I explained how I like to mess with recipes to make them more nourishing, but not at the expense of taste. Adding fiber-rich ingredients and scaling back sugar means the blondies will provide more sustained energy and are likely to be more satisfying (and hopefully, really tasty, too).
And they were. At least that was my takeaway watching the girl tackle the blondies that first day, followed by seconds the next.
Easy to Make
They’re also really easy to make. The whole thing gets done in a food processor, which is essential to pulverize the chickpeas enough to blend into the batter. Then, it’s just a matter of patting them into a baking pan and getting them into the oven.
Better to Under Bake
Key for success with these Peanut Butter Chickpea Blondies is not to over bake them. Pull them out when they’re still a little soft in the center, knowing they will continue to set up once they’re out of the oven. It’s not so different from the slight under baking that goes on with a good chocolate chip cookie.
Make Gluten-Free Blondies
These chickpea blondies were developed using all-purpose and whole-wheat flour. The combo makes for a wholesome and sturdy bar. That said, you can substitute gluten-free flours, if desired. I’d recommend a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend or a combination of half GF flour blend and half nut flour (such as almond, hazelnut, or coconut).
A Better Bar
Swapping in healthier ingredients and scaling back sugar means the bars are more nutritious. I also find they don’t leave me with a food hangover the way a super sweet buttery bar might. Plus, they pack in about 1/3 fewer calories and 1/3 less sugar than other blondie recipes I compared them to. Add a glass of milk and you have a sweet treat that satisfies, whether that’s for you, your crew of homeschoolers, or a small boarding house for girls.
For more healthy (ish) bar recipes, check out:
Peanut Butter Chickpea Blondies
A sweet treat of a snack bar that manages to pack in a little nutrition, too. Be sure not to over bake the bars. Pull them out when they’re still a bit soft in the center. They will set up as they cool!
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (drained well and rinsed)
- 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled (or GF all-purpose flour blend)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (or any nut flour or GF all-purpose flour blend)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 heaping cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that it drapes over two sides.
Put the chickpeas, peanut butter, and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Run until very creamy and smooth. Add the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla and run again to blend. Add the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt, and run until combined with no obvious streaks of flour. Scatter in the chocolate chips and mix them in with a spoon (it’s a little awkward, but will save you cleaning another bowl).
Transfer to the baking pan and press with your hands to fill out the pan so the batter is smooth across the top.
Bake until the edges just begin to brown lightly and it’s still a little soft in the center, about 16 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Cut into 16 bars. Store in an air-tight container.