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Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookies

December 8, 2012

Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookies!DECEMBER 6th, 2012 — Breaking out the holiday season with baked generosity. I made these for my film school classmates, since we all just finished our first quarter as UCLA Film majors. One of my classmates is gluten-free, however, which challenged me to go where I usually don’t bother to go: accommodating other people’s preferences / diets.

I thought that while I was at it, I might as well go the extra mile and make it vegan!

I researched around and recalled, in my many food blog wanderings, coming across things like brownies made with black beans, and chocolate chip cookies made with chickpeas.

Most chocolate isn’t vegan, and the last time I bought chocolate for a recipe I was making for others, I ended up eating a LOT of the leftovers, and was not about to repeat the same sad occurrence. Sometimes vegan recipes will use carob, which I’ve tried and not fancied. I wasn’t about to use that.

Many chickpea cookie recipes also call for almond butter, and warn that peanut butter works consistency-wise, but will produce a very peanut-y flavor. Which is fine by me, because I love peanuts. And what goes well with peanut butter? Dried cranberries—which will give the cookie either an impression of the PB&J, or perhaps trail mix.

So what did you do?
I was HIGHLY recommended to make my own peanut butter to prevent giving the cookies an oily texture. Naturally, I support that, so I took the direction of placing 1 cup of roasted peanuts into a blender, expecting peanut butter after 4 or so minutes on high. Our apartment’s food processor wasn’t working, which I was supposed to use.
This was the dumbest thing in the world.
Blender blades don’t reach very far into the sides of your container, so it would finely chop the peanuts around them, but not be able to reach the rest. I ended up stopping the blender every 20 seconds to try and mix the peanuts inside the blender and continue. It was ludicrous. It made the entire cookie-making process excessively long.

To the blender, I added
-1.5 cups drained chickpeas (a typical-sized can)
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/8 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt

Since the blender clearly wasn’t working out, I dumped out the dough and worked it with my hands. It’s messy and sticky, and I had to crush / mash the chickpeas individually. After roughly kneading the dough, I used a pastry blender.
Then I folded in about 1/2 cup dried cranberries and a few drizzles of honey.

Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie

See? The insides kinda look like cookies!

These baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes (a struggle).

*It’s important to note that because it’s a flour-less recipe, there’s very little rising involved, and the shapes you mold them before baking are pretty much the shapes they’ll take after baking.

Result? Really quite delicious. Soft and moist, and dense and chewy (more like cookie dough, not a fluffy cake-cookie)! Not too sweet. The dried cranberries, if anything, are the tangy sweet counterpart to the comforting flavor and aroma of peanut butter.

And to think that all the fat in this hearty cookie comes strictly from peanuts!

Lessons learned?
Just use pre-made peanut butter. Probably produces the same effect. And also, there is absolutely no substitute for a food processor when trying to purify something pretty dry and solid.

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