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An ode to granny: chocolatey, gooey chickpea cakes

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A little sweet treat for you to knock your socks off!

Well, most of you anyway. I do have a friend who hates chickpeas with a passion and even though these are brilliantly disguised, I know that this will be a hard no for her!

Ah well …. you can’t win them all. I made these blondies a while ago and up until that point, I’d never heard of a blondie. If you haven’t either, it’s basically a brownie but without the cocoa powder. They’re sweet, kind of cake-like but also gooey in the centre. And there ARE chocolate chips, so it’s not completely chocolate-free!

In this recipe, I have added some coffee to the batter for an overall mocha experience. My granny passed recently (at 99 – what a lady!) and she loved both coffee and sugar … so I made these thinking of her.

As well as being gluten/dairy-free - depending on the chocolate chips you use - Catherine Burns’s mocha chickpea blondies are also vegan, making these a big hit all-round (Photograph by Catherine Burns)

I was lucky to see granny over the summer last year and have a few visits with her. I knew it might be the last time I saw her, so I didn’t hold back on the “I love yous”.

It’s certainly different to lose someone when it’s timely and when you had a chance to tell them how you feel. It leaves a hole and I still wish I had asked more questions and made more effort … I guess these are the experiences that make you grow and be better for the next time.

As always, it’s harder for the ones left behind – I feel for my mum, her sister, their brothers … the ones she was a mum for. Gosh, losing people is hard. I just know I’m lucky to have had her around for so long and that my kids are old enough to hold memories of her always.

At the last meal I had with granny, she had a bowl of strawberries and covered them with sugar. She gleefully said “I love sugar!!” and we all agreed that at 99 years old, there is nothing wrong with loving sugar. She also loved butter. We always used to joke and ask her if she would like some bread with her butter (rather than the other way round). If you can live to 99 with lashings of butter and sugar then why hold back?

As well as being gluten/dairy-free - depending on the chocolate chips you use - Catherine Burns’s mocha chickpea blondies are also vegan, making these a big hit all-round (Photograph by Catherine Burns)

My mum was the one to point out that granny grew up during the war where butter and sugar were rationed and that, while she loved those things, her diet was pretty absent of the processed stuff.

She ate home-cooked meals with piles of vegetables her entire life. I guess that’s the lesson here – that if you get it right most of the time and that if you avoid the processed junk, you optimise your chances of acing old age! But of course, it also shows us there’s room for a few treats too. And so we can justify the blondies!

This recipe isn’t entirely unhealthy. Yes, there’s sugar but I have used agave to keep the glycemic index down a little. Instead of flour we use chickpeas – this adds lots of protein and fibre, always a great idea when making a sweet snack as these slow down sugar release for more sustained energy. As well as being gluten/dairy-free (depending on the chocolate chips you use) they are also vegan, making these a big hit all-round. There are a few people who are biologically allergic to beans/chickpeas and a few who are mentally allergic to them too – Julia! So you should always let people know when there is a surprise ingredient. Maybe just not your kids.

As well as being gluten/dairy-free - depending on the chocolate chips you use - Catherine Burns’s mocha chickpea blondies are also vegan, making these a big hit all-round (Photograph by Catherine Burns)

Have a great weekend one and all!

Mocha Chickpea Blondies

Needs an 8 x 8 baking pan and a food processor/bullet.

Ingredients:

1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

½ cup almond butter

1/3 cup + 2 tbsps agave nectar

4 tbsps very strong coffee

2 tsps vanilla essence

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt (optional, but great)

Light olive oil or avocado oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and brush/spray your pan with light olive oil or avocado oil

2. In a food processor/blender, blend all ingredients except the chocolate chips until the batter is smooth. This will be thick.

3. Stir in chocolate chips (you can do this in the pan below if you used a bullet-style blender).

4. Pour the batter into your pan spread evenly.

5. Cook for 20 to 25 mins until the edges are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Once out of the oven, sprinkle with course sea salt.

6. Cool thoroughly including some fridge time. Cut into squares once properly set. Enjoy!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published March 11, 2022 at 8:02 am (Updated March 11, 2022 at 8:02 am)

An ode to granny: chocolatey, gooey chickpea cakes

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