Friday, September 24, 2010

Sneaky Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Are you intrigued?  Trust me, they're wonderful.  I've adapted a recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook (Collins, 2007).  Preparing her furtive, vegetable-laced foods for my boys has been so much fun.  Timothy asks, "Mommy, why do you keep laughing while me and Matthew are eating these brownies?"  I want to blurt, "Because they're full of spinach and have 3 grams of fiber each!  And you're just  gobbling them right up!"  But of course I don't.  Putting on my best poker face, I say something about being oh-so-happy to be their Mommy (which is very true). 

My favorite moment since I first began slipping veggies in desserts was when I put yellow squash in lemon bars.  Some friends were visiting for the weekend and, after watching their faces to make sure they were loving them, I confessed, "Those contain a cup of pureed yellow squash!"  Our friend Josh was shocked and, staring at the half-eaten lemon bar in his hand, said in utter disbelief, "I hate yellow squash more than anything.  But these are really good."  However, he was a little suspicious of my mealtime offerings for the rest of the weekend. 

Back to the cookies.

Jessica's recipe uses a whole can of chickpeas.  And margarine.  I hate margarine.  I proudly used two whole sticks of rich, creamy butter in this recipe.  I've only added a 1/2 cup of chickpeas.  But you can experiment with the amount...see how far you can get before your family detects "the enemy" in their cookies.

**There are a lot of details in the instructions below.  I'm learning that 1) it's just my personality--you should see the "book" of instructions I leave when a sitter comes to watch the kids, and 2) I don't want to assume that everyone knows everything about baking and cooking.  I've already had some comments on my other recipe posts about how some readers didn't know "x" or "y" about cooking:  that's really encouraging to me.  I love to help and teach.** 

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed into the measuring cup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned chickpeas (also called Garbanzo beans)
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup rolled oats (oatmeal...but not the instant kind)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.

If you don't already have some, please, please, please get some parchment paper.  You won't have to 1) use baking spray, or 2) scrub your cookie sheets.   But...if you don't have any right now, do grease your cookie sheets. 

If you're like most people, you will not have time to set your butter out on the counter to soften for several hours before making these cookies.  Here's a trick:  microwave the butter for about 20-30 seconds--BUT NOT ANY LONGER!  The secret to having fluffy cookies is room temperature butter - but not at all melted.  Be a sentinal posted outside your microwave door and watch as the butter softens so you can get a good idea of what happens in 20-30 seconds.  Here's what the butter should look like when it's softened.  That's a whole stick wrapped around the spoon--it's that soft.

My favorite and most-used baking tool is my stand mixer.  It's a splurge, but if you like to bake goodies and  homemade bread, consider saving up to get one.  The mixing times below coincide with the stand mixer.  You'll get a good shoulder workout in if you mix it by hand (which will work just fine, by the way.  The best tool for mixing by hand is a sturdy wooden spoon.)

In the bowl of the mixer, combine the softened sticks of butter and both sugars.  This is a very important step in cookie-making:  mix until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes (high speed) with a mixer or, bless your heart, about 5 or 6 by hand.  This will form the base of the other cookie ingredients:  if it's too runny (i.e. if the butter is too soft or melted) the cookies will instantly succumb to the heat of the oven and s-p-r-e-a-d out to become really thin and will likely burn on the bottom.  

After the butter and sugars are combined (and go on and take a snitch here!  It's utterly delightful!), add in the vanilla and the eggs.  Mix for about 30 seconds at medium speed...just until things are well-combined.

Add the chickpeas, oatmeal, and chocolate chips.  (Confession:  when I decided to prepare and post this recipe, the boys were already down for their naps.  I only had half a bag of chocolate chips, and I wasn't going to wake them to go to the store for more.  But I still had the three leftover squares of Ghirardelli chocolate from yesterday's overindulgence, so I chopped it up and added it to the rest.  My point?  Be flexible and use what you have.)

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Using another bowl and having something else to clean is very annoying, but it's a must.  Otherwise, it never fails that Aunt Edna will eat the one cookie that has a clump of baking soda in it and she'll never let you forget about it.  Using the whisk really mixes things up nicely, ensuring your good standing with the relatives. 

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg/chickpea mixture and mix just long enough to make a dough (30 seconds to 1 minute at the most; be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times).  Don't overmix it.  Once flour intermingles with eggs and butter, incorporating too much air by stirring and mixing will make the cookies tough. 

I like to use a teaspoon to scoop out the dough and put it on the cookie sheet.  It makes everything nice and uniform.  I used a tablespoon for four of the cookies:  look at the picture below--the cookies on the left are made with a tablespoon of dough, everything else is a teaspoon--just the right size for kiddos.

Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remember - the cookies continue to bake after they're removed from the oven, so take them out when they're golden brown around the edges and light brown in the center.

This recipe makes 45 teaspoon-sized cookies plus 4 tablespoon-sized cookies.

NOTE: If you are absolutely grossed-out by the thought of adding chickpeas to your cookies, please omit them.  This is still a great cookie recipe sans chickpeas.  

****UPDATE****  When Timothy got up from his nap, I offered him a cookie.  He took a bite.  "Yummmmm."  Then he picked a non-stealth chickpea out of the top of his cookie and ate it.  "Oh no, Mommy," he said.  "Something really bad happened to that chocolate chip."

Perhaps you should mash up the chickpeas and then add them to the butter and sugar mixture.  That would mask them completely.  (But your family will still get the protein and fiber.)


Anonymous said...

Oh no! My first secret for cookies is to melt the butter most of the way... it seems to make the sugar melt and then the cookies aren't as grainy. Secret #2 is to reduce the total amount of sugar "a little bit" and to substitute some of the white with brown... Secret #3 is to chill the dough overnight. Secret #4: always add extra chips. :)

Have you tried the trick with boxed pudding mix? Apparently if you reduce the sugar by one cup and take out all the salt, you can add a box of pudding mix and get super chewy cookies. I haven't tried it yet. Sounds interesting though!

Ginny said...

Thanks! Those sound like good tricks. I'm never patient enough to try Secret #3. :)

I have made pudding mix cookies before, and they are good.

mummysairsair said...

I made a batch of these today and the kids and I LOVE them :) I used the entire can of chickpeas, but mashed them pretty well with about a tbsp of water before adding to the mix. I also didn't have any choc chips so just added some white cooking chocolate and cocoa.

I was concerned that the mix was too sticky when it was made, but looking at your picture I think it was about the same. Regardless, they turned out great. Thanks for sharing the recipe!