chickpea cookie dough

I know, I know... you probably read the title of the post and thought 'gross'.  BUT hear me out!  This stuff is delicious, addictive AND healthy (ta-da!)  Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fibre and iron, plus there's added goodness from the oatmeal and peanut butter.  I love being able to eat something that tastes like a treat, but is actually keeping my healthy eating on track.  

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it's adaptable: you can use various nut butters or milks.  You could use white beans instead of chickpeas.  The recipe could easily be made gluten-free (a big plus in my family) or even vegan.  I use 1/4 cup brown sugar, but you could add more or less.  You could also use alternative sweeteners, like agave or maple syrup.  This is the framework, but you can adjust it to your taste.  

Ok, so maybe now you're thinking that you'll give it a try, but you're wondering what you do with it.  Personally, I'm all for eating it by the spoonful, but it also makes a great fruit dip/spread.  It's really yummy with apple slices or with strawberries.  I also like to put some with in a container with vanilla yogurt and bring it along to work as a mid-morning snack.  

A quick note about equipment.  You really should use a food processor (or super-blender like  Vitamix) for this recipe.  A regular blender isn't going to be able to make the cookie dough smooth enough while keeping the consistency nice and thick, so you might be disappointed with the results.  I use a Cuisinart food processor and it makes easy work of this recipe.  

Chickpea Cookie Dough

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well 
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I use unsweetened peanut butter)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (other types of milk would be fine too)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Add all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to the bowl of the food processor.  Blend for about 5 minutes, until it's smooth.  There will be a few tiny lumps from the oatmeal.  Stir in the chocolate chips afterwards and transfer to a bowl or container.  It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.  

recipe adapted from chocolatecoveredkatie.com

zucchini loaf

It's that time of year again - zucchini is everywere in abundance!  We were given a few large zucchini by my mother-in-law, so I knew I would be making at least one zucchini loaf.  Something about zucchini loaf reminds me of school lunches...I can remember enjoying a slice of with a little bit of butter as a treat in my lunch box when I was in elementary school.  Back in those days, if it had chocolate chips it was pretty much the best ever :)  I guess I must be more of a grown-up these days, because I decided to add walnuts to this one.

This loaf has really nice flavour and good texture, but I think the next time I make it I'll try to increase the zucchini and maybe experiment with using some whole wheat flour.  I really liked the background flavour from the cinnamon and toasting the walnuts definitely brings out their nutty flavour.  I think this is a treat worth enjoying whether it's in your school lunch box or as an afternoon snack at work.

Zucchini Loaf

  • 1 cup grated zucchini (with peel)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9X5" loaf pan.  Toast the chopped walnuts for about 5 minutes in the preheated oven - until they become fragrant.

Stir zucchini, eggs, cooking oil, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl.  Combine the dry ingredients and walnuts together in a medium-sized bowl, then add to the zucchini mixture.  Stir just to combine then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only moist crumbs on it.

Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove it.

Recipe adapted from: Biscuits, Muffins & Loaves by Company's Coming

birthday cupcakes

These aren't just any old birthday cupcakes...

These cupcakes are to celebrate the birth of our little Jellybean!  Hannah was born on July 20th and I can't believe she's one month old already.  I love her so much and my heart absolutely melts every time she gives me a big toothless grin, snuggles her head into my chest or wraps her tiny fingers around my finger.  I find myself staring into her beautiful blue eyes and wondering who she will be as she continues to grow.  What will her personality be like?  What will she be interested in?  What sorts of adventures will we have together?  I'm looking forward to all the things that come along with little girls, like playing dollies, dress-up & tea parties.  In fact, these pink cupcakes would be perfect for a tea party!  I'm sure Hannah and I will enjoy spending time together in the kitchen making all sorts of yummy treats :)

What better way to celebrate my baby girl then with pretty cupcakes?  I chose to make vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.  The cake recipe makes tasty cupcakes with excellent vanilla flavour.  The cake is a bit dense, but in my opinion that gives them a lovely homemade feeling.  I used fresh strawberries to make the puree for the buttercream, and they gave it a really wonderful flavour.  It was seriously hard to resist eating the frosting by the spoonful!  I made a small mistake with my buttercream, and didn't let the egg/sugar mixture cool enough before I started adding butter - this, combined with the warmer temperatures outside, resulted in runny buttercream because too much of the butter had melted.  Lesson learned!  (The cupcakes still tasted great though)

Yellow Cupcakes

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F and line muffin tins with paper liners (recipe makes 24 cupcakes)

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in the bowl of the stand mixer.  Add the butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla to the bowl, then beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients at medium speed, until well combined - about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir the batter to combine any last bits of flour mixture.  Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins - I like to use a cookie scoop.  Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 lb strawberries

First wash and trim the tops from the strawberries and puree them in the food processor or blender.  Put the puree in a small saucepan and reduce by half.  Use a fine mesh sieve to strain out the seeds; you will need to push the puree through with a spatula or the back of a spoon.  Set the strained strawberry puree aside.  Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Set the bowl over a small amount of simmering water in a saucepan - make sure the bottom of the mixer bowl doesn't touch the water.  Continue whisking the mixture until it is foamy and has reached 160F.  Put the bowl onto the stand mixer and whisk the mixture at medium-high speed until it has cooled to room temperature; at least 5 minutes.  It's important to make sure the egg/sugar mixture has properly cooled or the butter will melt when added.  Cut the butter into 16 pieces and add the butter one piece at a time while the mixer runs at medium speed.  After all the butter has been added add two tablespoons of strawberry puree and mix to combine then add another two tablespoons and mix again.  Add more strawberry puree to taste (I used 6 tablespoons).  Increase the speed of the mixer to high and whisk for a further one minute until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Recipes adapted from Baking Illustrated.

bunny bait

Happy Easter!  I hope you're enjoying the lovely sunny weather we've been blessed with and some time with family & friends this weekend.  And, of course, some sweet treats!  What would Easter be without sweets and candies?

This Bunny Bait is sure to entice the Easter Bunny to leave some treats at your place!  It's so easy to make, and impossible to resist picking-away at if it's anywhere in sight.  Also, how can you resist sprinkles?  They make all treats more festive.

Bunny Bait

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels - popped
  • 1 1/2 cup pretzel pieces, broken into large pieces
  • about 2 cups white chocolate melting wafers
  • 1 bag Easter m&m's
  • sprinkles

First pop your popcorn - it's better to use a popcorn without oils, butter or salt.  I popped my popcorn in Paperchef parchment paper cooking bags.  It was seriously so easy, I just put 1/4 cup popcorn at a time into the bag, folded over the top and used the "popcorn" setting on my microwave.  It popped up nice and fluffy with no oils at all.  I think you could also use another type of microwave popcorn.

Get a large cookie sheet ready by lining it with parchment paper.  Break up the pretzels and toss them into the popcorn.  Melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave.  Give them 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smoothly melted.  Pour the chocolate over the popcorn & pretzels and stir together.  Don't spend too much time stirring, because you want the sprinkles to stick to the chocolate before it cools.  Turn the mix out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and add the sprinkles, then the m&m's.

Recipe adapted from: Bake at 350.  Thank you Pinterest!

white chocolate pecan blondies

I like blondies - they're kind-of like chocolate chip cookies in bar form.  In other words tasty, but also super-easy.  I like soft cookies, so these hit the spot with a chewy texture and they're filled with little bits of white chocolate, skor toffee bits and toasted pecan - yum.  Don't skip the toasting step for the pecans!  It adds lots of great nutty flavour which helps balance out the sweet flavour of the blondies.

White Chocolate Pecan Blondies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup skor bits
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 9 X 13" baking dish with parchment paper (to make for easy removal from the pan).

In a medium sized bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  In another large bowl whisk the melted butter with the brown sugar until combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips, skor bits and pecan pieces.  The batter will be very thick.  Turn the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the blondies look shiny and feels firm to the touch.  Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before using the parchment paper to lift the blondies out of the pan and cut into 1" X 2" bars.

Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated.