Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Guilt-Free Cookie Dough Squares

The other day I was having one of those moments where I saw a recent photo of myself and was like, "Alright, time to get a little healthier again."  I'd made falafel waffles (which is fun to sing ♪♪♫), just using our Falafel Recipe and cooking it in the waffle maker with no fat; a lot better than our regular frying.  That had me remembering how healthy garbanzo beans are for us and brain storming what other ways besides hummus, falafel and salads that I could use them.  Several years ago, I remember coming across recipes for "dessert hummus" that tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough.  I made it once back then, ate it with graham crackers or something and didn't seem real impressed with it.

BUT... I thought I could probably improve upon it and turn it into a "square" or "bar" recipe.  And that's just what I did tonight!  I even took the time to go through my Guilt-Free Cookie Dough Squares recipe versus one batch of the original Nestle Toll House cookie recipe to see how much healthier mine actually was.  I figured they're pretty close to the same size in quantity, looking at the ingredient amounts... you might even get more out of mine than you would a batch of cookies.  And mine came in 2000+ calories less than one batch of cookies, almost half as many carbohydrates and sugars, and more protein!

And the beautiful thing is... they taste exactly like raw cookie dough on tasty crust!  You're getting carbs that are low on the glycemic index (at least in comparison to flour which is the main ingredient in chocolate chip cookies).  That means they release their sugars more slowly in the body - they're longer lasting and they don't spike your body's glucose levels. 

This recipe can also be made gluten-free and/or vegan! I used AP flour in the crust, but since you're not looking for the crust to rise, you could easily substitute a rice flour or an almond flour - I haven't tried it, but I don't foresee any issues.  I also used butter, but coconut oil could be used in its place.  And carob chips would be a fantastic substitute to chocolate chips! 

Let's listen to The Lurkers - "I Don't Need To Tell Her".  -jen


GUILT-FREE COOKIE DOUGH SQUARES
Time:  40 minutes with 2 hours cooling time
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  18 squares

Crust:
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup AP flour (or gluten-free flour - rice, almond, etc)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened (or coconut oil)
Filling:
  • 2 (15oz) cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (plus 1/3 cup for drizzling - optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Prepare a 13"x9" baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In a food processor, combine all of the crust ingredients except the butter.  Pulse once or twice to combine.  Add softened butter and pulse until all the dry ingredients are combined, no longer look dry and clumps begin to form.  Turn out into prepared baking dish and using the palm of your hand, press the mixture firmly into the pan evenly, working it part-way up the sides.   Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and edges are just starting to get dark.  Remove from oven and let cool completely (thirty minutes to an hour).

Meanwhile, combine the garbanzo beans, 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, peanut butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt and baking soda in a food processor (I just wiped it out after doing the crust).  Turn processor on high and add a little of the almond milk at a time, until mixture is smooth and reached desired consistency.  You may not need to use the full 1/4 cup.  Remove mixture from food processor and stir in 2/3 cup chocolate chips by hand.

Spoon the garbanzo mixture into the cooled crust and spread evenly.  If you like, melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips in a small bowl for 30 seconds in microwave.  Stir and microwave in 15 second increments until melted.  Using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the cookie dough squares.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Cut into squares.

Store in refrigerator.


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