My neighbors have become accustomed to my ringing their doorbells to borrow the odd ingredient. Yet I’ve never seen a neighbor more skeptical than when I asked for a can of chickpeas to make a dessert: ooey-gooey AND healthy Chickpea Blondies.
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Chickpeas? In blondies? She made no attempt to disguise her skepticism.
When I dropped off some of the finished chewy blondies in all their delectable glory a few hours later as a thank-you, my neighbor was clearly still dubious…but no level of apprehension can override the alluring scent of a freshly baked treat.
Two minutes later, I had a text: “THESE ARE AMAZING!!! If there’s any left by the time my husband and daughter get home, I can’t wait for him to try them too. I’m not going to them about the chickpeas!”
Two hours later, this text: “They loved them! No one would believe me about the chickpeas! Can we get the recipe?”
Stealthy healthy for the unanimous win!
It might sound odd to bake with chickpeas.
Even my husband Ben, who has eaten every dessert I’ve baked since the day Zucchini Brownies came to life and thus is attuned to my healthy tricks (Sweet Potato Brownies, Avocado Brownies, Black Bean Brownies, etc.) expressed his shock at the secret reveal.
Ben was originally a brownie purist, theorizing that a dessert could not possibly contain an ingredient as overtly healthy as chickpeas and taste delish AT THE SAME TIME.
Too bad I’m a pro at debunking his “theories”!
Chickpea blondies are low calorie since no butter is required. Once blended, the chickpeas provide the necessary moisture and bind the bars.
Another case in point: this great big, marvelously-melty skillet Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie is basically a giant blondie and is made with chickpeas and has become a reader favorite amongst favorites.
In addition to chickpeas, these blondies are loaded with other healthy ingredients. In fact, they are both flourless (only oats are used) and are refined sugar free (pure maple syrup is the sweetener).
5 Star Review
“They were a HUGE hit!!! I had to keep from chuckling when my family said it was the best dessert at Thanksgiving – beating out the local bakery-made apple, cherry, and pecan pies – because there is no way they would have even tried the blondies had they known about the beans! Ha! (I’ll never tell!)”— Shannon —
A Healthy Dessert for the Holidays (or Any Day!)
I’m never one to skip dessert, which is why I like having healthy alternatives like these blondies.
- Indulge. As we enter the heart of the holiday baking season, chickpea blondies are a perfect way to indulge a little more wholesomely without missing a morsel.
- Easy Alternative. I also love the idea of bringing a pan of these chewy chickpea blondies to a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebration. They are magnificently easier to make than a pie yet still display that from-scratch caring and comfort that we all seek in our holiday meals.
- Diet Friendly for All. Need a dessert that’s vegan, gluten free, AND dairy free, yet still tastes great to everyone, regardless of their diet? These blondies are all of the above!
- Game Time. You can play a round of “guess the secret ingredient” at the table. (I never tire of doing this every time I bake these, and most of the time, my friends are stumped!).
How to Make Chickpea Blondies
This is an ultra-chewy blondie recipe that’s rich and densely chewy (just like a traditional blondie), and maple syrup gives it extra flair.
These blondies taste incredibly rich, yet are naturally sweetened, vegan, and gluten free if you need.
- Chickpeas. Our sneaky, wholesome addition that helps make the blondies supremely moist. Chickpeas are packed with protein and fiber, which also makes these blondies extra satisfying. They are also the (secret) star in Chickpea Cookie Dough.
- Oats. Rolled oats act like flour in this flourless recipe, giving the blondies structure.
- Peanut Butter. If you prefer to make chickpea blondies without peanut butter, you can swap in almond butter or a nut butter of your choice. To make these completely nut-free, use sun butter.
- Coconut Oil. Thanks to the moisture and structure the chickpeas provide, just two tablespoons of coconut oil are all you need to make these blondies taste as decadent as if they were made with butter. If you do not need the recipe to be vegan, you can swap melted unsalted butter.
- Vanilla + Cinnamon. These blondies wouldn’t be complete without the warmth and coziness that both vanilla and cinnamon provide.
- Maple Syrup + Extract. To keep these blondies naturally sweetened, I used a touch of maple syrup. Plus, adding a bit of maple extract helps boost the maple flavor and makes these blondies bewitching.
- Mix-ins. See the “Mix-ins” section below for great ideas!
- Even though one may think making chickpea blondies with applesauce would be a common swap for the oil, I do not recommend it here. Since the amount of coconut oil is already very little, replacing it with applesauce risks making the blondies too dry.
- You may have noticed this recipe does not include eggs, which are not necessary because the nut butter and chickpeas make the batter plenty moist. Leaving out the egg makes these blondies more chewy just like a classic blondie, and keeps this dessert vegan too!
- Pulse the oats in a food processor. Add the beans, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and extract, processing until smooth.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the mix-ins. Blend until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the mix-ins.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes.
- Once the bars have cooled to room temperature, remove them, slice, and DIG IN!
The Best Mix-ins for Chickpea Blondies
One of my absolute favorite aspects of blondies is the number of options for mix-ins. They’re like a choose-your-own-adventure book! You can try one combination this week, and a different combination for alternative flavors next week.
Try any of these possibilities to make your chickpea blondies a special treat:
- Chocolate Chips. Can’t go wrong at all there!
- Peanut Butter Chips. For extra peanut butter-licious flavor.
- Toasted Nuts. Diced pecans or walnuts for more crunch.
- Dried Cranberries. Enjoy some fruity sweetness.
- White Chocolate. Chickpea blondies with white chocolate is one of my favorite inclusions! In the photos, you can see a mix of dark chocolate, white chocolate, and pecans.
- To Store. Refrigerate blondies in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days. They taste even better on day 2.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
Recommended Tools to Make Chickpea Blondies
- Baking Pan. Perfect for blondies, brownies, and many other baking recipes.
- Rubber Spatula. My ideal tool for stirring and smoothing the tops of baked goods.
- Food Processor. Helps to create a perfectly smooth batter.
- 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats gluten free if needed
- 1 15-ounce can low-sodium chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple extract optional
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips divided
- 1/3 cup additional mix-ins of choice, divided: I used a mix of white chocolate chips and chopped pecans
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on two sides like handles, then lightly coat the paper with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the oats until well ground. Add the beans, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and maple extract and process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend until the oats are completely broken up and the mixture looks thick and smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times. It may take several minutes.
- If the mixture feels warm from the food processor, let it cool a bit (the chocolate chips will melt otherwise). Add the chocolate chips, reserving 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top as desired. Add the remaining mix-ins, again saving a little to decorate the top if you like.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan (it will be very thick) and, with an offset spatula or spoon, smooth the top. Sprinkle on the reserved chocolate chips and mix-ins. Bake for 18 minutes, until the top lightly cracks at the endges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake!
- Let the bars cool to room temperature in the pan. Lift from the pan with the parchment paper, slice, and enjoy! The bars taste even better when refrigerated overnight.
- A prior version of this recipe included a maple glaze; if you like you can add the glaze: combine 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon milk of choice, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Spread over the cooled bars.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate blondies in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
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