I have a habit of making every dessert contain chocolate. It’s a habit I only became conscious of recently after Geoff pointed it out. I love chocolate, it’s no secret and the fact that it sneaks its way into every sweet after-dinner treat goes to prove my addiction to the mighty bean. However, after becoming aware of how much chocolate featured in our daily diets, I decided to turn my brownie making mission into something on the lighter side. Blondies, were the chocolate-free version of a brownie I learned when seeking guidance from the internet on my choc-less baking dilemma. I’d never even come across a ‘blondie’ before, let alone made one, but I loved the idea. A crispy topped, gooey centered, sweet cake that’s densely delicious. These aren’t light airy cakes. Brownies and blondies are made to be heavy, in a satisfyingly self-indulgent way. My chocolate-free baking woes were over. I was game..
After some internet browsing I came across many recipes for blondies, mostly containing chocolate chips ( a kind of reverse brownie) but I couldn’t stop thinking about my favourite chocolate brownies contained black-beans from the amazing Emma, creator of My darling Lemon Thyme blog (and book!) They’re my go-to brownie recipe now. I’ve never changed them because they’re simply perfect as the are, so I decided to have a go at recreating the recipe into a bean-based blondie. After much experimentation with this recipe I have ended up with my version of a blondie which contains some unusual cake-ingredients but is none-the-less a taste explosion and nutrition-packed treat!
Instead of using black beans I chose chick peas to keep the light colour, and as I formulated the rest of the ingredients in the recipe, it reminded me of a sweet-hummus recipe I had seen in this book. The idea to turn it into a cake seemed perfect, so using chick peas as the base, dates to sweeten, tahini to add a rich depth, almond flour and eggs to bind and earthy, malty flavours from maca and lucuma the mixture resembled hummus but I hoped it would turn out to be the cake I had been concocting in my head! A sprinkling of plump raisins and my blondie creation was ready for the oven. The proof would be in the baking. Would my bean/tahini/maca bake live up to my bean-brownie dreams……?
Well after a few attempts (each one getting devoured none-the-less!) I had my recipe nailed and I think this will satisfy anyone searching for a sweet, treat (no one need know that they’re made mainly from chick-peas!) All of my favourite flavours were contained in the gooey, sweet squares and I had to restrain myself from going back for thirds ; ) They have a distinct tahini flavour (which I love) and the malty maca goes so well with this. There is no hint of ‘beany-ness’ about them, the beans simply create the awesome texture and pack a punch of protein which is a huge bonus. Tasty, healthy and ‘complete’ enough for breakfast? Tick. Tick. Tick. Make these your new go-to breakfast/snack/desert. I have, and my chocolate addiction seems to have been replaced by a tahini-bean-blondie addiction. Welcome to the tahini-anonymous club. I’m sure there are more than just a few of you out there!
On my final round of baking these and many blondies down, I stumbled across this idea of adding sweet white miso paste to caramel sauce to make an umami- salted caramel. I was intrigued to say the least! I tried adding some white miso to some sweet dishes and the flavour is ridiculously good. So complex, sweet, salty and moreish! I made a quick caramel icing made from more tahini and dates with an umami-miso undertone and it took the blondies to the next level of Wow! Seriously try the tahini-miso caramel on more than just this recipe. I have a jar in my fridge with is being used a s a dip and topping on most sweet things these days ; )
Swapping nutrient-less flours for protein packed beans, dairy-fats for good fats from tahini and olive oil and the sweet-evil sugar for super-savvy dates, these blondies pack in a whopping boost of protein, are high in iron, calcium and potassium. Your body will be giving you a huge high-five and your spirit high on sweet-super food goodness!
A few notes on the recipe. I made these the first time without the tahini caramel and they were delicious just as they are, so if you’re not as much of a tahini addict as I , feel free to enjoy them naked; ) I also made these the first few times using cannelloni beans, and they were equally as delicious. I also noticed alot of recipes for blondies that used peanut butter as the fat in the recipe. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure that these would work just as well and be amazing in a peanut-buttery heavenly way if you prefer to try that out. You can add dark-chocolate chips instead of raisins for a semi-chocolaty version! If you don’t have maca or lucuma powder, you can leave them out and add some sweet spices such as cinnamon and cardamon instead (1 tsp of each instead of 1 tbsp). Lastly, if given half the chance, these last for up to 10 days and stay incredibly moist in an air tight container. I know, not likely but if you happen to have these hanging around, you wont be disappointed!
150g dates soaked in 3/4 cup hot water
1 410g chick peas, drained
3 free range eggs
4 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Olive oil
50g almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp lucuma powder
1/2 cup raisins (or dairy-free choc-chips)
For the Tahini caramel
1 tbsp Tahini
2 tbsp date syrup/ maple syrup/ rice syrup
2 tsp light sweet miso
Line a 9” square baking tin with parchement or use a non-stick silicon pan. Pre-heat your oven to 180 deg C.
Place the dates with their soak water in a food processor and process until you have a smooth date-paste. Drain the chickpeas and add to the processor and process until it resembles hummus. Add the eggs, tahini, olive oil and almond flour and powders and process until smooth. Add the raisins or choc-chips and pulse a few times to combine. Pour the mixture into your tin and place in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack whilst you prepare your caramel.
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients until smooth, adding a little water if it seems to thick. If you are using dates (as i did), you will need to blend some dates in water first before using the paste to mix with the tahini and miso. Date paste keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and is a great sweetener for porridge or cakes.
When cool, spread the caramel over the blondies before cutting into squares. If you want to keep the blondies for longer, cut them before icing and serve with a dollop of caramel on top. They will keep for up to 10 days un-iced or 4-5 days iced in the fridge.
I hope you enjoy these un-conventional yet -yummy blondies and am inspired to try out using miso in your sweet dishes from now on! I know I am ; ) ** working on miso caramel pouring sauce as I type!**