Caramel & White Chocolate ~ Chickpea Blondies

Yep I was at it again.

After the pool party last Saturday, and bringing my Dulce de Leche Black Bean Brownies, I felt bad for one of my dear friends who is allergic to chocolate. She obviously couldn’t eat these delectable treats, but I told her that I would be trying my hand at some that she could eat.

She asked what I would be using in place of the black beans, because well, even black beans sounded odd in a dessert.

Why, Chickpeas of course! I figured that I should be able to pull it off. Why not? Chickpeas make humus and that is thick and creamy, so transferring them to a blondie, could um work, right?

I was going to find out.

I adjusted the recipe for the Black Bean brownies just a little.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can 15 oz low sodium chickpeas (I used Goya)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1  tablespoon Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ~13.4 oz can of Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Caramel

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 8×8 square baking pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches exposed on all sides.

Using a blender, or food processor if you have one,  add chickpeas, egg, sugar, cocoa, yogurt, vanilla, oil, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth and creamy.

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Transfer batter into a bowl, and fold in half of the white chocolate chips until combined.

Pour batter into baking pan and spread evenly. Using a teaspoon, dollop as much as you’d like of the caramel on top of the blondie batter. Finish it off with the remaining white chocolate chips.

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Bake the blondies about 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into batter comes out clean. You will notice a little gooeyness from the white chocolate chips, but it should still be fairly dry.

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Allow the blondies to cool completely on the counter in their baking pan before removing them out of the pan, along with the parchment paper, to cut into bite sized squares.

Here’s a little oopsie on my part. Well, Davids lol. I had baked these beautiful blondies, and had them cooling on the counter for about an hour. David knew that they would eventually be placed in the fridge to cool for a few hours, and decided to help me out. He graciously covered them with foil, and placed them in the refrigerator. I didn’t think anything of it and just saw it as being thoughtful. Until the next morning, when I uncovered them and saw the moisture. I went to cut them into squares, and their texture changed slightly. They were more moist than the night before, because of the condensation that developed overnight in the fridge. No harm, no foul. I sent them off to my lovely friend, and to some of the Baristas at the local coffee shop. To my surprise, because I’m always harder on myself for shortcomings, the blondies were a hit! Yes they were more moist than one would like, but the flavor was still there.

So heed my warning, cool them off completely on the counter before transferring them to the fridge. 

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The result will be absolutely delectable, I mean look at that caramel and white chocolate! And no one tasted chickpeas, or even remotely thought of humus while eating them. Success I say!

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Dulce de Leche ~Black Bean Brownie Bites

Boy is that a mouthful! And a deliciously chewy, fudgey, mouthful at that.

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These brownies might be bite sized and Gluten Free, but it’s far from small on flavor and as for the Black Beans, you can’t even tell they’re in there. Even the most discerning of pallets won’t notice a difference in texture or flavor in these brownie bites.

How do I know?

I set up some of my closest friends and a group of strangers at a pool party Saturday afternoon, and nonchalantly placed a tray of them among the other items on the desert bar.  Let’s just the treats remaining after everyone had their fill of decadent sweets didn’t include any of my brownie bites.

That’s right. They were all gone!

All except for 3 little bites, because the lovely lady who tried them isn’t a brownie fan to begin with and finds brownies too sweet for her liking. However she did try one as a great sport, and although she said she wasn’t fond of it, it was based on the sweet factor. She didn’t notice anything off texture or flavor wise, and when I finally revealed that these brownies had a secret ingredient everyone was floored to find out it was black beans.

My friends are aware if I’m baking or cooking and they see me eating the dish I’ve brought, it’s 100% gluten free. So that comes along with the territory. But this was a gathering of close friends and some new, so not everyone had my background info. Black beans in a dessert? That they surely weren’t expecting from me.

But the compliments, and asking if there were more left made my day. These brownies were among donuts, real chocolate brownies, cannoli cake, munchkins, cupcakes and a slew of other treats. Yet these were devoured.

So enough talking about how great they are, get to baking my friends.

By the way, while mixing the batter, which is seriously so simple, Dave had to lick the spoon. Don’t worry I used another one to finish up 😉 and although he knew there were black beans in it, he didn’t even taste them. And trust me, if he didn’t like it he would tell me. This was also before the chocolate chips and caramel got into the mix. I think it’s safe to say, these brownie bites will leave everyone thinking they’re just good old-fashioned “real brownies”.

Ingredients

  • 1 can 15 oz low sodium black beans (I used Goya)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1  1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s White Modena Vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1~13.4 oz can of Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Caramel

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 8×8 square baking pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches exposed on all sides.

I don’t have a food processor, which would probably make this even easier than it was using a blender, but this is still so simple to do that you’ll be making them quite often.

Add black beans, eggs, sugar, cocoa, milk, vinegar, vanilla, oil, baking soda, and baking powder in the blender until smooth.

Transfer the batter into a bowl and mix in 1/2 of the chocolate chips until combined.

Pour batter into baking pan. Using a teaspoon, dollop as much as you’d like of the caramel on top of the brownie batter.

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Next, sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.

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You can swirl the caramel throughout the batter if you’d like or leave it as dollops on top. Totally up to you

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To swirl or not to swirl, that is the question, and I couldn’t decide so I did a little bit of both.

Bake the brownies about 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. You will notice a little gooeyness from the chocolate chips but it should be fairly dry knife.

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Allow the brownies to cool completely before removing them along with the parchment paper out of the pan to cut into bite size squares.

I left them on the counter to cool for a few hours, and then transferred the whole pan into the refrigerator to cool overnight, cutting them in the morning.

 

 

You could cut them into any size you’d like, I just prefered the smaller bite sized ones, because of the caramel and chocolate chips making them that much more decadent.

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I ended up with 28 bite size squares, yes you only see 24 in that tray above because what kind of baker would I be if I didn’t try out the confection before bringing them to the party? 😉

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These little bite sized wonders really hit the spot. Admittedly I’m not a fan of the brownie either, but boy oh boy did these hit my sweet tooth in all the right places.

My Oh My ~One Bite Mini Cheesecakes

4th of July is fast approaching, and friends of mine (my chosen family if you will) have a HUUUUUUUUUGE (yes total emphasis needed on the size of this) party every year for the last 7 years and it is by far the best one ever.

Everyone brings a dish or two of food, either deserts or a main dish or whatever they like to contribute. A few years ago I brought, my version of The Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Sparkle Cake. This wasn’t a gluten free version, as at the time I didn’t need to be gluten free. But it was ohhh so good. You can check out my post for that here.

In the mean time, this year I decided to do a trial run of One Bite Mini Cheesecakes. As a gluten free person, finding a proper crust base that not only tastes good, but holds up as a good structure took some time. Since I used the mini cupcake liners, and not your standard cupcake liner, I couldn’t just place a gluten free cookie in the bottom and top it with cheesecake filling. So it was time to get creative.

Preheat oven to 325° Bake for 20 min until center is almost set

 

This recipe will fill 2 ~ 24 cavity mini cupcake baking trays

For crust:

  • 1~ 6 oz box of Archway Gluten Free Cookie Thins (sugar cookie or chocolate chip)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

For filling:

  • 2~ 8 oz packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 eggs

Using a grinder/food processor/ or a Ziplock Gallon size bag, crumble up the entire package of the Archway Cookies. I used a Ziplock bag because I was looking for less to clean up and it felt pretty good to beat the heck out of the cookies until they reached a fine crumble texture similar to graham cracker crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a heat proof bowl.

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In a small pot, melt your butter and then add to the cookie crumb mixture.

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Stir the butter and cookie crumbs until fully incorporated. Line your mini cupcake tray with cupcake liners and fill with cookie crumb base. To ensure a solid crust I used the cap of the Key Lime Juice bottle to push the crumbs into the liner base. It worked like a charm

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In another bowl mix softened cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until just blended.

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Add the eggs and beat until smooth and glossy.

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Now this is where you can get creative. If you like good old fashioned cheesecake then go ahead and fill your mini cupcakes up. But if you like flavors like I do, then lets have some fun. Reserve 1 cup worth of base cheesecake filling for each flavor you’d like to try. Today we did Key Lime Cheesecake , Marble Cheesecake, and Old Fashioned Cheesecake.

  • For Key Lime I used Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice. Add 2 tbs to 1 cup of reserved cheesecake filling, mix well and fill cupcake liners.
  • For Marble I made a simple syrup of Equal parts Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Sugar, and water. 2 Tbs of each. Bring water just to a boil and add cocoa & sugar mixture into pot, stirring until well blended.

 

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For the Marble Cheesecakes, put a small dollop on top of the cheesecake base filling, and swirl with a toothpick.

Place cupcake tray in preheated oven and bake for 20 min until center is almost set. Remove from oven and transfer baking sheet to a cooling rack for 20 min. Remove cupcakes from pan and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours until cooled.

And above all else Enjoy.

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I was baking yesterday while Dave was at work. He had no idea I was trying these out as a test run for the 4th of July party. When he came home he was definitely surprised and kept saying how awful they tasted. But by desert time, there were a mere 14 of these left! I only made one tray worth because this was a test run so he ate 8 of them since I only sampled the marble and the key lime

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Key Lime Cheesecake

 

I admit the key lime is my favorite, but the look of the marble was impressive and let’s face it, the taste was the bombdiggity haha.

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Am I right or what? Just look at these little bites of bliss.

 

I hope you enjoy these little bites of bliss as much as we did. I’ve got a few other versions in mind and will be posting them in the next few weeks hopefully.

As a side note. The base crust is gluten free, in this recipe because that’s how I cook, but depending on your needs you can easily use any other base you’d like. If you wanted graham crackers as a base the same instructions will work for them as well. Or use a larger size cupcake liner and place a whole cookie in the bottom, which might be on my next adventure to see how the difference in taste is. Whatever you choose, enjoy the fruits of your labor, or in this case the cheesecake of your labor 🙂

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Friday morning I woke up feeling like ick! Runny nose, sneezing, definitely hard to breathe and most of all, something I did not want to deal with. Could be allergies, could be I caught a sinus infection from Dave’s oldest son, J. All possibilities that put me in a miserable funk to say the least.

BUT I had 4 bananas sitting on Dave’s kitchen counter that were perfectly ripe, on the verge of too ripe to eat for our liking. So when he went off to work Friday morning, I went and made banana bread. What else are you going to do when you’re not feeling well. I can’t rest, I don’t know how to. So baking banana bread, 2 loads of laundry, hemming J’s feetie pajamas that his aunt bought him, and relearning how to crochet took up my time. image

I’m usually not a fan of breads that crack in the middle, but honestly these little crevices of sweet chocolaty banana goodness really brightened my day. I was smiling at the sight of the cracks, seeing the steam float into the air and picking out where the chocolate chips were nestled in between.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 C softened butter
  • 1 1/2 C mashed very ripe bananas (3-4)
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 C Gluten Free All purpose flour ( I used Pamela’s Artisan Blend)
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 C semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tsp salt

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Heat oven to 350° and grease 2~ 8 1/2 inch loaf pans or 1~ 9 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl cream the sugar and butter, stir in eggs until blended. Add vanilla, milk, and mashed bananas, beating until a smooth consistency. Stir in baking soda, salt, and flour. Fold in chocolate chips and pour evenly into pan(s)

Bake about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack. Remove from pans and return to wire rack, cooling completely for about 2 hours before slicing. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator

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Some sneaky little girl wanted in on the banana bread action

  1. Like nuts? Reduce the amount of chocolate chips by half and replace with nuts.
  2. Use all purpose flour cup for cup of the gluten free, it will come out the same.
  3. Don’t like applesauce? Replace with 1/4 cup of extra butter to the recipe.

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Sit down with a cup of coffee, tea, or a cold glass of milk and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I know I did, and so did, Dave. When he came home, he was pleasantly surprised. The house still smelled like banana bread all those hours later, and when he bit into a nice chilled slice, his eyes smiled as well as his mouth.

“Chocolate Chips? You put chocolate chips in the banana bread? You’re a genius!”

I hope you enjoy the bread as much as we are.:-)

 

 

Gluten Free Apple Crumb Pie

Back in the kitchen again. This time it was a quick fix because we both wanted something sweet, but simple.

Apple crumb pie to the rescue.

You’re probably wondering what’s in the extra little glass dish. Well it’s extra apple pie filling of course. What were we to do with extra filling that would have overflowed our pie? I dug out a glass Pyrex dish and put the extra filling in it, topping it off with some crumb topping. I baked it along side the pie and there’s a little extra surprise.

I had an extra frozen gluten free pie shell from Whole Foods sitting in the freezer and about 3 medium sized Gala apples left in the fruit bowl that needed to be used before they started turning. Dave and I decided the apple pie would be pretty simple to whip up and it was. But Dave asked if the crumb topping could be bigger crumbs this time. Like ones you’d find on a bakery style coffee cake. My normal crumb/struesel topping he loves, but he wanted them in bigger chunks.

So we experimented. I like the way it looks before and after baking, and he is my guinea pig today for his snack at work since he took a hearty slice out of it this morning while I made his sandwich. Neither of us like hot apple pie, go figure. We enjoy it cold. Really cold. Although it was a room temperature since we took it out of the oven last night and let it cool on the counter covered overnight.

He texted me a few minutes ago saying he took a sample taste and it was really good. He can’t wait to dig in later today to finish it off. I’ll get my sample later this evening after we take the boys out to dinner.

 

So here it goes.

Gluten Free Apple Crumb Pie

Apple filling

  • 3 medium sized apples peeled, cored, and sliced (we like Gala but use what you prefer)
  • 2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Bakery style fat crumb topping

  • 1 1/3 cup of gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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Peel, core, and slice your apples. Place them in a bowl and mix in all Apple Pie Filling ingredients. Stir and set on the side.

Depending on your pie shell of choosing, prep following instructions listed on packaging. I find that with either a pre-made shell or a homemade one, pre baking isn’t necessary unless you prefer to do so.

To make the crumb topping start by melting your butter. Using a medium sized bowl, mix sugars and cinnamon together. Slowly pour melted butter over sugar and spices while stirring until combined. Add flour in intervals using a spoon, and mix well each time, until it resembles a solid dough. Using your hands form the crumb dough into a solid mound at the bottom of the bowl. Set aside.

Pour your filling into your pie shell, and then top with the crumb topping. I found that taking the topping mixture into your hands and forming small balls about 1/2 inch sized works well. Starting at the outer rim to outline the pie and create a structure works great, and then continue to fill in with crumb topping as you go.

Bake at 375° for 40-45 min until topping is golden brown and crust has a nice color as well. Let cool for 20 min to set the filling and serve alone, or with ice cream. Enjoy.

I would show you a lovely slice from the pie, but unfortunately Dave got his hands into it and packed it away for his lunch before I had a chance to take a picture.

 

The coffee cake of blizzard proportions.

What else are you going to do during a blizzard, but bake? I’m sure you can think of a few other things to keep yourself occupied, but after a few loads of laundry, some Doctor Who episodes, and snuggle time with my guy…baking was on the agenda! My waistline may not approve, but my mouth was doing a dance of sweet surrender. Yep, it was that good. As good as I remember too.

Being gluten free has put some damper on some of my favorite childhood recipes. Like coffee cake, or crumb cake. I remember as a child my mom would make the original Betty Crocker, Bisquick Velvet Crumb Cake. Oh the memories. But not until Bisquick came out with their gluten free mix did I think it would be possible to relive those memories just by a simple fork bite of pure bliss.

It is possible!

imageThere are a few versions of the classic coffee cake and also the velvet crumb cake recipes circulating the internet these days. But I’ve got my hands on an original. Well sort of. See my mom likes to keep recipes she loves. Either from the back of a box, a newspaper clipping, or her ever faithful Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook from 1963. The pages are splattered, tattered, and torn. They have a plethora of useful information that even the best of internet searches don’t hold a candle to. In my opinion that is. Moms original back of the box recipe has a little coupon to redeem items from the Betty Crocker Store. The coupon expired in August 1983. This is oldschool fo sure!

The following recipe takes elements from two Bisquick cake recipes to create this blissfully moist crumb coffee cake. It can be used with original Bisquick or the Gluten Free version I used.

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GLUTEN FREE APPLE STREUSEL SOUR CREAM CRUMB COFFEE CAKE

Cake

  • 2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick baking mix
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of milk or water (I prefer milk)
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon

Apple filling

  • 2 medium apples peeled and thinly sliced (I used Gala apples)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Struesel topping

  • 1 1/3 cup Gluten Free Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Prepare the apple filling by peeling, coring, and slicing them as thin as possible. Place apple slices in a bowl and add in the lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Mix well and set aside.

In small bowl, prepare the struesel topping by mixing Bisquick, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Cut in butter until crumbly and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 ° degrees, and grease a 8×8 square pan.

Combine all cake ingredients in a large bowl using a wire wisk and beat vigorously for one minute until batter is smooth. Pour half the batter into the greased pan, cover the batter with half the struesel topping. Layer the apple filling, and cover with remaining cake batter. Top the cake with remaining struesel topping.

Place in preheated oven and bake at 375° degrees for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Oven temperatures may vary so check at the 30 minute mark.

Remove from oven and cool at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold. I prefer my cakes cold but this tastes lovely at either temperature. Store remaining cake in its original baking pan, covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as David and I did over this past weekend during Blizzard Juno. It certainly warmed us up on a cold winters night, and brought back fond memories of my childhood.