Healthy chickpea cookie the kids will love
Well it’s our last week of Natural Kids camp and by the time you read this, we will have started our final day.
It’s been amazing and we’ve had hilarious and fantastic kids, but I’m ready to go back to work now. It’s funny how work doesn’t feel like work once you’ve looked after 27 children from 8am to 5pm. Not quite sure how teachers do it. I presume there’s some wine involved. Maybe not during the day itself, although... !
Our days at camp have been spent playing, doing Zumba and CrossFit, learning about nutrition and cooking too. We’re really lucky with our venue, but the kitchen is tricky. No air conditioning (in August!) so by the time we’re done, I’m a hot, sweaty mess. We also have a completely mad oven that burns the cookies, but only half of them — and never in the same place. If it weren’t for the fact we’re in a church, I would swear it was possessed.
Last year, I learnt never to cook anything here on a cookie sheet. We’d spent hours making our own wholewheat goldfish crackers, with the tiniest of cookie cutters. I incinerated almost every single one, no matter how carefully I thought I was watching them. While the kids played outside I remade and recooked every single batch — this included replicating all their little mistakes so that when they tasted what they had made they could be sure it really was all their own work. That afternoon, I made 200 wonky goldfish and swore it would be the last Kids camp ever. My resolve lasted about ten days. Our kids are some of our favourite clients and we would miss them, no matter how sweaty.
This year, we’ve done almost everything on the stove top, as a raw recipe, or baked in a cake tin. Cake tins seem to be immune to the oven poltergeist, so we’ve done banana bread, zucchini bread and now chickpea brownies too. The latter recipe really has more of a cake-like consistency than a really chewy brownie. I can only get that perfect combo of chewy and crispy, so far, with a lot of sugar. Working on it.
Still, the brownies were a hit today with 25 out of the 27. That’s not a bad result, especially given the kids all saw what went into them. It’s often a problem when it comes to healthy eating. If kids see the spinach going into the green smoothie or the lentils into the bolognese, sometimes the hackles go up and there’s no negotiating.
So with this recipe you’ll need to decide whether or not to disclose the chickpeas. If you’re lost on the chickpea front, they’re the same thing as garbanzo beans (just depends on if you prefer the English or American version). Using beans instead of flour helps to make them allergy friendly, for people who don’t do well with grain. It also adds more fibre, which is great for your heart and digestive system, as well as steadying the sugar release into your bloodstream. That means more, longer-lasting energy and less pressure on your pancreas too. Did I mention they’re also delicious?
Chickpea brownies (makes 16 small brownies)
1 regular-sized tin chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1.5 cups dark chocolate chips (I like 65 per cent Sunspire)
¾ cup caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1. Grease a rectangular brownie pan and set the oven to 350F.
2. Melt the chocolate chips in a pan, very gently over the heat, making sure there’s no water in the pan (which can make the chocolate curdle). Be patient!
3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the chickpeas/garbanzos REALLY well, and remove any loose jackets.
4. Put the chickpeas and the eggs in a food processor and blend on high until smooth.
5. Add in the sugar and the baking powder and blend again.
6. Add in the melted chocolate and blend again.
7. Pour into the pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes.
8. Allow to cool, cut into squares and dust with icing sugar before serving.
• The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda
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