December has officially arrived and that means we’ve all got holiday parties, travel, this Mariah Carey song, and sugary cookies on the brain. With all the booze- and indulgent food-filled celebrations going on, this festive month makes it very easy to fall off our respective wellness wagons. But suddenly being down to party 24/7 is no cause for filling your body with questionable ingredients, just so you can commit to 3x/week workouts and quitting carbs as your new year’s resolution come January… Enter: this healthy-ish treat from Danny Seo’s Naturally, Delicious.
As you may recall from September’s Favorite Things, Naturally, Delicious is a cookbook I had the pleasure of working on in the summer of 2015, and it finally hit store shelves this August. Back when I was discussing the recipe list with the recipe developers, this vegan cookie cake was one of the items I was the most excited about. First off, it’s a cookie CAKE, the perfect example of American culinary extravagance (no, small cookies will simply not do. We’ll take the GIANT cookie, thanks very much.) Secondly, it’s made with chickpeas – yes, chickpeas – and is vegan and gluten-free. I was admittedly hesitant about the recipe because it was too good to be true: it does not call for any white flour, eggs or butter; it’s full of protein and fiber; and it’s made simply by pureeing all the ingredients together in a food processor and waiting the dreaded 40 minutes for it to bake. In a nutshell, this recipe is the perfect upgrade to the ever-alluring store-bought cake mixes for those of us who are baking-challenged.
This vegan cookie cake has a texture similar to a blondie – chewy and dense in the center, crispy on the top and sides. Aside from dessert (maaaybe served with a scoop of ice cream?), the cake can easily pass as breakfast or a midday snack. And I know you’re wondering if you can taste the chickpeas in the final product and the answer is, not really. Although they do provide a slight savory undertone to the cake, the taste is masked by the sugar and chocolate. When buying the chickpeas for this recipe, be sure to find ones with “no salt added” on the label – I recommend Eden Organic brand. Or just cook your own.
- Two 14-ounce cans "no salt added" chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup turbinado (raw) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
- One 3.5-ounce bar dark chocolate, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 10" round cake pan with parchment paper and grease with a bit of coconut oil; set aside.
- In a food processor, combine chickpeas, oats, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 cup sugar. Puree until smooth and homogeneous. Remove the processor blade and stir in the chocolate with a spoon.
- Transfer batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until cake is browned around the edges and golden on top, 40-50 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes - cake will firm up a bit as it cools.
- Place a large plate on top of the cake and flip to invert it onto the plate. Place a serving plate on top of the inverted cake and flip again so the cake is right side up. Slice into wedges and serve.