Friday, May 21, 2010

The other white meat.

A few weeks ago, we went to Texas for some music and fun. To be quite honest, Texas wasn't quite what I expected. It met, exceeded, broke and refined some of the stereotypes I held all at the same time. And really, that's all I have to say about Texas. I have some pictures that I haven't unloaded yet, and I'll post some when I get around to it. As you can tell, Texas left an enormous impression on me. /end sarcasm.

ANYWHO, this weekend is our annual foray into the outdoor life that is Camp Bacon. Two days of camping, drinking, eating, drinking and more eating. What's a girl who's trying to eat healthier to do at an event called Camp Bacon? Well, for starters, I'm bringing my Awesomesauce cookies, so there will be at least one healthy option. I know someone else is bringing veggies, so there's another. And pork is the other white meat, right? So how bad can that be? ;)

Earlier this week, I had a craving for peanut butter cookies, which usually don't even register on the healthy scale. But these are different - they're not terrible for you, and have some really interesting and surprising touches that make them real standouts. They look like regular peanut butter cookies, and even taste like them, at first. Then you get the sort of nutty creaminess of the pureed chickpeas, then the hint of heat from the cayenne – the humble peanut butter cookie is transformed into something really special and great.

Spiced Peanut Butter Cookies
Servings: 30 cookies

1 c. canned chickpeas, not drained*
1 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper (or coat with cooking spray); set aside.

*Drain chickpeas and reserve liquid. Pour 1 c. of chickpeas into a  measuring cup and pour in enough chickpea liquid just to cover the beans; puree chickpeas and their liquid in a blender or mini food processor.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream peanut butter, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; mix well again. Add pureed chick peas; blend thoroughly with mixer. Add flour, salt, baking soda and cayenne; mix again.

Shape rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough into small balls. Place dough on prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2-inches between cookies.

When a cookie sheet is filled, press each ball down with palm of your hand to flatten. Then flatten cookies even more by making cross-hatch marks with back of a fork that’s been dipped in just a bit of sugar.

Bake until cookies turn slightly golden, about 11 to 14 minutes depending on desired crispness. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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