Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Hidden Veggies!

Give me your carrot cake, your zucchini bread, your pumpkin pie, and your sweet potato pancakes. I will eat them all. And this month (March 2013), when Ruth of Makey-Cakey challenged us all to get creative with hidden veggies by baking them into a sweet treat of our choice, I thought, “Rock on! I Got this!” Upon further reflection, though, I realized that the idea was to have “hidden veggies,” and try as I might to justify making my favorite carrot cake, I couldn’t. So I went looking for something, anything that might be interesting.

I found some interesting contenders: black bean brownies, cucumber cakes, and chocolate chip chickpea cookies. But, well, ew. I know some people love these things. I’m just not one of them. As I said a moment ago, I’m not averse to veggies, and I’m not averse to them in baked goods, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around the recipes I was finding online. They sounded off. The ingredients were odd to me. They looked off in their photographs: too moist and not cake-like enough. So for a month I looked and looked and hemmed and hawed, and this is how I found myself this morning on reveal day with nothing to reveal. And the guilt kicked in.

What was my problem? This was nothing of which I should be afraid, so I sucked it up and did it. I made Chickpea Blondies.

The result?

I really, really wish I hadn’t. They really weren’t good. I’m still nauseous after only two bites. Four hours later, my house still smells like baked chickpeas and brown sugar. My son spit his out after one bite. My husband wouldn’t even try them.  It wasn’t that they had chickpeas in them either.  I love hummus, and I love roasted chickpeas.  This, though.  Just uggh.

And this, this is where I’m having a hard time. I generally, with very few exceptions, don’t post things that I consider to be cooking failures.  It isn’t that I don’t have cooking failures. I do. There have been times that I’ve made something new for dinner and we’ve wholesale scooped it up, tossed it in the trash, and eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead. But I don’t talk about those meals. I don’t share them. I don’t give you guys the recipes for them. Ultimately, though. This was a challenge that I agreed post about, and I took it on.  The result being a failure doesn’t change that fact.

What does this all mean? First of all, I don’t believe that it’s impossible that there’s some recipe out there where beans successfully masquerade themselves in tasty baked goods. I will acknowledge that this possibility exists. However, for me, I can’t say that I’ll seek them out. The cucumber cake idea, though. I may give that a go one day.

Check out some of the other recipes at http://thedaringkitchen.com/recipe/hidden-veggies , as many of the other Daring Bakers had much better success that I did.

Ultimate Verdict:

Proceed at your own peril. This recipe will live on The Pantry page under the Bakers’ Challenges column, but it won’t head up top to the actual recipes part of the index. I hope you’ll understand.

Chickpea Blondies
1 cup brown sugar
8 tbsp. butter, melted
2 extra-large eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 (19 oz.) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, “shelled, ”mashed
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Spray and flour an 8 x 8 cake pan.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  They smell a lot like boiled peanuts.

Peel the outer skin off of each pea.  It’s super easy.  You just roll them between two fingers.

Put the skins in one bowl and the chickpeas in another.

Once the chickpeas are skinless, toss the skins, and mash the chickpeas.

I’d hoped that this would smooth the texture of the chickpeas.  It didn’t smooth them enough.  Maybe if I had a food processor, but, really, do you think I’ll be doing this again?  Yeah, probably not.

Once they’re thoroughly mashed, move them to a larger bowl,

and combine the mashed chickpeas, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter.

Stir in the eggs

and vanilla.

Then stir chickpea mixture into brown sugar mixture.

The batter was a little too thin,

so I added 2 tbsp. of flour, and it thickened significantly.

Pour batter into pan, and sprinkle top with chocolate chips.

Bake 22-25 minutes.  Then remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.

The chocolate chips sank to the bottom.

And it was very difficult to remove the blondies from the pan, despite greasing it beforehand.

Yield:  approximately 12 (3 rows by 4 rows)

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