There’s nothing better than a good friend,
except a good friend with chocolate.
-Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers
OKAY, so as someone who regularly enjoys gluteny baked goods, I was nervous about trying this. And I never would have, if it hadn’t been my dear friend’s birthday, a dear friend who also happens to have Celiac’s disease. I reiterate – I am not one of those health nuts who feels compelled to adopt a gluten-free diet for some martyristic reason. If a doctor doesn’t recommend it, I’m not doing it. But I digress. I started poking around on allrecipes.com, and I found this. It had 90+ shining reviews, so I figured it was worth the risk. Plus I was intrigued by the main ingredient – garbanzo beans.
The reviewers had some consistent suggestions, such as adding vanilla extract to the mix. And I think the applesauce might have come from them, too. I made the recipe using those suggestions, and let me say, I am now a believer. Does it taste exactly like a glutenous chocolate cake? No. But does it taste delicious? YES!
The texture of these puppies is something amazing. It’s dense and rich and super moist. I have served this at parties without telling people what they were really eating until after the fact. Nobody could ever guess they were eating a garbanzo cake. Now the reason this excites me is that garbanzo beans are very high in fiber and protein. High fiber also means low glycemic index. So… these are HEALTHY brownies! DOUBLE YES!!
When I’ve made these before, I made them into cupcakes and served with fresh whipped cream with a dash of cinnamon. Foil cupcake liners are recommended, since the cake will stick to normal paper. Cupcakes are nice because they’re tidy, and they freeze well, so easy to store. If you do this, note: the batter won’t rise like you think it will. The cupcakes won’t get much bigger than what you pour in. But since they are so dense, half-way is probably ok. If you’re really anal, you can trim the paper down to size once the cupcakes have cooled.
Today I’m going to try making brownies. Here goes…
Garbanzo beans, vanilla extract and eggs going into the food processor, to be followed by sugar and baking powder. I’m also going to change it up a little this time by adding 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Next time, I will try adding some instant coffee. (Actually, cinnamon + cayenne would also be a rockin’ combo, but I’m making these for a ladies’ group, and since I’ve never met any of the ladies, I don’t think I should be too devilish…)
I don’t have a proper double boiler, so I have to put a mixing bowl over a saucepan. It’s a little precarious, but it works.
To make these truly gluten-free, you don’t want to flour the pan. Instead, you can spray or butter and then sprinkle it with cocoa powder. This is good for any chocolate cake really, because it eliminates the white powder on the outside.
And after baking, ta-da!
RECIPE – Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup plain applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
cocoa powder, for pan
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust a 9-inch round cake pan with cocoa powder. Combine beans, vanilla and eggs in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the sugar and baking powder, and pulse to blend. Melt chocolate chips in a double-boiler, then add chocolate and applesauce to food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer the batter to prepared cake pan.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (For cupcakes, bake in foil cup-lined muffin pan for 23-25 minutes.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar just before serving.