The Great Chickpea Conundrum

Well folks – I’ve got another one for you. Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse than the worst smoothie ever, I may have bested even myself.

Yesterday, I found myself with a very rare day where I had nothing really planned to do with myself. Matt kept looking at me suspiciously like I was keeping something from him or something. After doing my 10 minute ab routine on my living room floor (30km race, 10 minute ab routine….that’s the same, right? ;)), I was suddenly overwhelmed by a bug I don’t get very often….the cooking bug!

I started simple by making up a batch of turkey meatballs. The first batch looked (and smelled) amazing, but both Matt and I were a little under-whelmed with the actual flavour, and ended up dousing them in barbeque sauce to give them some appeal.

Final score: a solid 6 out of 10, with an A for effort. I’ll take it.

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The next undertaking was Matt’s mom Dianne’s chili recipe, which I’ve wanted to make ever since I tried some of it out at the syrup bush a couple of weekends ago. After getting the recipe from Dianne, and a quick trip to the grocery store, all of the ingredients went into the slow cooker, and I sat back to admire my handiwork, feeling pretty good about things.

I really, really should have stopped there and called it a day.

While Matt was napping on the couch, I got it in my head that (considering I was on such a roll) I wanted to make a sweet, but healthy snack for this week, something to grab and go quickly that would satisfy a sweet-tooth craving after meals and during the mid-afternoon slump. I was literally right in the middle of pouring over cookbooks when I got an email from my friend Cara with a recipe for “Chickpea Blondies” that she absolutely raved about, and had to share the recipe.

Fate? I think so.

Considering it a call from the chickpea gods, I snuck out of the house and over to Target (where I proceeded to spend almost $300 on assorted house gadgets, in addition to the $4 in chickpeas that I originally came to buy). In my defence, part of that $300 was a Kitchen Aid food processor, which I did need to make the blondies anyways. I’ve never owned a food processer, and was super excited to crack it open and use it immediately!

The exact instant I got home, I ripped into the shiny Kitchen Aid box and pulled out the sparkling new food processer.

Oooh, aahhh.

How do they get the plastic so shiny and clean like that when it first comes out of the box anyways? The appliances never do look as nice after the first use as they do when they come out of the box.

I decided to double up the recipe for the blondies to make a double batch so that I could give some to my mom, who is always on the hunt for healthy but yummy snacks just like I am. I cheerfully (and immediately) dumped two full cans of chickpeas into the food processor. There were so many that the lid could hardly close on my 7 cup food processer.

I think deep down in my heart, at this point, I knew that something was going wrong, but I couldn’t place my finger on what.

After adding in the other ingredients (totally yummy stuff like vanilla extract, maple syrup and peanut butter), I forced the lid closed on the food processor (you ever get the feeling that those types of things just aren’t meant to be “forced”?), closed my eyes and hit “Low” speed.

I fiddled with the lock mechanism to be sure the bowl was locked down…..closed my eyes again, and hit Low.

At this point Matt was sitting on the couch watching some video on his iPad, and I think I snapped something at him about the volume on his iPad being too loud or something like that, to which (because he knows me too well), he responded by getting up to come and see what exactly was the matter.

About 45 seconds later, he had adjusted the handle of the bowl, and hit the Low button again, and the food processor was cheerfully beating the chickpeas into submission.

My joy was short lived, because the machine sputtered to a halt about 20 seconds later, the blades choking on the sheer amount of chickpeas in the bowl which had come together in this very dry, very dense, very chalky sort of paste.

I say again – I think deep down in my heart, at this point, I knew something was going wrong.

Re-starting the food processor about 4 or 5 times, I finally got the batter to sort of soften up a bit and look something like an actual blondie batter. I scraped it out of the food processor bowl and into the baking pan, and into the oven it went (although I seriously had my doubts because between you and me, I had snuck a taste of the batter, and it tasted like a food processed chickpea, and absolutely nothing like a blondie).

Hope for some magic to take place in the oven (you know, like a fairy to come and replace half the chickpea content with sugar and butter), I let it do its thing, and came back to it 20 minutes later.

My biggest regret of this whole experience is not the failed blondie. It’s that I didn’t take a picture of the finished product. It literally looked like someone had taken sand from the desert and sprinkled it into a baking pan, with some chocolate chips on top, and it tasted, as you can probably guess, like a mashed up, piping hot, dry, sticky chickpea, with the faintest, faintest hint of something sweet, but not even close to “being good”.

Like, not even in the same universe as “being good”.

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I could hardly swallow the tiny bite that I took of the stupid thing, and my mouth puckered up like I’d just taken a tequila shot. BLECH. Disgusting.

I threw out the whole pan immediately (trust me, it wasn’t a snack that needed a second or third taste to make my mind up on) and went to lick my wounds on the couch, wondering what I always wonder, almost every single time that I try to bake or cook:

“What went wrong?????”

It wasn’t until about 3 hours later that I realized what I’d done, in a moment of clarity that could only be described as an epiphany.

I had doubled the amount of chickpeas in the recipe with the idea of making a double batch…..but I hadn’t doubled ANY of the other ingredients in the entire recipe.

Sweet lord above. That’s a lot of chickpeas.

I’m not giving up on the blondie recipe (although the friends that I’ve told about this little encounter have written me off completely and suggested that I stick to buying my baked goods from now on), and plan to try again tonight with the proper ratio of chickpeas (yuck) to yummy stuff (mmm).

If you’re interested in checking it out, here is the recipe. Foretold is forwarned, don’t double up on the chickpeas.

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Chickpea anyone?

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2 thoughts on “The Great Chickpea Conundrum

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