Are Christmas cookies taking over your life? They aren’t for me just yet but I’m right around the corner from a MEGA bake-a-thon and quite honestly, I’m a little frightened by how many I may consume. You know the peanut butter blossoms? MY FAVVVVV. So classic, so peanut-buttery… just give me a few and a big glass of chocolate almond milk. Or hot chocolate with whipped cream. Why must the holiday season be so tempting?
Of course, I’ve really been trying to not go overboard with the sweets. I think I say that almost every Christmas; certainly this year will be better (I hope!).
I mentioned a few posts ago that I’ve been really into my black bean brownies, which help to keep me in check with my sweets since they taste indulgent but are healthy. Well the past week I’ve been baking batches of my chickpea blondies, a favorite recipe on Ambitious Kitchen. They’re full of peanut butter flavor and super satisfying.
Suddenly I got a little bored with the recipe. Not that they aren’t good, but I just kept thinking about I could experiment with the recipe to make it different. I really wanted to use a banana because hello — peanut butter, banana and chocolate is one of the best combos on the planet. You know it’s true!
I baked up a new batch and was quite happy with the results so I thought I’d share them with all of you! Here’s what I did differently:
Banana! The addition of banana allowed me to reduce the maple syrup in the recipe, therefore reducing all around sugar content. It added a slight banana flavor and reminded me of peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread. SERIOUSLY SO GOOD.
A scoop of protein powder! Now you may or you may not use protein powder, but I LOVE it and highly recommend using it in the recipe. I didn’t test it without the protein powder, so I’m not sure how they would come out. I used Designer Whey French Vanilla Protein Powder but you could sub it for an unflavored whey protein powder or even a plant-based protein powder such as Vega or Sunwarrior Warrior. Pick your protein carefully because sometimes they can overpower recipes with their flavor; make sure you find one you really like!
Less peanut butter! I didn’t feel the need to use as much peanut butter because the recipe simply didn’t need it. I reduced the peanut butter by half and found it still peanut buttery enough and delicious!
Dark Chocolate Chunks! FORGET THE CHIPS! I’m telling you — chocolate chunks are where it’s at. I buy dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. You’ll need a 3 oz bar and you should aim for 70% cacao.
So, what do all of these changes mean? Well you get to have a bigger bar (yes, this recipe makes 12 bars instead of 16 in the original recipe). There’s an increase in fiber and protein, too! With only 140 calories for one large bar, you’ll be satisfied and feel great about eating them too!
I hope you love these bars because I know I do. And bonus: my boyfriend even said they were delicious.
- Serves: 12 blondies
- Serving size: 1 bar
- Calories: 140
- Fat: 6.3g
- Carbohydrates: 16.5g
- Sugar: 8.2g
- Fiber: 3.3g
- Protein: 5
- 1 can (15 ounce) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (about 1 scoop) unflavored or vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% coaco), coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. I recommend an 8x8 baking inch pan as using a 9x9 inch pan may make the bars too thin.
- In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the chopped chocolate.
- Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle the rest of the chopped chocolate on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. The batter may look underdone, but you don't want them to dry out!
- Cool pan for 10 minutes on wire rack. Makes 12 blondies. Store covered in the fridge. Bars will last about 3 days.
Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months, just place in an airtight container or in a freezer ziplock bag for optimal storage. Reheat in microwave or thaw out when ready to eat.
Almond butter or another nut butter may be used instead of peanut butter. I do not recommend sunflower seed butter.
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