Hazelnutty Bean Blondies (Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free)

February 22, 2015

Help, I've run out of lemons.

Remember when I had a cold a few weeks ago? I've had bronchitis since then, and now another, worse, cold. What the shit, body? Remember the good old days when I got sick once every two years?

Luckily, I wrote and photographed this recipe a few days ago. It's a good one.

My sister asked me to come up with a bean blondie recipe a few weeks back. The thing is, I've never eaten a blondie. I did some research, and asked Kristina what kind of traits a good blondie exhibits. Apparently the recipe I came up with "isn't a blondie, but it's really good" so I'm going with it. I get the feeling blondies are pretty reliant on loads of butter and sugar for their caramelly flavour. So no, these don't taste like little bars of caramel. But they're just as good, if not better, and pretty healthy to boot. I'm calling them blondies.

Instead of flour, the base here is white beans. If you've made black bean brownies before, you know the deal. I've also used a little nut flour and just the tiniest bit of added oil. The fibre here is off the charts, fellas. If you've been having a little difficulty with you-know-what, whip up a batch of these and dump that bran cereal. I'm not saying you should eat these for breakfast (even if I did) but still, a much better option than the blondies you can get at your nearest coffee chain.

You know what the best part is? They're topped with chocolate hazelnut butter. I posted a maple-roasted hazelnut butter recipe a couple days ago, and it's doing double duty here. The topping is melted dark chocolate, hazelnut butter, and a touch of coconut oil. It's ridiculously good. Like nutella that isn't sickly sweet. Unlike most chocolate hazelnut spreads in the blogging world, because you're using melted chocolate instead of cocoa, it's super smooth. See how it's drizzled on in the photos? I just poured it on after and covered the tops completely. I highly recommend doing that. You can leave this step out if you want, though. They're still really tasty without it.

Bonus, you only need the bowl of your food processor for this recipe.

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts*
2 cups white beans, drained and rinsed well
1/3 cup nut milk
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup nut flour (if you have hazelnut, use it)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

First off, roast the hazelnuts in a 300F oven for 8-10 minutes. Roughly chop and set them aside.

Now heat the oven to 350F and line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. Don't have a square pan? See my trick below.

Add the beans and nut milk to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Add the coconut sugar, nut flour, flax, arrowroot, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil, and vanilla. Process again until everything is fully combined.

Remove the blade from the processor. Add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and fold them in with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Scoop the bean mixture into the prepared pan and, if you have it, add four tablespoons of hazelnut butter. Smooth everything out with a spatula (this will marble the hazelnut butter into the squares). The mixture will be quite thick. Bake for about 35 minutes at 350F. They'll feel firm to the touch and be lightly golden when they're done.

Cool completely before removing from the pan. They taste best chilled, especially with the topping (see below).

I don't have a square pan, so I use dried beans to fill in the extra space. It works well in a pinch.

1/4 cup hazelnut butter*
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pinch salt

Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil, then stir in the hazelnut butter and salt. Pour onto the cooled squares and then store them in the fridge. The topping will be partly solidified, and really tasty.

1. If you have hazelnuts that are already roasted, you can use them in place of roasting your own.
2. If you're using store-bought hazelnut butter, take a peek at that recipe anyway. It has some maple syrup and a couple other things in it, so you might want to add those to your topping as well.

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