Oh, spring term, hello again. Winter semester has ended, and while most of my friends journey back home to prepare for their summer internships or exciting vacations, I will be staying on campus, taking more classes so I can graduate next May. I did spring term last year, and I am actually pretty excited to be able to take it easy(er), study a bit, work, and enjoy the warm weather. Since campus is less busy during the summer months, it is pretty quiet around town and I will have a chance to focus on myself and get things done. By “things”, I mean eating less, working out, cleaning my house… etc. You know, healthy things.
I’m sure most women my age undergo a diet/exercise panic around this time. Bikini season is really close now, and it is definitely time to shake off the extra pounds I accumulated during the winter months. Remember my post about the mini “health kicks” I go on every few months (found here)? Well another one has started! And these cookie balls are a product of my latest body obsession.
These cookie balls intrigued me because they are made of beans, and they also are completely vegan. These cookie balls do not contain any butter/margarine/oil/shortening, and there is only 3 tablespoons of flour in the entire recipe too! If the Atkins diet were still around… this would be the Atkins dieter’s dream.
Sadly, these are not a low calorie treat by any means. These babies pack 264 calories per ball and have 11 grams of sugar each also. BUT, they are very high in fiber (8.5 grams each), and have 12.6 grams of protein per ball. Since I am sort of addicted to baked goods (starting a baking blog does that to you…), I thought these would be a great way to ease myself into a summer diet while cutting back on white flours and sugar, and unnecessary fat.
Let me be the first to tell you though… these are pretty good, but only because I know they are made entirely from beans and peanut butter. Chocolate chip cookies made with white flour, gobs of butter and shortening and real white sugar are probably going to taste a lot better to most people, but hey, we all sacrifice things for our health, right? I will take these over 100-calorie pack Oreo “crackers” any day, and I’m getting vital nutrients at the same time. So there.
If you want to make these a bit healthier, you can cut out the peanut butter completely and add an extra tablespoon of brown rice flour to help thicken things up. I figured that out by accident when I made my first batch of these balls. Also, the original recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and by cutting back on those two ingredients, you can reduce the sugar in half and get rid of about 60 calories per serving. Happy swimsuit season!
Garbanzo Cookie Balls
Makes 18-20 cookie balls
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and de-skinned (picture below)
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained (I used cannellini)
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp brown rice flour
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
a drizzle of unsweetened non-dairy milk
^^^These are the de-skinned garbanzo beans! All you have to do is pinch the bean a little bit and the skin should slide right off.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Combine everything but the almond milk and chocolate chips in a food processor until the beans are blended. While the food processor is still running, drizzle a tiny bit of your favorite non-dairy milk into the mixture until it reaches a smooth, doughy consistency. Scoop out the dough and fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
At this point, the dough will be very sticky, but do your best to shape it into balls and roll in hands to make smooth. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Slightly adapted from Purple Bird Blog (I only added more maple syrup)