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Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondes

© David James Di Pardo – 2015

I made these blondes for a dessert to bring to my parents last weekend. I was worried these would be an epic fail as I threw them together on the spot, but they turned out great! They’re moist, dense, and slightly sweet with a wonderfully nutty flavor. Oh, did I mention these are gluten-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and of course vegan? You really can’t feel quilty about eating these! They have about the same calorie impact as a large banana… maybe I should have lead with that…

The ingredients are all fairly simple, and these can be whipped up in about 15 minutes. The secret ingredient, white kidney beans! Now, before you go rolling your eyes and ranting, I know, everyone has had healthy black bean brownies that were, well, blah! I promise these are fantastic, and have absolutely none of that undesirable bean-y flavor. They’re nutty and fun, just like actual blondes. Being blonde myself, I can say that without getting in any trouble, I hope…

These get their sweetness from medjool dates, which also add a caramel, butterscotch like flavor. If you’re using a different variety of date, or if your dates feel dry, you can soak them in warm water for about 20 minutes to soften them up. I used ground, gluten-free oats in this recipe, but you could easily substitute an alternative gluten-free flour blend. I like to avoid flour with xanthan gum mixed in as I don’t like adding gums of any sort to my baking. Not everyone can tolerate xanthan gum, and I usually bake with the intention of sharing. Although I have to admit, I had half a tray of these left over that where supposed to make their way to my hubby’s work, but something may have happened to them…

Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondes

© David James Di Pardo – 2015

These will slice up much better once they have been chilled for a couple of hours. Although I have to admit I was quite pressed for time and wanted to taste, I mean photograph these before losing precious daylight. Thankfully at -20°C, the entire city is like a freezer, so out in the snow they went… what’s a guy to do…

Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondes

Makes 12 squares
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked white kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 7-8 large dates)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper.

To grind the oats, measure a half cup of oats and add them to the jar of a blender or food processor. Blend on high until the mixture resembles a coarse flour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In the same blender, add the white beans, dates, and almond milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. You may find that there are still some visibly pieces of date’s skin, which is ok. There should be no visible chunks of beans left. Transfer mixture to the mixing bowl.

Add the vanilla, brown rice flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flax mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped pecans and chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture in the prepared pan making sure to work the batter into the corners. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with additional oats, chocolate chips, and pecans if desired.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until top is dry and light golden. The blondes should spring back when touched lightly. Avoid the temptation to cook these for longer as they will come out dry and crumbly. They will continue to cook once removed from the oven.

Allow to cool completely. Bars will be slightly easier to cut once they have been chilled for 2-3 hours, if you can wait that long.

Bars can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3-4 days.

Nutritional Info: (per square) 140 calories, 5.6g fat, 20g carbs, 3g fiber, 7.2g sugar, 3.8g protein.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondes

© David James Di Pardo – 2015