Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nutella Stuffed Black Bean and Banana Cookies for a Spooky #SundaySupper

I love Halloween. At least, I love the "neo-traditional" aspects of Halloween - the pumpkin carving, the dressing up, the little kids running from house to house as the parents amble along behind, catching up with each other in gosh knows how long, the frenetic "dump and sort" of the pillowcases and plastic buckets onto the living room floor and of course the month-long candy-saturated diet, which finished just in time for Santa Clause to leave a few sweets in the stockings. These days, Halloween is a lot more demure and commercialized - it's been years since I've seen a homemade costume out on the streets, a lot of parents are glued to their children's side the entire night as if paranoid that a shadow will snatch them away (a few occasions we've seen parent's take the candy for their kids at our door), and it's not uncommon to see houses - mine included *sigh* - with hundreds of dollars worth of decorations littering the front yard. Me? I'm happy with a few bedsheet ghosts and netting cobwebs hanging from the trees and a couple candle-lit jack o' lanterns on the steps.

I guess you can say I'm not much into the "horror" factor of Halloween either. I can live my entire life free of images of gratuitous violence, blood and gore, thank you very much. To me, there are things in real life that are far more terrifying. Being trapped in my own body, unable to move or respond to anything despite my brain being completely awake and alert is one of them. Being forced to remain dependent on others to simply live in a home, eat and work is another. The latter of those scenarios is, to me, still a very real, very frightening prospect - all it would take is one medical setback, a few bad spells with contaminated "safe" foods or restaurant meals, and three years of hard work to regain my footing as a somewhat "normal" adult would be out the window. The risks and hassles of maintaining a safe, separate and often very "different" menu from everyone else in the household and those families I visit for holidays are exhausting and turn me right off from even bothering to acknowledge a celebration at all.

Some readers, especially those with food allergies, can relate to this. Those with any sort of sensitivity issue, especially those surrounding food or scents, have similar challenges during holidays and events involving food. And when you think of a holiday like Halloween, packed with potentially allergenic candy and chocolates, plunked smack dab in the middle of Canadian Thanksgiving and the December holiday blitz, kids that are allergic to anything in the "Top 8", or who are vegan, don't have much to look forward to.

Well, I have some sweet treats today that can help out at least some of the fellow allergy sufferers out there this Halloween! Not only are these cookies I adapted from Green Kitchen Stories ridiculously decadent, but they're gluten- and egg-free. They're also packed with protein and fibre to help kids of all ages full and raring to go with Trick or Treating energy for hours. I began to make the dark, chewy chocolate cookie dough with the same basic elements as David did, but decided partway through taking out the ingredients that I was not about to open a can of beans to use one piddly cup (and yes I said beans - don't worry!). From that point on, things just started snowballing one after the other, and suddenly a fairly standard chocolate-chocolate chip drop cookie turned into a double-Nutella, gooey-stuffed, banana-riddled creation fit for even the most critical chocoholic. Due to the nature of the beast that is the chocolate-hazelnut manna, the cookies are not vegan, dairy free or tree nut free, but they are still sans gluten, eggs, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. If you need / want, vegan / corn free swaps for the Nutella and hot cocoa mix are certainly available, or you can make your own. I used what I had in the pantry!

I thought I had submitted my post earlier this week to the #SundaySupper Trick or Treat roundup, but apparently this old brain o' mine is on par with some of the finer zombies out there. But, that's not to say I'm not joining the party on the sidelines! Everyone's invited, so by all means break out the costumes a few days earlier and get ready for a howling good time!

On the menu for our Trick-or-Treat #SundaySupper Halloween Party:

Bewitching Brews

Ghoulish Gruel

Haunted Snacks

Spooky Sweets

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day, this Sunday (October 28th) during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about all things Halloween. All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat. We’d also love to feature your favorite Halloween recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.

Nutella Stuffed Black Bean and Banana Cookies
Makes 16

140 g Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
20 g sweetened hot cocoa drink mix (Swiss Miss is GF)

Cookie dough:
1 (19-oz) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Nutella
2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp stevia extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp sorghum flour
3 tbsp gluten free rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
40 g freeze-dried or dehydrated bananas (not banana chips - which are fried)
  1. In a small bowl, beat together Nutella, salt, cocoa powder, and hot cocoa mix until thick and doughy. Spoon 16 dollops of this mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper and place in the freezer for 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone.
  3. In a food processor, combine the beans, oil, Nutella, almond butter, brown sugar, honey and stevia.
  4. Process until smooth.
  5. Add cocoa, sorghum flour, oats, baking powder and salt and process until smooth and well combined.
  6. Add the bananas and pulse in to mix.
  7. Scoop half the batter onto the lined sheets and place 1 frozen Nutella ball in the middle of each.
  8. Cover with the remaining half of cookie batter.
  9. Bake for 25-28 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.Cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 181.1
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 249.6 mg
Total Carbs: 28.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 3.8 g

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