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Friday, September 20, 2013

Gooey Chocolate Chip Squares (Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free)


Ah it's been quite a crazy last few weeks.  Adam and I both have been very busy with work and the girls have been settling into school.  Little A has surprised us by transitioning very easily into kindergarten and a new daycare room.  Big A, unfortunately, is underwhelmed by school academically right now.  She was a grade 1 in a 1/2 split last year but is now a grade 2 in a 1/2 split and she is bored out of her mind.  It's early, so we're hoping things will improve, but Adam and I are quite concerned. 

We also have a lot of extracurriculars going on: Little started Hebrew school and Fitkids at the JCC, both are resuming swim lessons soon, and Big A is starting her Broadway Babes classes.  Big A also joined the Cross Country team, which we are thrilled about, however, this means I have to get us to the school by 8:15am 3 times a week and this has made the morning chaos even more chaotic.  Now that tv is banned in the mornings, the girls are glued to the Ipads/Ipod and after the fiasco we had Wednesday morning, we have now banned all electronics in the morning.

Packing lunches for both girls is also rather unpleasant, although it's going a bit better than expected.  For some reason, Little A only wants a hard boiled egg for her lunch, but I'm fine with that.  She is also good about eating whatever else is in her lunch, as long as its agreed upon ahead of time.

I've vowed to bake a healthy lunchbox treat for them on as regular a basis as I can manage.  The princess cookies are gone, so these are the current treat.

They are inspired by something made by my highschool cafeteria.  I was lucky enough to attend the beautiful KCVI .  Like most schools, the caf (as we called it), left much to be desired, with just a few exceptions: the chewy oatmeal raisin cookies the size of my head that I was partial to, and the chocolate chip squares, which were a favorite among most of my friends.  Even back then I was more of a sucker for the oatmeal-raisin-cinnamon type of treat, but my girls are, like their dad, chocoholics all the way.  So I made these yummers that are without doubt a whole lot healthier than KCVI's version.  In fact, while they taste decadent, they are actually packed with nutrition.

I used these beans, because they were the only small can of beans I had, but I recommend using chickpeas, because they taste less 'beany' and will give you a lighter coloured product.

Aduki Beans, Organic, BPA free lined can

I knew this recipe was a winner when I got home from work last evening and the first thing Little A said when I came in the door was, "Mama, you know those treats you put in our lunch boxes?  Can I have another one for dessert after dinner tonight?!?!"

Gooey Chocolate Chip Squares

1 small can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup dates soaked in 1 cup boiling water
2 tbls lucuma powder (optional)
2 tbls sprouted chia seed powder (or golden flax meal)
1 dropper full of English Toffee or Vanilla stevia liquid
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbls chocolate chips (preferably sugar-free)

In a food processor, blend beans, oats, sugar, dates and soaking liquid until there are no chunks of bean or date.  Add remaining ingredients, except chips, and blend for about 15-20 seconds.  Stir in 1/2 cup chips.  Scrape batter into a greased 9x12 pan.  Sprinkle top with remaining 2 tbls of chips.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Cut into squares.  Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.  Makes 24 squares.

Have a fabulous weekend! 

I have submitted this recipe to this week's Wellness Weekend and Gluten-Free Friday for October 4th.