~ These scrumptious “chickpea” cookies magically replace most of the butter in “typical” cookie recipes with a clever chickpea puree to slash the fat while adding loads of nutritious protein and fiber! They’re chewy and satisfying (just like a “normal” cookie), but so much healthier! A guilt-free indulgence that you’ll crave all year ’round, with a peppermint-white chocolate flavor combo that’s perfect at the holidays! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Freezable • Make Ahead • Vegetarian •
Oh, I’ll just have one cookie, you’ll think virtuously to yourself as you eye the cookie plate … or as you slowly inch closer to the buffet table at one of the many food-filled holiday parties you’ll attend this season.
But you won’t have just one, of course.
You really can’t. (Who can?!?!) And I sure can’t blame you!
I mean, seriously, who can withstand the temptation of another few nibbles, after hours of socializing right next to the beckoning cookie platters? It’s hard not to chomp on a few more calories, sugars, and carbs than you’d honestly like to.
If you’re anything like me, that means you’ll not only gain a pound or two, you’ll also feel more sluggish and tired than you’re used to – and that “holiday slump” is really the last thing you need when you’re trying to partayy (!!) with your family and friends.
Luckily, as you may have guessed (you do know me so well), I’ve been cooking up a solution for you: some Christmas cookies that are both incredibly tasty and ridiculously healthy!
- a chewy, moist, crumbly cookie
- filled with the perfect harmony of peppermint and …
- lots of creamy white chocolate!
- waaaaaaay less butter and overall fat (but still great texture and flavor!)
- 100% whole grains that add terrific fiber (but you’ll never notice the difference!)
- stealthy nutrition like protein and more fiber from those cute little chickpeas (but you can’t even taste ’em!)
- less sugar than typical chocolate chip cookie recipes (but you won’t miss it!)
Think it’s too good to be true? Think again! 😉
These babies are so delicious, after one taste you won’t be able to resist coming back for more … and they’re so healthy, you won’t have to spend the night annoyed with yourself when you inevitably cave and grab another (and maybe another!).
Introducing … Chickpea Cookies!
As you may know, our family isn’t really into processed nutrition boosters like protein powders – we focus on getting the nutrition we need from whole-food sources whenever possible. That’s why, in our recipes, you’ll sometimes find healthy stuff popping up in places you don’t expect. Like the chickpea mixture we substitute here, instead of most of the butter that’s used in “typical” cookie recipes. Chickpeas are a fantastic source of protein and fiber, as well as other micronutrients.
Sounds suspicious, right? Is this some sort of government conspiracy?
Nah! Have a little faith!
If I, the second pickiest eater in my family, happily create and taste-test a recipe which is then approved by my grandpa (the #1 pickiest eater in the family – and possibly the world) … you just know it’s gotta be good!
Really, really, REALLY good!
And trust me, you won’t miss it either!
Yep – get this! – without sabotaging the flavor or the texture, I managed to cut down the butter to just 2 tablespoons! Similar recipes I’ve tried usually have about 1 cup (16 tablespoons) of butter!
Instead of most of the butter, I whipped up a unique chickpea mixture – in our favorite little mini food processor, of course!
Just that little dab of butter in the creamy chickpea purée is enough to carry the rich taste we all crave (let’s admit it!) throughout the entire batch of cookies.
When I say you don’t taste chickpeas at all, I mean it: you don’t taste chickpeas. At all.
Especially not with the fun pop of peppermint flavor and all those creamy, dreamy white chocolate chips!
And, while these cookies won’t spread out much on the cookie sheet (since butter is the ingredient that usually gives cookies an oozy quality), if you roll the dough into smooth balls before dropping it on the baking sheet, they puff up super adorably.
Almost like festive little ornaments or something. That are edible. With a protein kick! Nice.
Choosing the Right White Chocolate Chips
Shaping your cute little ornaments-to-be brings us to a weird note about these cookies: Throughout our rounds of testing, we discovered that, for some reason, Nestlé brand white chocolate chips don’t work very well in these cookies. The dough doesn’t stick to the chips and hold together when you try to roll it into balls – the chips sometimes just fall right out.
It’s possible to make it work, but it took me about forever-and-a-half to get any of the dough rolled into the nice little balls these cookies are supposed to be. Who’s got time for that?!?
Luckily, we found that Ghirardelli white chocolate chips DO play nice with these cookies. I’d highly recommend using Ghirardelli chips instead, so as not to end up with white chocolate chip-less peppermint cookies. Because, as we all know, the chip part of any chocolate chip cookie is most of the reason you’re eating the cookie anyway. 😉
Or, if you’d rather use Nestlé chips – and your sweet little heart isn’t completely set on making traditional cookie-shaped cookies, we’ve got you covered there, too! You can just turn this recipe into scrumptious, super-easy chickpea blondies!
Since no shaping is needed before baking blondies, you can use any kind of chips you’d like. You could probably even use potato chips. But, like, don’t do that.
Don’t Over-Bake These Lil’ Dudes
Here’s another thing about these cookies: they’re always done baking before you think they are. As you’ll see in our photos, these cookies are meant to be puffy with a light, pale, golden color. Still soft and wonderfully chewy in the middle.
You don’t want to go for deep brown edges with these, for sure. In fact, it’s best to take them out when they still seem just a tiny bit underdone – they’ll firm up a little more as they cool. And since they don’t have a ton of fat, they’ll be totally dried out if you over-bake them.
Without gobs of butter to save the texture if you don’t pull your cookies out of the oven when you should, you need to be a little more vigilant in monitoring your baking time. Totally worth the effort – these cookies really are the most wonderful when they’re still soft and chewy inside.
So, as you near the end of the baking time (which can vary slightly depending on the baking sheet you use and on how precisely your oven is calibrated), be sure to check these cookies early, before you think they’ll actually be done. And keep checking them closely in about 1-minute increments after that until you’re happy with how they look.
Then, move them immediately to a cooling rack so they don’t continue to bake as they sit on the hot baking sheet.
Mmmmmmm … good work! You deserve a cookie! 😉
Bonus: You Can Even Make These Ahead!
These cookies are fantastic fresh (still warm and ooey-gooey-awesome!).
But they’re also great after sitting on the counter (tightly covered) for a day or two, just waiting for a hungry kid with a cup of milk to wander by. Beyond that, though, they last much better if you wrap them up and store them in the refrigerator.
The bonus for busy holiday bakers is that (like most cookies), these freeze well, too. We recommend wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out, and freezing the wrapped cookies in air-tight zipper bags. They’ll be ready for holiday snacking at any time – guilt free, of course!
And that’s really the whole point here … guilt-free holiday snacking!
These are holiday treats that are so delicious you’ll be craving them all year long … but so healthy that you can eat them up, guilt-free. Maybe even a little empowered. (Look at you, eating chickpeas! Nice! Get that protein! You go!)
Pssssst … to round out your cookie platters Amy style – with other healthier, guilt-free holiday treats – check out some of my other personal favorites: our Healthy Buckeyes, our Pistachio-White Chocolate (No Butter!) Butter Cookies, our No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars, and our 4-Ingredient (No Butter!) Chocolate Fudge!
And cheers, from our healthy kitchen to yours … cheers to a holiday season filled with lots of yummy cookies, but maybe a few less loosened belts and food comas. Happy holidays, everyone!
- 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup organic or reduced-sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (not mint or spearmint)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Ghirardelli white chocolate chips (see note about using Nestlé brand)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, whisking to combine thoroughly.
In a small food processor (we use the smallest container in our Ninja set), combine chickpeas, oil, and butter. Process until smooth, scraping bottom and sides as necessary to make sure no chunky bits remain.
Transfer buttery chickpea mixture to a large bowl. Add sugar, peppermint, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then, gradually beat in flour mixture in three or four additions. Beat just until thoroughly combined.
Stir in white chocolate chips.
Lightly grease your hands with cooking spray. Measure cookies out by rounded teaspoonfuls, shaping each measured cookie into a ball (you will probably need to re-grease your hands periodically). You should have 48 cookies. Place cookies on two parchment-lined cookie sheets (they won't spread very much at all, so they can be a little closer together than "typical" cookies).
Bake for 6-9 minutes, until puffed and just lightly golden brown. Do not over-bake – you will want to take them out of the oven a little bit before they seem completely set, or they will end up dry.
Immediately transfer cookies to cooling racks.
Nestlé brand chips: Throughout all our testing, we found that Ghirardelli brand white chocolate chips worked much better in this recipe that Nestlé. When shaping cookies into balls, the Nestlé chips don't adhere to the dough very well and sometimes fall out of the balls of dough, making the process of shaping your cookies much more difficult. If all you have on hand is Nestlé brand, you can make it work, but you will have to be a little more persistent in shaping the cookies. Alternately, if working with Nestlé chips, we recommend baking these as chickpea blondies (bar cookies) in a 9x9 pan instead.
Make-ahead and freezing tips: If you'll be storing these cookies for more than a day or two, they will stay fresher if tightly sealed or covered with plastic in the refrigerator. These cookies also freeze well – wrap them tightly in plastic and store them in air-tight zipper bags.