I’ve been dipping into hummus (delicious vegetarian staple that it is) for as long as I can remember. I’ve loved chocolate even longer, and ever since nutrition research reclassified chocolate from “candy” to an (almost) “health food,” a dark bar, cacao powder and cacao nibs have been regulars in my cupboard. I’m sure I’ve combined the two in the same meal before, but not until last week, did I venture to combine them in the same blender at the same time.
I can take no credit for this combination. The idea arrived in my inbox as part of the VPR (Vermont Public Radio) newsletter in which Oprah is thanked for the original recipe. National Public Radio is a news source I respect, so as peculiar as this sounded, I pushed my skepticism aside and gave it a try.
My first batch deserved the label “odd.” It was not altogether bad, not crazy good either, and definitely full of potential. The texture was too, well, beany, and I didn’t think the chocolate flavor was captured well enough to win over the doubters. But, with a bit of tinkering, I came up with a smoother, richer, chocolatier version which combined nicely with toasted pitas as well as sliced fruit. I imagine it would also be nice rolled up in a crepe, on a bagel, in a panini, as a muffin topping, and of course, as is, maybe with a spoon.
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas* (also called garbanzo beans), drained
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons smooth almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee or grain coffee (such as Inka, Peru or Roma)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1-3 tablespoons liquid to perfect consistency: water would work fine, although I would recommend a vegan milk. I used chocolate hemp milk which worked nicely, but any soy, rice, oat, almond milk would work, as would coconut milk.
- If you’re not using home cooked (with a pinch of salt) or Eden brand cooked beans, rinse them well to rid them of the added salt in most cans.
- Combine all ingredients except the water or vegan milk in a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Depending on desired consistency, add water or milk alternative. I added 2 tablespoons of hemp milk to arrive at a level of smoothness I like.
- Serve immediately or chill to allow flavors to blend.