Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

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Full-circle moments are my favorite. And while I whipped up my most recent batch of these decadent chocolate chip blondies, it occurred to me that when I was brewing in my mom’s belly decades ago, she was also spatula-deep in gooey batter.

Vertical image of dessert bars with chocolate chips on a wooden board, with text on the top and bottom.

Just out of college in the summer of 1975, my mom began to bake and sell sinfully rich, double-chocolate brownies to gourmet stores in Philadelphia. Nine months later, her homemade masterpieces were declared “best in the city” by Philadelphia Magazine and became an overnight sensation.

Over the next few years – and with the help of my dad’s extraordinary marketing genius – the business achieved cult status. Rachel’s Brownies created a craze in Häagen-Dazs stores and gourmet shops across the country.

They were even ordered by Henry Fonda’s wife for his 75th birthday party.

But for me, these gooey, fudgy morsels were simply a part of our family. If that’s not legit brownie cred, I don’t know what is.

Vertical image of squares of baked goods with chocolate chips on a wooden cutting board next to a blue towel.

My dad’s take on the original recipe, dubbed “Rachel’s Husband’s Brownies,” was a butterscotch variation brimming with brown sugar, butter, and chocolate chips. To this day, they’re one of my only weaknesses as a non-sweet-tooth snacker.

And while these chickpea blondies are both vegan and gluten-free, as I watched the gleaming golden batter slide into my eight-by-eight baking pan, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic for that childhood dessert I revered.

Luckily, this recipe covers all the bases of my beloved butterscotch treats.

Instead of relying on loads of melted butter, eggs, and brown sugar, as typical blondies do, I call upon a few brilliant baking secrets to keep them within their dietary guidelines.

Coconut oil and applesauce keep the batter moist as can be. Coconut sugar is subbed in for standard brown sugar, which works like a charm as both boast rich notes of caramel.

Vertical image of a gluten-free blondie on a wooden cutting board.

As far as the flours go, let’s get right into this chickpea chat. If you thought these legumes only had a home in hummus, boy were you wrong. They’ve become a baking sensation thanks to their versatile texture and nutrient-rich makeup.

Lots of recipes out there lean on canned chickpeas, but ours takes advantage of the garbanzo bean in its dried, ground state. Chickpea flour is high in the good stuff like protein and fiber, and low in carbs and calories.

Brown rice flour, different from white or sweet rice flour, also plays a starring role by lending its nutty flavor, as well as even more fiber and nutritional value. When used alongside other flours, it helps prevent a crumbly consistency – which can be a common problem when working with gluten-free flour, or chickpeas in any form.

Tapioca and arrowroot starch are crucial to many gluten-free recipes as they help to thicken the texture and add structure. They also impart a glossy sheen, which I promise you’ll recognize the minute the batter comes together.

Vertical image of a hand holding a half-eaten bar cookie.

Other than measuring wisely and mastering the precise baking time, allowing the blondies to cool completely in the pan is another can’t-miss rule. This ensures that they’ll set properly rather than falling to pieces, and maintain their structure when sliced.

As for what to pair them with, I reach for an ice-cold glass of almond milk and give my mom a ring. Thanks to a wheat intolerance discovered later in life, she follows a gluten-free diet – so we can indulge in every bite of these blondies together.

Talk about full circle! Or square, in this case.

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Horizontal image of dessert bars with chocolate chips on a wooden board.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 blondies 1x

Description

Studded with sweet chocolate chips, these moist chickpea blondies are a healthy, protein-packed dessert that will melt in your mouth.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Add the water, coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla extract to a separate large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Adding gradually in three additions, fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Bake until the blondies are set but still slightly soft and a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs attached, about 25-35 minutes. 
  6. Cool completely in the pan for about 30 minutes before lifting the parchment paper to remove the blondies. Slice into even squares or rectangles.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Blondies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: chickpea, garbanzo bean, flour, blondies, chocolate chip, gluten-free

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper and coat lightly with non-stick oil spray. This is the best way to make sure none of the batter sticks to the pan and you can lift the blondies out easily before slicing.

Horizontal image of dry and wet ingredients in bowls and a spoon on a white surface.

You may see arrowroot or tapioca starch labeled as flour or powder, and these terms are used interchangeably so you can choose whatever you have on hand.

I like the arrowroot starch from Bob’s Red Mill that’s available in 16-ounce bags on Amazon. Tapioca starch from Bob’s Red Mill is another one of my go-to’s and you can pick some up on Amazon as well.

If you’re having trouble finding coconut sugar at the store, you can always grab some online. My favorite is this organic option from Supernatural that’s available on Amazon in a 16-ounce bag. You can also substitute granulated sugar if you prefer.

Measure the chickpea flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, water, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and chocolate chips.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the coconut oil on high until liquified, for about 30 to 45 seconds. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Step 2 – Mix the Dry Ingredients

Sift the baking powder and baking soda to remove any small clumps, making it easier to distribute the leavening more evenly into the batter.

Horizontal image of whisking light yellow dry ingredients together in a metal bowl on a colorful towel.

Combine the chickpea flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Step 3 – Mix the Wet Ingredients

Horizontal image of whisking wet yellow ingredients together in a small metal bowl.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the water, coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla extract together until thoroughly combined.

Step 4 – Fold the Dry Ingredients into the Wet and Add the Chocolate Chips

Working in about three batches to make sure the ingredients are combined well without overmixing, fold the dry ingredients into the wet.

Horizontal image of a wet mixture studded with chocolate chips with a blue spatula in a metal bowl.

Fold in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips. The batter will be very liquidy, but that’s okay – it bakes up beautifully.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and use a rubber spatula to smooth it out and spread it to the edges of the parchment paper as best as you can. The corners of the paper can crinkle easily so you want to make sure the batter is flush against it.

You can also cut the parchment paper to size to prevent excessive crinkling.

Horizontal image of a lined baking dish filled with a batter.

Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.

Step 5 – Bake, Cool, Slice, and Serve

Bake the blondies until puffy, light golden brown, and mostly set, for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Horizontal image of a square baked good in a lined pan.

You want them to be moist in the middle and not overly cakey, so a toothpick should come out mostly clean but with a few crumbs attached when you test it.

Allow the blondies to cool completely in the pan for about 30 minutes before lifting them out in the parchment paper and then slicing into even squares.

Horizontal image of slicing a cake into squares on parchment paper.

To speed up the process, you can cool them to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Flour Power

If you thought the only way to achieve a lush, moisture-rich consistency in chickpea blondies was to use whole chickpeas, this recipe will prove you wrong.

Horizontal image of dessert bars with chocolate chips on a wooden board.

The great garbanzo bean strikes again!

I suggest using chickpea flour anywhere that you want to boost protein or need a dense, stickier binder for sweet or savory dishes that could use a little more stability.

Need to thicken up a sauce or soup for a gluten-free feast? Yep, it can do that too.

How will you take this champion flour for a spin? Share your chickpea-infused favorites in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

If all this chatter about chickpeas piqued your interest in the superfood, you’ll swoon for these other recipes that call on the legume:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Saraha Hagstrom on June 28, 2015. Last updated on June 14, 2022.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

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