Alisa Fleming ~ As much as I love nut butter, it can weigh a little heavy if you rely on it too much for creaminess and thickening in recipes. To mix thing up, I've been experimenting quite a bit with other ingredients, and was intrigued by the basis behind many of the “cookie dough” recipes I have seen on blogs recently. They use chickpeas, of all things, as the anchor for this sweet treat. Truthfully, many of these recipes are a bit "beany" for my taste buds. So I tinkered with the concept to come up with a nice, thick dip that meets my standards for flavor. It uses a combination of nut or seed butter (just a bit!) and garbanzos for a wholesome spread that you need not feel guilty about.
Truth be told, I can still taste the garbanzos in this dip, but the flavor just works. I've given a range of 3/4 cup to 1 cup of beans to use, depending on your tastes. I prefer it with less, but also devoured the entire batch that contained more chickpeas as a spread on toast. In other words, I enjoyed both.
Since my original purpose of this recipe was something to go with sliced apples for an afternoon snack, I decided to use caramel as my theme. For this recipe, you create a lightning fast caramel for the sweetener. Of course, this isn't a traditional caramel dip, but rather a thick, fiber-rich treat that you could literally eat with a spoon. I did. Enjoy …
Sweet Cinnamon Caramel Dip or Spread
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, optionally Nut-Free, and optionally Refined Sugar-Free.
- 1/4 Cup Coconut / Palm Sugar, Sucanat, or Brown Sugar (I used coconut sugar)
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Big Pinch Salt
- 3/4 to 1 Cup Cooked Chickpeas (3/4 cup is 1/2 of a 15-ounce can, drained)
- 1 Ounce (2 Tablespoons) Nut Butter (I used ground cashews – use sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon + extra to sprinkle on the dip if desired
- Water, as needed
Add the sugar, water, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat while whisking. Allow it to simmer, while whisking, for 1 minute. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. You should have a dark syrupy mixture, that will thicken as it cools.
Place the chickpeas, nut butter, cinnamon, and the above syrup in a blender or food processor (I used a little personal blender), and whiz until smooth. If it is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. I use an extra tablespoon to get my desired consistency.
Spoon into a dish, optionally sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon, and serve with apple slices or crackers. You can also use it as a spread on toast.
Makes 4 servings
Article, Photos, and Recipe by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets. For more information about the product(s) reviewed, see the links within the article above.