Last weekend, I got final confirmation that I am getting completely detached from the realities of healthy food. It seems I am going overboard with my “healthified” alternatives.
I attended Dubai’s 2nd community baker’s “Bake Fest Dubai (BakefestDXB)”. Only on that day in the morning, I decided to participate with my own baked goods. Among other sweet stuff,Β  I made these crispy chocolate cookies. I was convinced, these are the best chocolate cookies I have ever made. I was sure, they would be a hit at the bake sale. I also made my Almond Honey Cake and a vegan version of my Banana Date Loaf.
But no, they weren’t a hit. Quite the opposite actually. Perhaps, people expect a more unified look when paying for something. I admit, these cookies were not even in shape. Some were square, other rectangle. Perhaps it was wrong to label my baked goods with “vegan”, gluten free” or “sugar free” labels. When people decide to have dessert, they want the full package and don’t care about healthier alternatives. Although, I have to admit that the “sugar free” label was the most accepted.
I had a few nice chats with people who are conscious of gluten or their diet in general. But those people are not of that kind, that decides that they would stuff their faces with desserts for one whole afternoon because it simply tastes good. So they didn’t buy my cookies either.
It probably didn’t help that I told everyone (still proudly at that time), that they were made with chickpea flour. Not the most commonly used flour when baking.
In the end, I gave a free tasting to the other bake sellers around me.
Am I totally deluded? I really believe these are absolutely great cookies. Thin, crispy, chocolate-y with some nut crunch – and from a health perspective, gluten-free, grain free and with very little sugar. I don’t get it. Please, foodies, readers and fellow bloggers: If you make these, please let me know how you liked them.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup palm sugar
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Yields 20-25

In a large bowl, sift together chickpea flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat melted butter and sugar until creamy.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Gently fold in the lightly beaten egg whites. Form a disc out of the dough and wrap in cling wrap. Keep refrigerated for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 175C/375F.

Between two sheets of parchment paper roll out the dough as thin and even as possible, 1/8 inch or less. Remove the upper parchment paper. Sprinkle the walnuts over the dough and gently press in. With a knife, cut through the dough lengthwise and crosswise every 2 inches or so. You will break the dough into cookie sized portions after the baking. Transfer the dough on the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges start to brown. Let cool. Then break into portion sizes at pre-cut edges.


  1. Noooo! you are NOT deluded, mom and I loved your banana date nut loaf! I may have missed these cookies altogether because we left a bit after you came in and I had pretty much OD-ed on sugar, but I remember mom saying that she was impressed with your use of chickpea flour on something. I’m upset that I didn’t try these, especially since I’ve had your healthy take on gingerbread cookies and fell in love with them. πŸ™

  2. Thank you, Arva. You are so sweet. I wasn’t entirely serious in my post. In the end, it was all about meeting other foodies, both the baking and the eating ones πŸ™‚
    Will definitely have a batch of these ready for you, when I see you next time!

  3. I’m definitely curious! i use chick pea flour, but never in a sweet baked good. I trust your judgement though, so i’ll have to try….

  4. What? You had sugar-free stuff at your table? :-O This is what I get for not walking around properly πŸ™ My mum was looking for something less sweet to tuck into – DOH! Will have to whip up a batch of these for her and get some feedback!

    And thank you for coming down and being a part of BakeFestDXB Anja!

  5. @ Nick
    sorry we didn’t get to talk. But it’s my fault as I arrived fashionably late at 2.30pm with my healthy goodies… Never mind. We’ll try again next year, right?

  6. the idea of your cookies i will try making them with normal flour hope thy will look as good as yours…what is “Bake Fest 2011”. ?never heard of ,can you pls tell me where it happens in dubai?

  7. chickpea flour – How fun and unusual! These look very tempting. They really are quite healthy too, cocao, walnuts and chickpea flour.

  8. Well, I hope they work with regular flour, as I have no intention of risking any weird new thing like “besan”. Good-looking recipe otherwise.

  9. I am pretty sure these cookies will work with regular flour too, although I have never tried. In fact, the original recipe that was the basis for this creation called for regular flour.

  10. hi …i too want to know what is Bake Fest 2011?can you pls tell us when and where in dubai?i was looking for such thing since loong time.
    thank you.

  11. For anyone, who is interested in the Bake Fest: Please google Bake Fest Dubai or BakeFestDXB. It happens once per year, and this one has been the second one. It was organized by Nick Rego and happened at Wild Peeta at World Trade Centre. Several other Dubai Blogger have attended and been blogging about it. Please check here:
    Stovetop Dancing
    Spontaneous Euphoria
    Cakery Dubai
    I Live In A Frying Pan
    Red Panda Bakes

  12. You’re not deluded Anja. People are addicted to sugar and processed flour. They were probably just trying to get their next fix.

  13. I forgot to say I love your recipes, keep them coming please.

  14. Anja, you are not deluded at all and I would have bought these cookies in a heart beat. In fact, I am planning on making them for Tuesday, how far ahead can I make them? Thank you for sharing healthy recipes like this, everything I have tried from your blog turned out great.

  15. Anja, I didn’t try your cookies – but I did try your banana date cake. It was fantastic. It was the best thing I bought and ate that day. Don’t give up – amid that total sugar overload it was really appreciated to have an alternative.

  16. Nice recipe with good texture and flavour.
    Any apprehensions I may have had when I read about chickpea flour were unfounded, it caused no unwelcome side effects – flatulence!
    All in all my wife made agreat job of interpretation and added a little grated nutmeg for extra flavour.
    I vouch for the success, with a few more millimetres around my waste line as I’ve enjoying them with favourite Yemeni Matari coffee from The Tea and Coffee Emporium.
    Thanks for the post and the opportunity to comment.

  17. I’ve never used chickpea flour. sounds like a great alternative!

  18. Thanks for all your nice comments. I am so glad you like the idea of using chickpea flour, or even have tried and liked it already.
    I am still in the experimental phase with the chickpea flour. In my opinion it needs a strong flavor to go with it, like cocoa. My next dessert experiment with chickpea flour will be combining it with dates or molasses. Watch this space!

    @ megi
    Sorry I am so late with my reply. I think they are best eaten with 24-48 hours. If you do them in advance, don’t put them in an airtight container. They tend to un-crisp there. Leave them open in a bowl rather. Let me know how you liked them. Liking a recipe is one thing, but getting feedback from someone who actually tried is, takes to another level.

  19. Anja, I’m so glad I found your blog! I too am obsessed with using chickpea flour wherever I can. I look forward to future recipes

  20. I thought the use of besan was a fab idea. I want to try making these sometime, but probably use dutch processed cocoa for a higher chocolate kick? Will let you know if and when I try them.

  21. These look awesome. I just made your spinach banana nut muffins and my two year old gobbled them down (he is an EXTREMELY picky eater by the way). I am going to try these next. I am trying to watch my weight and anything healthier but tasty is good for my menu. I will even post whatever I make on my food journal blog!

  22. Hi Lisa, it always makes my day when I hear that picky small eaters love my recipes!. I can highly recommend these cookies. They are very chocolate-y. Add a bit more sugar if you like. I’ll check your blog for my and other recipes.

  23. Oooh Anja…these look awesome….I’m so happy that u have gluten free alternatives…(Im probably gluten intolerant) and always on the look out for easy alternatives…wll definately give these a try and let u know:))

  24. These were absolutely delicious! so crunchy! I just used normal flour and substituted in 1/4 cup of desicated coconut for 1/4 of flour and also sprinkled sesame seeds on as well.

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