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long vacation & chocolate walnut besan cookies

February 4, 2011

It seems that my back to back vacations and busy year-end turned into an unplanned extended break from this whole blogging thing.

Things have been very slow around here since I left for two weeks back home in the states at the end of November. This is in no way the result of a shortage of bloggable material, but rather the opposite! In the space of one month we visited my family in San Francisco, Eric’s family in Wisconsin, spent a weekend in Hong Kong, and took a 10 hour train journey to Kobe and Osaka for the New Year’s holidays. In that time we also met two new babies and several old friends, went to some really awesome concerts, ate a lot of amazing food, and I even threw in a 5k race.

The return to normal life come January was a bit rough. Coming back to Japan after seeing my family always hits me very hard, and I know to expect a few weeks of loneliness and soul-crushing sadness. But adjusting to our regular schedules after a solid month of travel and excitement took more out of me than I’d expected.

Truth be told, the idea of sorting through a month’s worth of pictures and deciding what to blog about was completely overwhelming. I felt a lot of guilt at putting it off for so long and really wanted to write about things while they were still fresh in my mind, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to force it, as I really believe in quality over quantity when it comes to my writing and blogging, so ultimately I decided to take a few weeks to regroup before digging my heels back in again.

Now January has come and gone, and I think it’s about time to dust off the blog. I’ve decided for the sake of my sanity not to play catch up all at once. I do plan on blogging about our trips and end of year activities eventually, but I’ve decided to write those entries slowly and intersperse them with more current goings on and topical posts.

Most of my of my attention over the past month has been devoted to getting back into my normal routines. After a couple of weeks of very simple meals and dinners out I think I’ve finally got back into the habit of cooking most of our meals myself, and I’ve even managed to do some baking (someone remind me to write-up my recent brownie trials at some point)

Exercise has been a bit more difficult to get back into. I’ve been going to the gym regularly again, and have even gone on a few runs after nearly eight weeks off, but it’s still somewhat sporadic and with much lower intensity than I usually aim for. I have some big fitness goals and plans in mind, but that’ll have to wait for another day to post about.

Today I want to talk about cookies.

Several months back I came across a recipe for chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies using besan, or garbanzo bean flour, on ZOMTBakes, and the ingredient list really caught my attention. I love experimenting with alternatives to wheat flour, and was very attracted to the nutritional benefits of using a bean flour to make cookies. Besan flour is not a common ingredient in Japanese cooking, but I am fortunate enough to live close to a Halal Foods store that stocks it for a very reasonable price.

I kept the recipe open in my browser for a number of weeks, but only just got around to making these last night or the first time. I made several substitutions based on my own preferences and what I had on hand, such as substituting oat bran for the wheat germ, maple syrup for the golden syrup, and banana puree for the apple sauce. I reduced the sugar slightly to adjust for the sweetness of the banana, and also went for slightly a smaller cookie. My variation yielded 30 two-bite cookies as opposed to the 18 mentioned in the original recipe.

This recipe makes a lightly sweet, vaguely cake-like cookie with a bit of chew to it. The besan flour is noticeable in the background of the raw cookie dough, but was not pronounced once the cookies were baked. I was impressed with the final cookie, and think they would make a great treat for days when you want something on the indulgent side but don’t want to have too much sugar.

Chocolate Walnut Besan Flour Cookies

adapted from ZOMTBakes

    100 g jumbo oats
    75 g oat bran
    60 g besan (garbanzo bean flour)
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    75 g raw sugar
    40 g maple syrup
    100 g banana, mashed or pureed
    14 g unrefined coconut oil
    100 g dark chocolate, chopped
    35 g raw walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Whisk the egg, sugar, maple syrup, banana, melted coconut oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl and until light and creamy. Add the besan flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth before adding the oats and oat bran. Once the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated, fold in the chopped chocolate and walnuts.

Use a spoon or small scoop drop onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden.

Makes about 30 two-bite cookies.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2011 11:22 am

    Having eaten those cookies I must say that they were very good! I think adding mashed banana to a cookie recipe is almost always a good idea :-)

    • February 7, 2011 11:57 am

      Glad you liked them!

      Bananas are the most amazingly useful and versatile ingredient ever.. :D

  2. February 13, 2011 1:19 am

    Your back!

    • February 15, 2011 12:04 pm

      Well, somewhat. I’m having problems finding time to post regularly with my current schedule, but hopefully it won’t be 2 months between posts again..!

  3. February 22, 2011 11:36 am

    I’m so happy you are starting to post again!! :) I sometimes go through your blog and look at archived posts for cooking inspiration. These cookies look amazing and delicious.

    • February 22, 2011 1:50 pm

      Thanks for visiting! I wish I could post more regularly.. I’ve been kicking myself for choosing to go on hiatus in January, when I had tons of free time but no motivation to blog.. because February has been the complete opposite: I have the motivation, but no time! >_<

      Hopefully I can get back to a regular posting when my work schedule calms down in early March.. until then things will probably continue to be sparse. I do have a few posts in the works for sometime week, if I can manage to secure a decent chunk of time to sit and write, though! :D

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