That Celebrity Hummus Recipe Calls for Canned Chickpeas and You’ve Only Got Dried – Now What?

Hummus, a humble dish of pureed chickpeas, sesame paste, and olive oil, is probably the best recognized and most popular Middle Eastern food. You can buy it in even the tiniest grocery store in the smallest rural town. In fact, you can probably find everything from the simplest garlic hummus to fancy versions that incorporate olives, roasted red pepper, eggplant, or even beets.

The convenience of buying prepared hummus is obvious: just open the container and start dipping. But there are plenty of advantages to making your own hummus at home, not the least of which are the difference in price and the fact that you can control what goes into the dip you’re going to feed to your kids. There is also the fun of trying out different recipes, including the ones created by celebrity chefs like Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay, of Jamie Oliver.

Pinterest is filled with page after page of hummus recipes. Even the keyword suggestions from Pinterest’s Guided Search scroll on for many pages! But according to the folks at the Kitchn, the most popular hummus recipe right now is the Barefoot Contessa recipe. As the recipe they link to has been saved 41,000 times on Pinterest, you know they aren’t exaggerating its popularity!

The recipe is a nice, clean, simple one that really only strays from traditional hummus in its addition of hot sauce. The problem? It begins with canned chickpeas.

Oh. And we almost never buy canned beans.

It is so discouraging that almost every recipe that uses beans calls for commercially prepared canned beans! And almost no recipe ever comes with instructions for converting to dried beans. So if you prefer to use dry beans for the ease of storage, health benefits or huge cost savings, you are going to have to work harder to use those recipes.

 

Dry chickpeas are less expensive, healthier, and easier to store than canned (Graphic by ulleo/Pixabay/CC0)
Learn to convert recipes so you can cook with dried legumes like these chickpeas (garbanzo beans.) You can even freeze cooked beans to cut down on cooking and prep time for your next recipe!
(Image: ulleo/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

 

Fortunately, Ina Garten has kindly spelled things out very clearly in her hummus recipe. She measures the amount of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) in cups instead of cans. And she is measuring the drained beans, instead of the beans in their liquid. So it’s easy enough to be sure that you’ll have the exact quantity of cooked chickpeas to make this popular hummus. She was even kind enough to give the amount of reserved liquid needed to make Barefoot Contessa hummus – and she suggests using water as a substitute in case the cooking liquid isn’t available.

(Note: Many other recipes won’t tell you how much liquid to add. Fortunately, the texture of the hummus is what dictates how much liquid to add. So just make sure there’s enough cooking liquid or plain water to process the beans into a smooth puree. If your hummus seems a bit dry, you can add more of the cooking liquid. Or just increase the amount of olive oil a wee bit!)

Getting Started: How Many Beans to Use

Cooking any recipe that calls for canned beans raises the question of dry bean to canned bean conversion. Exactly how should you measure your beans, and how many dried chickpeas do you need to make your favourite hummus?

There are a number of web sites that offer conversion charts for dry beans to cooked bean amounts. But I really have to take my hat off to Daniel Gritzer of Serious Eats, who tackled the question like a true food scientist. He measured the volume of dried beans before cooking and then weighed and measured the same beans after cooking and draining.

According to his results, one pound of chickpeas is just under 3 cups when dry. The cooked and drained beans will weigh 3 lb 4 oz and its volume will be 7 cups.

So how many dry chickpeas do you need to make the Barefoot Contessa’s hummus recipe? Well, the recipe calls for “2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved.” That’s less than a third of the yield if you were to start with a pound of dried garbanzos. So you have a few options:

  1. Start with just under 1/3 lb, or around 5 oz of dried garbanzo beans;

  2. Try to find other recipes that call for chickpeas so you can use up the extra beans you’ll be cooking;

  3. Get a pressure canner and learn to can your own legumes so you can enjoy the convenience of canned beans without worrying about BPA and other chemical additives;

  4. Triple your recipe and serve hummus to the whole neighbourhood;

  5. Resort to using canned beans and avoid the conversion headache altogether.

Or, you could simply learn to freeze your cooked beans! This way, you can cook a large batch of dried beans – any kind – in advance. You then divide them into smaller portions for your favourite recipes.

 

How to Make Hummus Using Dry Chickpeas (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user Ajale)
Learn to make hummus from dried chickpeas and freeze the rest for your next recipe
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Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user Ajale

Freezing Leftover Beans

I only discovered that cooked beans can be frozen about a year ago. And I have to admit, I’ve only done it a couple of times. It was super handy when I wanted to make last-minute chili. And yes, I have used frozen chickpeas to make hummus. There was absolutely no taste difference in the hummus but I did have to add extra oil because I’d frozen my beans without liquid, the way most people seem to do it.

I’ve since learned that freezing beans in their cooking liquid is not only possible but recommended. According to Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella, freezing beans in their cooking liquid helps to stave off freezer burn. This would be especially true if you’re storing your beans in rigid containers like canning jars, rather than in freezer bags. If you do opt to store cooked beans without liquid in rigid containers – say, for salads or burritos – you should use these sooner than the beans that are stored in their cooking liquid.

To freeze chickpeas in their cooking liquid, be sure you are working with cooled beans (this is both for general safety and to decrease the chances of foodborne illness.) Measure them into freezer-safe canning jars and then pour the cooking liquid over them. A standard 15-oz can of beans contains about 1-1/2 cups of beans once drained. That will fill a pint (500 ml) jar once the cooking liquid has been added, leaving 1/2” headspace. If you prefer, you can also measure out the 2 cups the Barefoot Contessa hummus recipe calls for. If you don’t have a freezer-safe jar that will hold this many beans, you can use a freezer bag or another freezer-safe rigid container instead.

To use beans frozen in liquid, let them thaw slowly in the fridge (it will take about a day) or place the container in cool water to defrost. This will speed up thawing time, while at the same time helping to keep harmful bacteria at bay. If you have frozen your beans without liquid, you can defrost them more quickly in cool water. I wouldn’t suggest trying to use them frozen, as you might if you were cooking up a batch of chili – at least, not unless you want hummus that has the consistency of a frozen fruit smoothie!

 

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Original content © 2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
Featured image made in Canva using a public domain graphic by Pixabay user Ajale

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

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Chocolate Cookies Inspired by an Ice Cream Parlour Experience

 

Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookie review in honour of Chocolate Chip Day | #chocolate #cookies #ChocolateChipDay

 

Chips Ahoy Ice Cream Creations is a line of chocolate chip cookies inspired by the ice cream parlour experience. Brought to market in the United States in 2014, they are still being marketed as “New” in Canada in 2016. Three flavours are being sold under the Christie label in Canada, each in a 280 g bag that’s just a little more than half the weight of a bag of classic Chips Ahoy cookies.

My husband came home last night with a festive teal bag containing the Mint Chocolate Chip flavour. The bag is decorated with hearts, pictures of ice cream cones, and words like, “Fun,” “Yum,” “Delicious,” and “Chillin’.” The other two flavours currently marketed here are the Dulce de Leche and Mocha Flavour Chunk cookies. Other flavours sold in the US market include an intriguing Root Beer Float cookie, which I’d very much like to try.

Cookie Appearance

Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookies look a fair bit like homemade slice and bake cookies. They are rather irregularly shaped, and just about 1/4” thick. The diameter of the cookies is about 1-1/2”, which is a little on the small side. The image on the package shows a perfectly round cookie packed with chocolate chips and larger mint chunks, but my cookies had very few visible chocolate chips. Most of the mint chunks were inside the cookie, rather than being visible on top.

Taste and Mouth Feel

The cookies are dry and crumbly, which makes it really easy to break them just taking the out of the package. The mouth feel, while soft, is also rather dry. There is none of the creaminess I would associate with a home baked cookie, and eating just one of them had me reaching for liquid refreshment!

The cookie dough itself is incredibly bland. The cookie doesn’t taste like chocolate, or even very sweet. It does a really great job of reminding you that you’re eating empty calories. The one or two teensy chocolate chips that fell off the cookie when I picked it up, also had little taste. They were also about as dry as the dough. I’ve had no-name chocolate chips that had more flavour and moisture than these.

 

Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookie package | #chocolate #cookies #ChocolateChipDay
Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookie package (Image: theimpulsivebuy/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0 )

The mint chunks do stand out from the rest of the cookie, what with being green. They are decent-sized chunks that look like they were sliced into irregular rectangles. They do not look like white chocolate that’s been flavoured and dyed, but rather like some sort of sugary confection.

When I tasted one, it gave the distinct impression that I was eating green, mint-flavoured icing sugar made into little cakes and sliced. It’s minty and sweet, but with a salty after-taste. And again, the creamy rich mouth feel is completely missing. Eating one of these things is sort of like eating a mint-flavoured communion wafer: there’s something that sticks to the roof of your mouth briefly, and there’s a cool burst of mint

The mint is about the only thing I tasted when I put the cookie in my mouth. It’s a decent flavour, just strong enough to stand out but not so much that it’s overwhelming.

Ingredients and Nutrition

Like most commercial cookies, the Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookies are chock full of modified tropical oils and milk ingredients, dextrose, and glucose-fructose (aka high-fructose corn syrup.) There is no actual chocolate in the dough, which helps to explain why the cookie itself is so tasteless.

I was surprised to find that both the chocolate chips and the mint chunks have natural flavouring. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make up for the fact that the flavours are essentially compressed into little balls of oily sugar.

 

Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookie review | Chocolate Chip Day is May 15th, 2016 | #icecream #desserts
Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookies have very little in common with real chocolate mint ice cream
(Image: mmconcepcion.wikispaces.com/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

 

Two Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookies (24 g together) make up a single serving, and together they supply 110 calories – about what the diet-conscious crowd is aiming for when they choose a snack these days. The cookies are made from enriched flour, so the portion does provide 6% of the daily value of iron. It also contains 4.5 g of fat, including 13% of the daily allotted saturated fat. Additionally, you would take in 75 mg of sodium (3%,) 16 g of carbohydrate (5%, of which none is fiber) and 1 g of protein.

Basically, what that says is these lilliputian confections are unlikely to satisfy a sugar craving, let alone to make the snacker feel full. I did find a recipe for a homemade chocolate mint chip cookies, which is made with just a few simple ingredients – including real cocoa in the dough! These home baked cookies also provide a little fiber, to help make you feel full after eating them.

Overall Rating

I found the Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookies spectacularly unsatisfying. They had very little in the way of taste, and I was really disappointed that a cocoa-brown cookie didn’t taste even remotely like chocolate.

I only ate one of the two cookies that constitute a portion, as the tastelessness and dryness of the cookie just left me wanting to rehydrate my mouth and find a food that would actually taste good. I could have eaten four very flavourful Christie Triscuit crackers at only 80 calories, and would have felt satisfied because of the full flavour and the fiber content. I also could have made the homemade chocolate mint chip cookies, and eaten a single larger cookie that would have more taste and better mouth feel. Or I could tweak a healthy oatmeal cookie recipe to get a similar taste combination, but with far better nutrient content.

I could also have eaten one cup of cut up mango for the 110 calories – and taken in a whole whack of vitamins and minerals along with the tantalizing tanginess of the fruit. And of course those who’ve been reading the 24 Carrot Diet for a while will know that I could eat more than four medium carrots instead of those two puny cookies (see “How Many Calories are in a Carrot?” for more on carrot nutrition.)

Even compared to other commercially prepared cookies, the Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate cookies were a real dud. Nothing about them reminded me of ice cream; in fact the texture was pretty much the opposite of anything dairy or made with cream.

I would have to give these cookies 1 star out of 5. They failed in terms of taste and texture, quality of ingredients, and similarity to anything ice cream related. Additionally, the package size was smaller than for a classic Chips Ahoy cookie, which means these cookies were also more expensive.

I would not buy these cookies again, and do not recommend them to my readers.

 

 

If you found this review helpful and you want to share it, please use the graphic below

 

Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookie review in honour of Chocolate Chip Day | #chocolate #cookies #ChocolateChipDay
May 15th is Chocolate Chip Day! Please use this collage when pinning this review on Pinterest. Thanks! (Collage includes graphics licensed by mmconcepcion.wikispaces.com, theimpulsivebuy, and m01229)

 

This review was written in honour of Chocolate Chip Day, which falls on May 15th in 2016

Image credits:

Mint and chocolate chips (Image: m01229/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Mint chocolate chip ice cream (mmconcepcion.wikispaces.com/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chocolate mint cookies and packaging (Image: theimpulsivebuy/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0 )