Before the holidays, Isabel visited me in Boston. Since she’s basically vegan, she is used to lugging around some staple food items just in case she can’t eat what’s served: Larabars, almonds, chestnuts, and, this time, chickpea flour. Why chickpea flour? Socca. Made into a pancake or crepe from just chickpea flour and water, it’s simple to make to accompany any meal.
Inspired, I picked up my own bag of chickpea flour this weekend and decided to experiment a bit. I made socca (with some cumin at Isabel’s suggestion), but I also made chickpea shortbread cookies. Chickpea flour, also known as besan or gram flour, is popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking and has a characteristically nutty flavor, especially when toasted as it is here. Though Persian chickpea cookies, known as nan-e nokhochi, are traditionally made with canola oil or butter, I used coconut oil, which worked perfectly.
WHY THEY’RE HEALTHY// Chickpea shortbread cookies are gluten free, vegan and dairy free. Chickpea flour is higher in protein than wheat based flours and is much higher in folate. Chickpea flour also contains iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Coconut oil has many health benefits, which you can read about in 5 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil. //
Here are some other ways to use chickpea flour:
Chickpea Flour Pizza | Food and Wine
Chickpea Flour Empanadas | Our Four Forks
Chickpea Fries | Food52
Chickpea Falafel| Bob’s Red Mill
Carrot Cake (made with chickpea flour)| What Should I Eat For Breakfast
Socca | David Leibovitz
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar (see notes)
- ½ cup all-purpose gluten free flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup light tahini
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-4 tablespoons water
- zest of 1 small clementine
- ¼ cup of natural cane sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the chickpea flour on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, gluten free all purpose and salt. Carefully stir in the hot chickpea flour.
- Slowly drizzle the melted coconut oil into the bowl while stirring until it begins to clump together. Add in the tahini paste and stir again. Your dough should be moist enough to form into a smooth ball. If it's crumbly, add water, 1 tablespoon at at time, mixing throughly between each addition.
- Scrape the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough so that it's about ½ inch thick. Using a cookie cutter (or another round object), cut 2 inch cookies, then reform the scraps until a ball and roll out again. Repeat this process until all the dough is used up.
- Make the orange zest topping: in a small bowl, mix the zest with coconut sugar until well combined.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies at least 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with the orange zest topping. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before baking.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges, rotating the baking sheet from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely before serving (they harden as they cool).