STYLE

COOKING ON DEADLINE: Recipe for chocolate hummus

10/10/2014 09:06 EDT | Updated 12/10/2014 05:59 EST
Admittedly, it sounds like a Halloween trick. Chocolate hummus.

It's either disgusting or just a cruel joke, right? Neither, actually. But when I first saw it sold alongside "real" hummus at the grocer, I decided it had to be one of those. There was no way a traditional hummus base — with all sorts of savory things like chickpeas — could possibly play nice with chocolate.

I was pleasantly mistaken. I bought it only because my son — as most 10-year-old boys are — is smitten with anything chocolate. Frankly, I was just curious what he'd make of it.

Simply put, he loved it. So I tasted it. I loved it, too. Rich, creamy and chocolatey, and thick enough to spread easily. Think of it as a slightly more textured Nutella, and every bit as sweet and delicious.

But nutritionally, there's a big difference. While traditional Nutella packs 200 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, the chocolate hummus I'd purchased had just 50 calories. Nutella has 12 grams of fat, while the hummus has just 2 grams. Even the carbs are cut way down — 21 grams for Nutella, 10 grams for the hummus.

I needed to make this. The ingredients on the label were all good (nothing hard to pronounce), but some were a bit esoteric for the home cook. So I made a few tweaks and substitutions. The result was just as chocolatey and delicious as what I'd purchased. And I was really pleased with the nutrition numbers, too — 75 calories, 3 grams of fat and just 11 grams of carbs.

What do you do with it? Your kids will be happy to eat it by the spoon. You also could spread it on bread with peanut butter or a banana or both. It's great on graham crackers, and my son loves dunking pretzels and apple wedges in it. Come to think of it, that's also how he enjoys regular hummus.

___

CHOCOLATE HUMMUS

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Makes 2 cups

15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 cup honey or agave syrup

3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Process until smooth, stopping the processor to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use immediately or refrigerate. Tightly wrapped and refrigerated, the hummus will keep for up to a week.

Nutrition information per 2-tablespoon serving: 75 calories; 25 calories from fat (33 per cent of total calories); 3 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 2 g protein; 90 mg sodium.

___

J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at jhirsch@ap.org

MORE:cpStyle