It’s 4.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon, and I’m sitting at a cafe called called “Biutiful” at the intersection of the streets Cuba and Sucre, right in the heart of the Belgrano neighborhood.
I’ve just had a steeping mug of green tea infused with orange peel and a couple of medialunas (the Argentine word for croissants), and as I sit at my small white table, amidst many others, I take in the soothing chatter that surrounds me.
Months have passed since I came to a cafe to write; the last time was when we’d just returned to Buenos Aires from DC and our apartment’s wifi wasn’t yet installed. And before that, it was in the US capital city of Washington, DC, where I’d spent countless afternoons sitting at a cafe (it was the Starbucks along M and 25th Street usually, a ten minute walk from Georgetown) and writing.
Today I felt a stirring to write, but I needed a change of environment – my apartment didn’t inspire me much – so once I was done with lunch and finished some work at home, I packed my laptop and wallet into a black leather bag, slung it over my shoulder and started walking to the cafe where I currently am now.
Exactly a year ago, Juan and I had just arrived in DC, and were putting up in an AirBNB rental in the developing neighborhood of Noma. We only had a couple of days to find and rent an apartment before Juan’s internship with the Organization of the American States started, and were apartment-hunting like crazy.
At that point of time, I’d just taken a leave of absence from my job to accompany Juan to the US, and I wasn’t quite sure how the future would unfold.
The only thing I felt sure about was that I wanted to use the extra time on my hands to develop my career as a writer and food photographer. That was the only thing I was certain about, and as I adjusted to living life at my own pace (as opposed to working 9-to-5 in an tiny, grey office), I began experiencing a freedom that I’d never had before when I was an employee.
It was my first real stint as a freelance writer and food photographer, and while I was barely making anything that would be close to a full-time living, for once I felt the power of chasing my dreams and giving them the priority they deserved.
While I was still on the leave of absence with a job I could return to, I started questioning the status quo for the first time, and asked myself in the softest of whispers, “What if I did this for real? What if I worked for myself instead of fulfilling someone else’s dream?”
That whisper, while faint and barely audible, was the first inkling of the seeds that would be sown into my heart that fall in DC.
As the time passed the seeds grew and sprouted into hope for a life that would be really mine, spent on my own terms and not someone else’s; working from anywhere of my choosing instead of being confined to a small office cubicle; doing work that is real and makes my heart beat as opposed to merely following instructions from a boss.
Coming back to Buenos Aires was when I had to act on what I really wanted. When my boss informed me that they were closing down the online advertising firm I was on a leave of absence from, I was ecstatic.
I know that wasn’t the most logical of responses, but for once, I felt the shackles of employment unchain themselves from my ankles, and it was as if God and the universe were telling me, “Go for it. This is your chance to do what you’ve always wanted.”
Despite my happiness at this unexpected news, I still found myself at crossroads. I wondered if I should start searching for another job, or throw everything I had into this freelancing career. Between getting a stable pay each month and fulfilling my own dreams to work for myself, I was torn between both.
The practical and economical side of me was worried about maintaining my finances, “Will you be able to make enough money to survive as a writer and food photographer? There would be no control over your income – will you be able to live with that?”
Yet the dreamer in me begged that I choose the other path – “Give it a shot, you never know what will unfold.”
Eventually, after much deliberation, I plunged headlong into freelancing. I figured that there was no better time to work on my dreams to be a full-time writer and food photographer than now – when my desire was greater than my fears and my heart was thumping with excitement about the prospect (I took it as a sign that I was heading in the right direction).
Almost eight months after I took that decision, as I sit here in the cafe typing away on an afternoon in the middle of the work week, I can tell you with total security that I’m so glad I did what my heart nudged me to.
There’s a quote by C. Joybell C. that I heard for the first time yesterday. It resonated with me from the moment I heard it, and I think you should hear it too.
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that as long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
– C. Joybell C.
Today I want to share these chickpea flour chocolate chunk cookies with you.
As with everything in my life, I’m constantly learning, and last weekend, I discovered that chickpea flour is another naturally gluten-free flour that actually results in beautiful, crispy cookies. I found myself very surprised in fact, because I’ve never really been a fan of chickpeas and its strong beany taste.
So when I saw a recipe for chickpea flour chocolate chip cookies on Ambitious Kitchen, I was intrigued. I’d bookmarked the recipe earlier last week, and as the days rolled by, I kept returning to the recipe, overwhelmed with curiosity and a sudden desire to try a different type of gluten-free flour.
I made a vegan version of this recipe twice in two days (I guess you can tell how good it really was).
The first time, I swapped out the egg in the original recipe for a chia egg, and made the cookies without chocolate, just to see how they would turn out. Juan and I devoured the entire batch of cookies in just a couple of hours.
The next day, I found myself picking up the packet of chickpea flour again. This time, I added chocolate chunks – because if the cookies were already amazing on their own, they were definitely going to be even better with chocolate.
So there you go my friends – here are chickpea flour chocolate chunk cookies that are both gluten-free and vegan. These cookies have an amazingly crispy texture, and to be honest, the beany chickpea taste was barely noticeable. Plus, I love the yellow color that the chickpea flour lends to the cookies.
They look just like normal cookies made with eggs! Even better, these cookies are so easy to make that you can whip up a batch in under 30 minutes. And in case you need a little more convincing, chickpea flour is a great way of increasing your intake of fiber and vegetable protein. How’s that for awesome?
Here’s how you can make these cookies, right now.
Start off by preparing a flax egg (see this post on how to make a flax egg). Next, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In a large bowl, beat some softened coconut oil and sugar together until the mixture is creamy. Add in vanilla extract, the flax egg and a bit of water, then mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, baking powder and salt together until combined, then sift the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon until you get a homogeneous cookie dough. (Note that the dough should be neither too dry nor too wet. Here’s a simple solution: if the dough is too dry, add an additional tablespoon of water, and if the dough is too wet, add an additional tablespoon of chickpea flour.)
Once the dough is ready, gently fold in the chocolate chunks until the chocolate chunks are evenly distributed. Using one tablespoon of dough per cookie, roll the dough into 12 evenly-sized balls.
Place the balls of dough in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between each ball. Flatten the balls very very slightly with your fingertips and then bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. Now all you have to do is wait for 15 minutes until the cookies cool before eating!
What are you waiting for? Go and make these cookies now, because they really are that good!
- ½ cup coconut oil, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups chickpea flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chocolate chunks
- Prepare the flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix well and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes).
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (180 deg. Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Beat softened coconut oil and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is creamy.
- Add in vanilla extract, flax egg and two tablespoons of water, and mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk chickpea flour, baking powder and salt until combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well until you get a homogeneous cookie dough. (The dough should not be too dry nor too wet. If the dough is too dry, add in another 1 tablespoon of water; if dough it too wet, add 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour.)
- Fold in the chocolate chunks into the dough until chocolate chunks are evenly distributed.
- Using one tablespoon of dough per cookie, roll the dough into 12 evenly sized balls.
- Place the balls of dough in one single layer on the prepared baking sheet (leave 3 inches of space between each ball), and flatten each ball of dough very slightly with your fingertips.
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until edges are slightly golden.
- Allow cookies to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating.