This Browned Butter Maple Hummus Will Make You Rethink the Genre


Photo by Claire Lower

In what I can only call “a crisis of faith,” I have made the trend known as “dessert hummus” and found it to be very pleasing. When it was first (gently) suggested I explore dessert hummus by my (sweet and understanding) editor, I demanded a phone call, so alarmed by the concept was I.

“I just don’t think I can make one I feel good about recommending!” I exclaimed. “This is going to be avocado chocolate pudding all over again!” (Avocado chocolate pudding tastes exactly how you think it would—like chocolate and avocados.) But Alice soothed me with her calming voice and convinced me to at least try it. (She also employed the “Fine, just don’t do it” tactic—a trick used by my own mother to get me to take gymnastics and sell Girl Scout cookies.)

The key, we decided, was respecting the chickpea. Instead of smothering them with chocolate powder to make an uncanny valley brownie batter, or mixing them with M&M’s to make not-quite-cookie-dough, one needed to treat them just as they would any other plant part that straddles the realms of sweet and savory. I wouldn’t put chocolate powder or M&M’s on roasted sweet potatoes, but I would drizzle them with maple, and bathe them in brown butter. This is the tack I took with my sweet hummus, and I am now traumatized by how much I like this starchy, nutty, sweet spread.

But don’t take my word for it—I sure wouldn’t!—make it and try it for yourself. To do so, you will need:

  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if you’re using canned)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A couple of healthy pinches of fresh nutmeg
  • Salt to taste

Add the chickpeas, tahini, and maple syrup to a food processor and pulse until well combined. Cook your butter in a pan over medium heat until it turns a light brown color and smells nice and nutty. Turn the food processor on, and drizzle in the butter as it’s running. Turn the food processor off, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, and serve with fruit, pretzels, rice cakes (if you are into that), or anything that would be good with peanut butter. Take a bite, enjoy your sweet hummus, and come join me in this brave new world.

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