Posts Tagged ‘vegan cookies’
Chocolate Chip Cookies!
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A conundrum exists when it comes to chocolate chip cookies at Christmas. On the one hand, they are delicious and always seem to disappear faster than the other cookies. On the other hand, they don’t feel very festive or Christmas-y. Every year, I assemble a Christmas Cookie tray and fill it with different types of Christmas cookies, and every year without fail, chocolate chip makes the cut.  In a way, they are my fallback cookie, in case all of the other cookies come out tasting like dirt. They’re also easily the most accessible of all vegan cookies, because everybody is used to them. A chocolate chip vegan cookie is a must easier sell than, say, a pressed spritz cookie with naturally-colored vegan sprinkles. With chocolate chip, there’s no explaining or hard sell; people just pick them up and munch away.

For these particular chip-filled little darlings, I veganized a reduced-fat recipe by substituting egg replacer for the egg whites (yes, the original recipe uses egg-whites) and using earth balance instead of butter. Helpful hint: melting the butter before using it allows you to use less. It’s some kind of miracle of science or physics that allows you to cut the fat in the recipe, which is a good thing because you will want to eat twice as many of these cookies. They are seriously that good.

In Pursuit of Perfection
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 In March, I was able to perfectly harness the delicious flavors of Girl Scout Cookies, while reducing the fat and sugar to an acceptable level. After that experiment, I abandoned cookies for awhile to focus instead on cupcakes and muffins, and somewhere along the way I lost my touch. I made chocolate chip cookies a couple of weeks ago, and they were not my best work. I replaced most of the oil in the recipe with applesauce and reduced the sugar quite a bit. My friend and fellow vegan, Carl, was happy to suffer through them, and I have included a picture of the failed cookies just to illustrate what a great liar he is for having eaten them with a straight face. I tried another batch the following night, using vegetable oil, applesauce, and molasses. While these were a little better, they were still kind of chewy and a little greasy. I decided that it had to be time for a different approach.
Instead of focusing on reducing the sugar and the oil, I would start with the basics: a full-fat, full-sugar vegan chocolate chip cookie. They were absolutely perfect. I brought a warm batch in to work and they were gone by 11 AM, which is a sign of a pretty damn good cookie. A few days later, I tried the same recipe, but replacing half of the oil with applesauce. Those also came out pretty good, although a little more scone-like, which is something that I am working on. They key to this cookie recipe is cinnamon, which gives it a nice hint of something special. The granola is optional, but another way to get pretty impressive. When I made them with applesauce, I substituted out some of the vegan chocolate chips for some Peruvian dark chocolate, which I bought in wafer-form and cut into thin slivers. They were probably the fanciest cookies I have ever made.



Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8th tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4th c. white vegan sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/4 c. cold water
1 TBSP molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. soy milk
1/4th a package vegan chocolate chips
1/4 c. combination of chopped nuts
2 TBSP granola

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a blender, combine the vegetable oil and sugar and blend until it is thick and white and creamy (Yes, it will look like that). Stir in the water, molasses, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Pour the sugar mixture into a bowl and add flour, 1/3rd at a time, stirring completely between each addition.
Now, the art of the soy milk. Add the soymilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the batter becomes smooth. It should pull away from the sides of the pan and when you press the back of the spoon against it, it should appear smooth.
Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts, and granola. The granola should be pearl-sized and you might have to crumble it in your fingers.

Friendship Cookies…Oops
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So we took to the mean trails of Alta Dena with the LA Veggie Hikers. Always one to cause trouble, my boyfriend got into an minor altercation over a parking space. I will not comment on who was right or who was wrong.He pulled a U-turn to get into a parking space and someone in the car behind him pulled a U-turn to get into the same parking space. Looks were exchanged.
Obviously someone in this relationship didn’t get a check next to “plays well with others”.Luckily for the both of us,  I got a check mark next to “seeks validation.”
Today I decided to bring along something delicious my favorite Los-Angeles based vegetarian hikers. I decided that cookies are hands down the best snack for the middle of a hike. Not only were they a great pick-me-up, they were also easy to carry in the rockin’ backpack I got from work.
I got to thinking about what went in to a good trail mix. I knew that I needed dried fruit and nuts, and I almost used chocolate chips. However, at the last minute I decided on carob chips instead. I’m big on the carob chips lately, because they are lower in fat and calories than chocolate. They also pack in more nutrition, and in a cookie the taste is indiscernible. <tangent> Whole Foods sometimes carries carob chips in the bulk section, but I found out the other day that they usually only have them during the holidays. It wasn’t a big loss, though, because I did end up with a perfect excuse to visit the co-op. They not only had carob chips, but I also went home with some cinnamon bread made from wheat berries. This is going to be very important, as I am planning on going on the McDougall plan this week </tangent>. More on that later.
I did not commit to a fruit/nut combination before going to the bulk section. Sometimes locking yourself in to a cookie filling can really backfire. So, I allowed the availability to be my guide and came up with some of the most delicious, moist, chewy vegan cookies I’ve ever had.

Trail Mix Cookies

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. applesauce
  • 2 TBSP white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp.salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. oats
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds
  • 6 dried figs, sliced
  • 1/4 c. dried cherries
  • 1/4 c. carob chips

Pre-heat the oven to 375
In a bowl, mash the banana until it is smooth. Add sugars and applesauce and whisk together for a few minutes, until creamy.
Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix very well.
Add half of the flour and mix well. Then incorporate the other half.
Mix in the oats
Gently fold in the fruit, carob, and nuts.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a non-stick baking sheet. One lined with parchment is best.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies are slightly browned.

Grrl Scout Cookies: Mint-Core
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As far as my grrl scout cookies went, these were by far the best recreation of the original, which is why I had to save them for my last post. I used a simple chocolate wafer cookie dough and added a bit of peppermint extract. Then, I further “minted” them out by pouring a little of the extract into the dark chocolate topping. The cookies were perfectly crunchy and deliciously chocolate-y. They had a strong minty flavor, but it was not overpowering. It was very much like that sensation that comes from eating a peppermint patty. Hmm, maybe that’s what I’ll do with the rest of that peppermint extract.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this particular baking project. I had a tough week last week and I very much used last Friday night to take refuge in my apartment and devote a couple of hours to something I really love. I’m also always glad to have cookies to share with friends and co-workers, because I like to think that it brightens up their day.
This week really got me thinking about going into business and selling some of these cookies. I’m always looking for ways to monetize my life. So, if any of you know of any good commercial kitchens with time to rent, or about the permits and licenses you need to sell baked goods, please, please, please hit me up.
Mint-Core

  • 2 tbsp. Earth Balance
  • 2 tbsp. applesauce
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • ener-g egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Beat the butter, applesauce, sugar, and ener-g in a large bowl until light in color. Add peppermint and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bow, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for an hour. 
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8th of an inch. These are thin cookies. 
  7. Bake for 6 minutes or until firm. 

Chocolate Coating

  • 6 tbsp. vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. earth balance
  • 1 tsp. peppermint
  1. Melt the chocolate chips, earth balance, and peppermint together and stir well. 
  2. Dip the tops of the cookies into the chocolate and smooth out with the back of a knife. 

40 cookies at 44 calories each

    Tell All Your Friends
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    Continuing on with my week-long salute to vegan cookies, I am pleased to present my next recipe, a vegan twist on the tagalong. 
    The girl scout cookie website describes them as vanilla-flavored cookies topped with peanut butter and coated in milk chocolate. It sounded delicious to me, and substituting dark chocolate for the milk seemed like it would only improve the cookies. As usual, I was right, and the dark chocolate added a layer of complexity and sophistication. I was surprised that these were my smallest cookies, but also packed in the most calories. We’re talking 105 calories a cookie here, which means that as soon as they were baked I had them packaged up and ready to go to friends’ houses and work. I’ve got pretty good will-power when it comes to eating, but I was not about to live under the same roof as these.

    Notyourfriends (because nobody likes a tagalong)
    cookies

    • 3 tbsp. earth balance
    • 2 tbsp. applesauce
    • 2 tbsp. agave
    • ener-g egg replacer for 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 2/3 c. unbleached whole wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    peanut butter filling

    • 2 tbsp all natural peanut butter
    • 1 tbsp. earth valance
    • 1 tsp sugar

    chocolate coating

    • dark chocolate chips
    • 3 tbsp. soy milk
    1. In a mixing bowl, beat together earth balance, applesauce, and agave until smooth. Add the ener-g and vanilla, mixing well. 
    2. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together until well incorporated. 
    3. Add the dry mixture to the wet, 1/2 at a time. Don’t overwork the dough. 
    4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. 
    5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    6. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough. Separate it into golf-ball sized pieces then flatten and place on the cookie sheet. 
    7. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Immediately after taking them out of the oven, use the back of a spoon or your thumb to make an indentation into the cookie. Let them cool.
    8. In a small pan, warm 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp. earth balance, and 1 tsp brown sugar. Spoon into the holes you just made in the cookies. Place cookies in the freezer for 20 minutes.
    9. Melt together chocolate chips and soy milk, then dip the tops of the cookies into it. 

    18 cookies at 105 calories each

      Grrl Scout Cookies: Do-si-dont’s
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      And the grrl scout cookie party continues. I wish that this whole idea didn’t probably violate a million intellectual property laws, because I really think that this could take off as a business. I’m also having a great time employing my friends to re-name cookies and brainstorm ideas. All of the clever cookie names can be attributed to my friend Carolyn. Check out her blog here. Today we are talking about Do-si-does. Do-si-does are oatmeal sandwich cookies with a peanut-butter filling. I love oatmeal cookies, and I had a great recipe using bananas and plenty of steel-cut oats. I like this particular recipe because wet and dry ingredients get mixed in the same bowl. This means less dishes, and for someone who does not have a dishwasher, that is a very, very big deal.

      A disclaimer: I totally screwed up this recipe when I made it. I added an extra half a cup of oats to the batter because I thought it was too wet. As a result, my cookies were a little dry. I combated this by dipping them in soymilk, which was a good solution. However, I am going to save all of you the trouble and let you know how to make them the right way. These cookies can be used for my do-si-don’ts, or you could serve them all by themselves. If I were just using the oatmeal cookie recipe, I would probably have added some raisins into the batter. I love raisins. 
       grrl scout © Carl Pinder, 2010. Used with permission

      Do-si-dont’s

      • 1 medium banana, mashed
      • 1/2 c. brown sugar
      • 1/2 tbsp. egg replacer mixed in 2 tbsp. water
      • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
      • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp. salt
      • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
      • 3/4 c. flour
      • 1/2 c. steel cut oats, ground into a flour in a food processor
      • 1/2 c. steel cut oats in natural form
      1. Cream banana and sugar. Add egg replacer and beat thoroughly.
      2. Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, flour, and oats, beating well after each.
      3. Drop by golfball-sized scoops onto a greased baking sheet, about 2″ apart. 
      4. If making the sandwich cookies, flatten them just a little. 
      5. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.



      Filling

      • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
      • 1 tbsp. soy milk
      1. Heat the peanut butter and soy milk, either on the stove or in the microwave.
      2. Spread a thin layer in between two cookies. 

      36 cookies at 45 calories each

        A Study In Grrrl Scout Cookies
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        February and March mean that spring is almost here, but they also mean that it is what used to be my favorite time of the year: Girl Scout Cookie Season. I am not alone. I meet very few people who were raised vegan all their lives, so most vegans that I have talked to in the past couple of weeks have, like me, fond memories of Girl Scout cookies. These delectable little treats are loaded with sugar and fat and peddled by adorable little girls in uniforms. Make no mistake though, these girls are ruthless in their pursuit of a sale. Besides fund raising, the primary reason for selling cookies to to teach Girl Scouts entrepreneurship and business savvy. Think about that the next time you get puppy dog eyes outside of the grocery store. I bought 3 boxes this year, and promptly disposed of them by opening them during a morning stand-up meeting. There is nothing like a sugar rush at 10 oclock in the morning. The next few days, though, were the toughest. Everywhere I went, people had boxes of cookies out on their desks. It took a great deal of willpower, but I managed to resist. Still, I had cookie fever and I had it bad. But, I had a fantastic idea for my next baking project.

        From the producers who brought you Blueberry Bread Bake-off, Christmas Cookie Extravaganza, and Pancake Palooza, I am proud to present:
        A Study in Grrrl Scout Cookies: Cruelty-free Versions of America’s Favorite Treats.

        I tried 4 recipes. I ended up with 3 batches of delicious cookies and 1 batch that I royally screwed up. I will leave it up to the taste testers to decide which batches were which. I will be posting 1 recipe per day for the entire week, so check back often and while you are at it, click on some ads from my wonderful sponsors.

        First up, we have my recipe for saFauxas, a new-age take on Samoas, which are vanilla cookies with a caramel and toasted coconut topping, drizzled in chocolate. Classic samoas are also dipped completely in chocolate on the bottom, but I stuck to chocolate on the top only, because I really think that much more would have been overwhelming.
        Safauxa Bars
        Crust
        1/2c. organic brown sugar
        1/2 c. applesauce
        4 tbsp. earth balance
        En-er-gee egg replacer for 1 egg
        1/2 tsp vanilla
        2 c. unbleached whole wheat flour
        1/4 tsp. salt

        Caramel Layer
        1 c. brown sugar
        1/2 c. water
        1/2 tsp. vanilla
        4 tbsp soy milk
        1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in water

        1.5 c. shredded coconut

        3 tbsp. soy milk
        1/2 c. chocolate chips

        1. Cream together the applesauce and earth balance. Mix in the ener-g and vanilla. 
        2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt and then combine with the wet ingredients. Mix well. 
        3. Press dough into the bottom of a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 
        4. On a separate cookie sheet, spread your coconut in a thin layer and place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until it’s a dark golden brown.
        5. For the caramel: Take a small frying pan and  whisk together sugar and water until it boils. Then add vanilla and soymilk, stirring constantly. Continue to let it simmer until it darkens in color. Reduce heat and stir in cornstarch. Cook until it achieves your desired consistency (it should cling to the spoon when stirring).
        6. Spread the caramel over the cookie base while it is still warm. This is a good time to clean your pan because you do not want to be scraping off hardened caramel later. 
        7. Sprinkle coconut on top of the caramel layer.
        8. Melt chocolate chips and remaining soymilk and drizzle over the cookies. I used my stove over low heat, but you could also put it in a microwave for about 30 seconds.
        9. Let the caramel cool and then place the whole pan in the fridge for about an hour. Cut into bars and serve. 

        40 bars at 87 calories/bar

        Valentines Day Cookie Recipe
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        Valentine’s Day is coming up this week. Yes, it’s a completely made up holiday to promote consumerism. However, it’s still one of my favorite holidays. I love the chocolates, the flowers, and the idea of spending a special evening with the person you love. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of my control, I will not have a valentine this year. But, just because I’m going to die alone doesn’t mean I shouldn’t post a delicious cookie recipe.

        This recipe is a veganized version of my mother’s potato cookies. She makes them at Christmas every year, and I absolutely love them. Her version is exactly like mine, except I use earth balance instead of butter and sweet potatoes instead of white. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, so it could be argued that these cookies are good for you.

        I think that there’s something to be said for giving baked goods instead of a bunch of store-bought chocolate hearts. It’s quirky and interesting and more special because of the effort that goes into it. I once had the brilliant stroke of genius to bring a few of these very cookies on a first date. It was a little ballsy, but it was one of those rare first dates (for me anyway) where he actually called when he said he would. If these cookies can get Ms. Unlucky in Love a phone call, they will probably bring the man (or woman) of your dreams to their knees.


        Vegan Potato Cookies with Raspberry Jam
        2 c. organic and unbleached white flour
        1/4 c. organic powdered sugar, plus more for sprinkling
        1 c.  cooked sweet potatoes
        1/2 c. earth balance
        1 tsp. vanilla
        1 c. organic raspberry jam, jelly, or preserves

        1. Boil about 3 medium sweet potatoes until they are so tender that they break apart with a fork, drain them, and put through a blender or food processor until smooth.
        2. Let potatoes cool and then mix in a bowl with the earth balance and vanilla, until the mixture is creamy and light in color.
        3. Add the powdered sugar, half at a time.
        4. Gradually mix in the flour until the mixture forms a ball in the center of the bowl. I usually take this opportunity to let the dough chill for about 20 minutes, because it’s easier to work with.
        5. Turn half of the dough out onto a floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll it out to about 1/4″ thickness. These cookies don’t rise or fall when they bake, so whatever thickness you make the dough will be the thickness of your finished product.
        6. Cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter and place on a nonstick cookie sheet.
        7. Spoon a teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie.
        8. Roll out the other half of the dough and repeat steps 5 and 6. But, use a straw to poke a tiny hole in the middle of each cookie. These are going to be your tops, so stick them on.
        9. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is just starting to brown.
        10. Let cool and serve with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
        Yields: 3 dozen cookies will be 69 calories each













        disclaimer: the cookies pictured above are not my cookies, but once you put a shit ton of powdered sugar on them, they all look alike ;)