The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2014 edition!

January 7th, 2015 3:37 pm by Kelly Garbato

2014-12-18 - Veganom Rumnog Pecan Cookies -0003 [flickr]

You guys, I baked so many cookies this year, I’m having trouble keeping track of them all! In addition to sending a basketful to our omni neighbors, I also mailed a giant box to my parents. They’re in the midst of a remodel, and the entire first floor of their house is pretty much unusable. Luckily my mom’s sis is conveniently located next door, so they’re been crashing at her house a lot.

(Fun story: I sent all their gifts to my aunt’s house – since they’d have to lug everything over there anyway – and Every. Single. Package. was delivered to my parents’ house instead. I.E. THE WRONG HOUSE. I expected that of USPS, but UPS? COME ON GUYS.)

Still, I thought cookies would be a nice gesture, seeing as they don’t have a kitchen of their own at the moment.

Plus we got to eat the extras our own bad selves, so bonus.

As per usual, most of the cookies were from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I pinky swear I’ll review this year. I had a few pretty epic fails, but overall I’m happy with my progress – I get better and better at cookies every year!

 

2014-12-16 - Maple Bacon Dog Biscuits - 0007 [flickr]

2014-12-16 - Maple Bacon Dog Biscuits - 0018 [flickr]

Bacon Maple Biscuits for the dogs from Emma’s K9 Kitchen. With accidentally vegan bacon bits & lots of love! These smelled amazing when baking, but also lost their festive reddish hue. Not that the dogs much care. (The giant ones are for my mom’s big guy, Copper.)

 

2014-12-17 - VCC PB Fudge FAIL - 0006 [flickr]

A pretty epic Peanut Butter Fudge fail, courtesy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. As I was mixing the pb with the hot sugar concoction, it turned powdery without warning (like dark magic!). I went through the motions, packing it into a loaf pan and chilling it anyway – and it actually held together okay – but fudgey it is not. Probably gonna mix it with frozen bananas to make peanut butter banana soft serve. (Sorry, mom!)

 

2014-12-17 - VCC Nanaimo Bar MESS - 0002 [flickr]

2014-12-17 - VCC Nanaimo Bar MESS - 0006 [flickr]

A very messy batch of Cashew Cappuccino Nanaimo Bars. Another fail from Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, though this one might be my fault: rather than letting the top chocolate layer set at room temp, I made the mistake of chilling it in the fridge. When I went to slice the bar, the chocolate was so hard it cracked and broke. I left the whole shebang on the counter to see if the chocolate would soften up a bit, but then the creamy middle layer started to ooze. SUCH A MESS!

I still think the top chocolate layer was a tad too thick, regardless.

 

2014-12-17 - VCC Ginger Snaps - 0009 [flickr]

Awesome Ginger Snaps from The Vegan Cookies Connoisseur. They’re a snap to make (pun intended!), and cool to a nice, crisp texture – just like the store-bought stuff!

 

2014-12-17 - VCC Soft PB Choc Chip Cookies - 0006 [flickr]

2014-12-17 - VCC Soft PB Choc Chip Cookies - 0013 [flickr]

Soft Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur for my peanut butter-loving mom. Super easy to make and hella tasty. I had to bake them a few minutes longer than recommended, but that could just be the fault of my gross old oven.

 

2014-12-18 - VCC Candy CandyCane ChocChip - 0011 [flickr]

2014-12-18 - VCC Candy CandyCane ChocChip - 0001 [flickr]

2014-12-21 - VCC Candy Cane Choc Chip - 0002 [flickr]

These Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur are a little unusual. In addition to chocolate chips, each batch contains eight crushed candy canes, along with just a hint of peppermint extract. The result is pretty tasty, but be sure to pulverize the candy canes – the larger bits make the cookies a little dangerous to eat.

I actually made two batches of these, one each for my parents and neighbors, and I had trouble getting the bake time just right. The cookies stay a pale color, even when done, so it can be difficult to judge from sight alone. The first time around I baked them a full ten minutes longer than directed, and I think I overdid it; on my second try, I only baked them a minute or two extra. I was afraid that I’d underbaked them, since the top of the cookies looked a little doughy; but once they cooled, they firmed up a bit. So I guess the lesson is that these might look not-quite-done, even when they are!

 

2014-12-18 - VCC Snickerdoodles - 0007 [flickr]

Classic Snickerdoodles are classic! This is the only recipe from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (or anywhere, I think) that I repeated this year, on account of I love these cookies to death. I enjoyed a few of the extras, but I need to make a batch for myself like yesterday.

 

2014-12-18 - Veganom Rumnog Pecan Cookies -0002 [flickr]

2014-12-18 - Veganom Rumnog Pecan Cookies -0001 [flickr]

A slightly altered version of the Rumnog Pecan Cookies from Veganomicon. Snickerdoodles excepted, these were my favorites of the bunch. The cookies are thin and just a little crispy, with a soft, chewy center. You roll the dough balls in the crushed, raw pecans, so that they stay on the outside of the cookie and get nice and tosted during baking. Yum!

Since the frosting is described as similar to buttercream – and I didn’t think it’d hold up well during shipping – I swapped it out for the Eggnog Frosting from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. The ingredients lists are pretty similar (rum rum rum!), so I took a chance, figuring that the taste would be fairly similar, if not spot-on. The cookies are amazing on their own; epic when coated with the sweet, gooey frosting!

2014-12-21 - Veganom Rumnog Pecan - 0001 [flickr]

2014-12-21 - Veganom Rumnog Pecan - 0005 [flickr]

When it came time to make a second batch for the neighbors, I stuck with the original frosting recipe…which, as it just so happened, wasn’t very butter-creamy at all! It was actually pretty close to icing, and tasted a lot like the Eggnog Icing I used above. The frosting was a little runny though, and I ended up adding an extra 1/3 cup+ of powdered sugar to thicken it up.

Either way. Delish.

 

2014-12-21 - VCC Mexican Wedding Cookies - 0004 [flickr]

Also for the neighbors: Mexican Wedding Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. These are like little balls of sugar laced with crushed pecans and dusted with even more sugar. Very tasty (read: buttery!), and easy to make.

 

2014-12-21 - VCC Pumpkin Spice Cookies - 0009 [flickr]

Last but not least, Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies (on a pumpkin-shaped plate, natch) from (you guessed it!) The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. The batter was a little on the sticky side (and no amount of extra flour seemed able to fix it), so I wasn’t able to flatten these by hand as instructed. That’s okay, though, since they seemed to pancake on their own during baking. The first sixteen cookies were a little on the bland side (not bad, but not awesome either), so I added some chocolate chips to the rest of the batch. (Which is actually offered as a variation, so.) Much better!

 

2014-12-22 - Cookie Basket - 0003 [flickr]

With the help of a handy, DIY gift basket from Wal-Mart and some festive cookie bags from the Dollar Store, I was able to turn the Rumnog Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies into a pretty handy care package for the neighbors.

2014-12-21 - Extras! - 0001 [flickr]

And after I sent some of the Bacon Maple Biscuits, Ginger Snaps, Soft Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Rumnog Cookies, and Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies to my family (not pictured; since these traveled UPS, I packed for function over form, resulting in a not-so-photogenic getup), I had a nice little sampler left over for myself!

 

2014-12-25 - VCC Root Beer Float Cookies - 0003 [flickr]

But wait! There’s more! I’ve had my eye on the Root Beer Float Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur for ages, so I finally hiked up my mittens and made a batch for Christmas Eve. On their own, neither the cookies nor the frosting really stands out, but when paired together, they’re pretty awesome. The frosting was kind of a cross between icing and buttercream; I think the texture would be better with shortening than margarine. The fats/oils seemed to separate while I was in the process of frosting the cookies.

Weird, the trouble I had with frosting this season!

 

2014-12-16 - French Bread Pizza - 0001 [flickr]

I was so busy making cookies in the weeks leading up to Christmas that we had French bread and pita pizzas pretty much every night. Not that I’m complaining! This one’s nothing special – mozzarella Follow Your Heart, onions, mushrooms, and red peppers – but it looks hella festive next to the tree!

 

2014-12-24 - Frying-Pan Pizza - 0002 [flickr]

And if that wasn’t enough, Shane made a Frying-Pan Pizza (recipe via Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano, which I love love LOVE) for X-Mas Eve. This one’s got cheddar Daiya, onions, mushrooms, and olives.

 

2014-12-25 - Lasagna With Tofu Ricotta - 0002 [flickr]

2014-12-25 - Lasagna With Tofu Ricotta - 0004 [flickr]

2014-12-25 - Lasagna With Tofu Ricotta - 0011 [flickr]

I really wanted to make something outrageous for Christmas dinner; after much soul- and stomach-searching, I came up with the idea of (*drumroll please*) MAC & CHEESE LASAGNA. My vision involved quite a bit of day-of work, though, so I decided to put it off until after the holidays. Plus if things went sideways I didn’t want to have to worry about scrounging up another meal on Christmas. (Not that a mac & cheese lasagna could go all that wrong, but still.)

In the end I played it safe with a traditional – but totally decadent – lasagna: homemade sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes, and (count ’em!) one-two-three cheeses: mozzarella Daiya, a tofu-cashew ricotta cheese (the same one from the Spaghetti Pie in Bake and Destroy), and a 50-50 nooch-breadcrumb topping. I accidentally made too many noodles, so we ended up getting two pans of lasagna out of the deal!

The lasagna was pretty yummy, but wet: the ricotta uses silken tofu, which does congeal a bit during baking, but not quite as much as I’d hoped. I actually like the second, “leftovers” lasagna better; there wasn’t quite enough ricotta for an entire layer, so I mixed it with the sauce to make it stretch. This is actually how the ricotta is used in the Spaghetti Pie, and I find it a much tastier alternative.

 

2014-12-24 - TVS NY Irish Cream Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

For dessert, I enjoyed a cone of New York Irish Cream Ice Cream from The Vegan Scoop. I’m not a big drinker, so I wasn’t sure how well I’d like the whiskey flavor, but it was actually quite good – not overpowering at all! There’s two tablespoons of whiskey – added during the churning process – which is apparently enough to keep the ice cream from freezing completely. Consequently, the finished product is more like soft serve; great for scooping, but you’ve got to polish it off fast!

 

2014-12-23 - Molasses - 0003 [flickr]

As for food-ish gifts, we received a jar of homemade Sorghum Molasses – “for all your baking” – from the neighbors. Very cool!

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