Wonderfully Walnutty Banana Bread, Two Ways

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

What’s a gal to do when suddenly she finds herself in possession of a ten-pound bag of walnuts? (Thanks, Gourmet Nuts & Dried Fruit!) Make banana bread, of course! (Bananas + walnuts are my favorite.)

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I started out with the classics: soft, spongy banana bread laced with a generous helping of chocolate chips and walnuts. Delish!

I could have stopped after polishing off that loaf in record time, but a) I still had a half of bunch of rapidly blackening bananas and b) I wanted to try a loaf out on Mags, the littlest and oldest of my dog-kids. Over the past few years, she’s slowly been shedding weight, to the point that she now looks almost painfully thin. Thankfully, I think this is more a result of her fussy eating habits than a health problem. I thought I was doing good by letting her eat as much as she wanted and not pushing her – so as to not make mealtimes a horror show – but apparently not. My new strategy is a mix of good cop/bad cop: cajole her to eat a set amount at every mealtime, but also mix things up with new and exciting foods.

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The result? Five different kinds of kibble in my cupboard, not to mention a bunch of canned food, and specially prepared dishes like roasted sweet potatoes, tofu battered in nutritional yeast, and sweet and sour soy curls. She is so spoiled, you guys.

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Mags is especially fond of baked goods, including banana bread. Since walnuts are a big no-no for dogs, I kept the batter kind of basic, without any add-ins. Instead, I dressed things up in the form of a topping, borrowed from the Big Boat Banana Bread from Laura Dakin’s Cookin’ Up a Storm. That way, I got the top half, Mags the bottom, and we were both as happy as clams in a vegan ocean town.

Recipes after the jump!

(More below the fold…)

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies, Redux

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

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I was feeling down, so Shane offered to make me cookies. Naturally, I chose the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur that I tried recently and love-love-loved. And you know what? HIS CAME OUT EVEN BETTER THAN MINE!: soft, chewy, and so tender they practically melt in my mouth! Almost a bit doughy, but not quite. Baked to perfection, basically.

Of course he immediately started listing reasons why this simply could not be. (All bullshit, by the by.) He can see the writing on the wall: now that I know he’s not incompetent when it comes to baked goods, he’s gonna get roped into making me cookies on the regular.

Maybe this is why he came home with a tray of Pumpkin Spice Oreos yesterday, hmmm? Trying to head off the inevitable?

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

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Since hitting my thirties, I’ve kind of soured on chocolate. Well, not soured, exactly (Go Max Go bars are the bomb!) … but my chocolate cravings have grown more and more sporadic. I prefer matcha cupcakes over chocolate, and plain ole vanilla ice cream to chocolate obsession. But this week I was struck with a hankering for chocolate chip cookies that just couldn’t be ignored. (I blame it on the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies I made for the dogs. They seriously smell good enough to eat, carob chips and all.) And not just any old chocolate chip cookies, either – but soft, chewy, so-moist-they-just-might-be-underbaked chocolate chip cookies like you’d find in the bakery.

Enter the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur – which, incidentally, might be the very last chocolate chip cookie recipe I had left to try from this particular book. (Make ALL THE COOKIES!) The featured picture strongly resembles Wegman’s bakery cookies – I worked there in college, and coveted all their baked goods which I couldn’t have because LACTOSE – so my hopes were high.

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And this recipe? VERY CLOSE to what I wanted. This even though I was missing one of the ingredients (blackstrap molasses; Shane reminded me several hours after the fact that we still have an unopened jar of homemade molasses given to us by our neighbors for Christmas; doh!) and had to defrost some applesauce on the stove before I could even get started (it’s always going bad otherwise; grrrr!).

The recipe’s easy enough, although my genius plan to dole out the dough using a tablespoon-sized melonballer was a bust. The dough proved way too sticky for its dinky scraper, and it shows in my misshapen cookies. That’s okay! They’re still delish.

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Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

(Say that five times fast…and you get a cookie!)

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So this was my first time making gluten free-cookies – or at least that I’m aware of – and I’m happy to report that it was not, in point o’ facts, a disaster. Actually it was super-easy, so much so that the fact that these cookies are GF didn’t even register until the next day. (I know, tsk tsk on me for not reading the entire recipe before tackling it! IT SAYS SO RIGHT IN THE INTRO!)

I was more worried about using the hand mixer, since we don’t exactly have an amiable relationship. Seriously, most of our outings end up with a kitchen covered in cookie dough/mashed potatoes/whathaveyou and me crying on the floor. Usually Shane has to step in to finish the job and prevent me from having a breakdown. But this time around? Smooth sailing. Maybe the beaters just prefer almond and oat flour to whole wheat? Who knows!

These Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are so good that they almost (almost!) make up for the fact that they are the only cookies to be found in The Oh She Glows Cookbook (boo! cookies are the only dessert worth making! I’m telling Cookie Monster on you!). In place of wheat flour, there’s almond and oat, along with almond butter and chocolate chips. Mine came out thin, with just the right crispy-to-chewy factor.

You’re supposed to roll ’em into balls, but the dough was sticky enough that I spooned it instead, with no real issues. I guess they’re not as perfectly round as they could be, but who cares? My taste buds sure don’t.

Y is for Yoga Cookies

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0017)

Rolling the dough for these cookies, I was reminded of the scene in Firefly when, upon trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to sneak a bite of her Ice Planet, River Tam infamously complains: “My food is problematic.”

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So named because Chloe frequently enjoys them as a post-workout snack, the Yoga Cookies from Chloe’s Kitchen are as tasty as they are a pain in the ass to make. The components can be separated into two parts: the dough proper, and all the extra add-ins (rolled oats, walnuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and raisins – replaced here with dried cranberries because yum), which the dough is supposed to bind together.

Problem is, there wasn’t nearly enough dough to properly perform this most important task. Assembling all these delicious bits into cohesive cookies was difficult at best, and progressively more so the further I got into the process. The last two cookies were so unstable that I dared not try to flatten them, lest they crumble back into their individual parts. And at the end of the day, I was left with enough bits to form one more cookie, but not nearly enough dough to hold it all together.

Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0001)

Instead, I sprinkled the leftovers – which resembled uncooked granola – onto a bowl of strawberries. Spoiler alert: it was ridiculously good. So much so that I’m thinking about turning this into a granola recipe!

The cookies stabilized a bit once they were cooked, but not enough that I could easily handle them without pieces of walnuts and flakes of coconut breaking free left and right. Still, they’re damn good cookies, and I think I’d like to give this recipe another go. Next time I plan on either increasing the dough by 50% or cutting down on the rolled oats by a like amount – I think that ought to do the trick.

Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0020)

Since these are a yoga-themed snack, I really wanted to photograph them with my “downward dog” (really play bow) rat terrier figurine, but he was a little too big for this project. Instead I used one of my many (many many many) dachshund trinkets, who conveniently comes equipped with baskets to carry all your vegan goodies. He’s not performing any yoga pose that I know of – in fact, that arched back looks so unnatural that I suspect a real dachshund back might snap if stretched that way! – but he’ll have to do.

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Incidentally, my ratio of dachshund to rat terrier figurines is so skewed that it’s actually a little comical, considering I’ve only been owned by one dachshund in my life – compared to six rat terriers.* Rat terrier nicknacks just aren’t that common, whereas dachshunds might be the single most popular breed for collectibles. Wiener dogs are hilarious, yo! Everyone loves a sausage doggeh.

* Now that Ralphie’s gone we really look like breed snobs, but really it’s just because terriers are so common (and thus commonly abandoned) in the Midwest. You can’t throw a homemade biscuit in the pound without being trampled by a pack of ’em, I tell you what. Mags and Finnick are the only two who we adopted specifically because of their looks – and that was because of Mags’s resemblance to dear Kaylee, not her “charming” rat terrier personality per se.

Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0022)

 
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