Vegan Christmas Cookies Infiltrate Your Gift Basket

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

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Admittedly, our Christmas cookie game was a little on the weak side this year; all I wanted to do was binge-watch The Closer and shovel potato chips down my gullet. But we always make a gift basket for the neighbors, and Shane insisted on keeping with tradition even if it meant he made everything himself. The horror, right? So we compromised and split the work.

For a change of pace (and also because I’ve all but exhausted the holiday options in The Vegan Cookies Connoisseur), I decided to pull the recipes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This was my first time baking from it, and I was curious to see how Cookie Jar would stack up next to my well-worn, much-loved copy of Connoisseur. Which I honestly cannot recommend enough.

As per usual, we planned to make more than we needed – that way, if one of the recipes didn’t come out quite right, we’d still have enough cookies to fill a good-sized tin. (It’s never come to this, but it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B.) Best-case, we’d end up with some leftovers to enjoy ourselves. (A-hah! Our true motivation.)

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No-Bake Pecan Chocolates – A cross between a cookie and a candy bar (cluster?), these no-bake pecan chocolates are super-easy to make and keep well – so basically they’re the perfect choice for a bake-a-thon such as this, since you can make them ahead or in a pinch. They’re okay-tasting; not my favorite, but not my least favorite either. (Shane liked them more than I did.) The brown rice syrup is a little overwhelming, threatening to drown out the chocolate and pecan flavors. Also they’re very sticky, though this isn’t necessary a negative; unlike the oh-so-delicate PB Crisscrosses (see below), these bad girls should hold together well during shipping.

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Peanut Butter Crisscrosses – These were by far my favorite of the bunch; so much so that I claimed all the extras for myself. (They don’t call me Cookie Monster for no reason, okay.) The instructions say to cook these directly on a greased cookie sheet – no parchment paper allowed! – which had me sweating bullets. (Barenaked cookie sheets and I have a history, and it is not pretty; more often than not, it ends in ashes and tears and broken dreams.) But it worked! Not a burnt or broken cookie in sight. In fact, these are thin and delicate and deliciously crumbly, in stark contrast to the thick and hearty peanut butter cookies I’m used to. So good, but tricky to pack (pro tip: let them chill overnight).

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Chocolaty Crinkle Cookies – I’m still on the fence with these. They’re easy enough to make, but go much faster if you have a partner – one person to scoop the dough and another to roll them in the two (two!) different piles of sugar (white and powdered). And while they’re actually kind of addictive, with a rich, fudgy center, I swear they have a slightly funny aftertaste, similar to the No-Bake Pecan Chocolates. Maybe it’s the dark corn syrup I’m tasting? idk, I’ve never worked with it before.

Thankfully, dipping them in vanilla buttercream helps. The taste, if not your general mood and energy.

Note to self: Must make these into cookie sandwiches some time.

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Irish Creme Kisses – Alcoholic cookies ftw! I love me a good frosted cookie, and Irish Creme Kisses are no exception. These cookies are a little on the stout and fat side, so I had to thicken the icing substantially to prevent massive runoff. Other than that, the recipe went off without a hitch.

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Peppermint Mocha Brownies – This is the only non-cookie dessert we made this year. It was kind of a last minute executive decision, so decreed because we had the time and also miscellaneous ribbon candy to spare. All but two squares got shipped off the the neighbors; enough for Shane and I to each get a taste. These are kind of interesting, kind of like a fudgy brownie with a crispy candy topping. Not the kind of dessert I’d have a lot, but perfect for this time of year. (Recipe via Fried Dandelions.)

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Finnick and Rennie can has kisses?
Or, How the sausage is made. (The sausage being gourmet food porn photos.)
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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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Matcha Cookies!

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

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I needed to think of something to make other than green tea ice cream to test this new brand of matcha I received for review, so I had pretty much the best idea ever: Matcha Cookies! Or St. Patty’s Day Snickerdoodles, if you prefer.

The recipe is modeled on the Snickerdoodle cookies in The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. You can find the recipe after the jump, but basically I just swapped out the cinnamon flavoring for matcha powder (two tablespoons, to be exact).

I was a little stumped on the coating – Snickerdoodles are rolled in cinnamon sugar prior to baking – but I decided to use almond flour in place of cinnamon, because I love the pairing of almond with green tea. White on green lacks the visual punch of brown on white, but it’s pretty tasty nonetheless – and that’s what really counts, yeah?

If you don’t have any almond flour, just use plain sugar instead! Or reduce the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon and add a teaspoon of almond extract to get your fix.

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(More below the fold…)

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2014 edition!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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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!

 

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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.)

(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Snowball Cookies

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

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Baked goods are always a little risky for me – cookies especially, which is tragic because I love them SO MUCH – which is why I usually stick to tried and true cookbooks. (See, e.g., Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I really should review one of these years.) But the Snowball Cookies in Vegan Holiday Cooking looked so tempting that I just couldn’t help myself. Caution, meet wind.

The results are a little mixed. While the cookies themselves are pretty easy to make and taste amazing, the chocolate icing (? ganache? glaze?) proved a bit of a mess. It was thin and runny and didn’t set on the cookies AT ALL, even after fifteen minutes in the fridge. Plus the recipe made at least three times more chocolate than was necessary, and now I’m stuck with an entire pint of extra chocolate sauce. Not the worst problem, but still.

In the end I added about 1/4 cup of cornstarch to thick the sauce up; while it still transformed the cookies into a sticky mess, it was much more manageable (and tastier) than the previous wet mess that was the test cookie. Next time I’ll probably just skip the recommended sauce altogether and use a magic chocolate shell or some kind of chocolate (or not! the eggnog flavor from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur would go great on snowballs!) icing instead.

Carbs & Rec: You Just Got JAMMED! Kolaches (and a Jeremy Jamm Gif Dump)

Friday, September 26th, 2014

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You guys. I have a confession to make. I’m kinda sorta in love with Jeremy Jamm. The character, not the person, because that would be gross.

(Also, I may or may not have set the top image to my desktop background. Jump down to the botton of this post for a bigger, badder, Jammier version.)

As one of Pawnee’s council members and a local dentist/businessman, Councilman Jamm represents all that’s wrong with American politics: corruption, bribery, backroom dealing, $$$. He’s racist and sexist (though not as quaintly so as some of the older councilmen). He uses his public position for personal profit. He can frequently be seen trading his votes for favors (such as when Leslie had to promise to buy Invisalign from Dr. Jamm in exchange for his vote in favor of extending the community pool’s hours). He is unequivocally, unabashedly horrible: a petty, self-absorbed man.

And yet. He’s the kind of villain you love to hate. It’s like Robert McDonnell, Lindsey Graham, and Paul Ryan all rolled into one odious, fictional little package. (Emphasis on fictional.)

Remember that time Leslie and Jamm performed a karaoke duet of “Summer Nights,” but with the gender roles reversed? OF COURSE YOU DO!

This is easily one of my all-time favorite moments. Amy Poehler does a mean scumbag Travolta impression. I’m actually kind of pissed that I can’t find a full-length version online. NBC, get on that!

(More below the fold…)

Zesty Coconut Lime Wedding Cookies

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

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From The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur! Reminiscent of macaroons, but buttery and with a tangy lime kick. I don’t think mine came out quite as crumbly as they should have, but they’re still pretty tasty. (They should be, given the approximate twenty pounds of margarine that went into ’em!) The glaze is pretty amazing too. The lime is so strong that Rennie’s face puckered when I let her lick a drop off the plate. True story.

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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.

The Great CriFSMas Food (and More) Roundup, 2013 edition!

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

It felt like I did a ridiculous amount of baking this Christmas – so, when I went and looked back at last year’s roundup, I nearly fainted in disbelief. (Full disclosure: there may have also been a food coma involved, due to the copious amounts of sugar I’ve been ingesting.) Did I seriously make a dozen plus batches of cookies last year? Little old me?

Fun story: after feeling super-smug and self-satisfied over my achievement of baking FIVE WHOLE BATCHES of cookies in one day, I headed on over to tumblr – where some lady posted about the 40 donuts and multiple trays of cookies she baked in one afternoon. Whoops! There goes my self-confidence!

So anyway, here’s the Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2013 edition! But with bonus x-mas presents and vegan pop culture observations.

First up: the noms. As per usual, let’s start with dessert, shall we? All the cookies are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, a review of which I’ll probably have for y’all soon. Unless. Maybe I need to try out a few more recipes? You know, for the love of science and books and all that is holy and sugar-dusted.

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Glazed Rum Raisin Cookies – With their copious amounts of liquor and strong rummy taste, these cookies aren’t for kids. Very tasty and easy to bake, though I opted to make my glaze into more of an icing, so as not to risk the cookies sticking to one another during storage. If you go this route, start out with less rum. I ended up with way more icing than I could use. Or drink! (Yes, I actually tried that.)

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Chewy Caramel Pecan Cookies – SO GOOD! Caramel and pecans, what’s not to love? Well, the cookies’ inherent stickiness, for starters: I had to refrigerate the sheet of cookies for about ten minutes before I was able to peel them from the parchment paper without tearing the cookies to shreds. I wonder if my batter was too wet; the caramel pecan mix didn’t get especially thick, which resulted in a very sticky cookie dough. Further experimentation may be required.

Also, pro tip: these cookies have mad spread, so space them far, far apart. As in four cookies to a medium-sized tray. No kidding!

(More below the fold…)

Y is for Yoga Cookies

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

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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.

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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.

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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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K is for Kelly’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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With no fewer than six different chocolate chip cookie recipes (not to mention a chocolate chip cookie cake!), you’d think that it would have been difficult for me to choose just one from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. Alas, it was a no-brainer: I went with Kelly (Peloza’s) Chocolate Chip Cookies, since I belong to the not-so-elite club of Kellys, too. (Growing up there were at least half a dozen other Kellys in my grade. Half of them were also Kelly Anns!)

A veganized version of a cookie Kelly enjoyed in her childhood, this is a chocolate chip cookie unlike any other I’ve tried. It’s light and airy, and basically bakes as-is: the cookies don’t expand at all in the oven.

At first I was concerned that the tops of the cookies didn’t bake all the way through – they seemed a little soft and chewy, like cookie batter – but they firmed up well enough overnight. Still, next time I think I might shoot for smaller cookies, and flatten them down with the palm of my hand before baking. These are some super-thick cookies, since they more or less retain their original shape.

Either way, super-tasty, much like every other recipe I’ve tried from this book. If you like cookies – and c’mon, let’s face it, you know you do! – you should totally give it a try.

Next on my to-do list: the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies. Or maybe the Root Beer Float Cookies. SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM!

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Mocha Cappuccino Cookies

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

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From The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur! They didn’t spread out quite as much as I expected – I think the cookies are supposed to be a little thinner, though it’s hard to tell from the picture in the book – but they’re still quite good. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the instead, just how cookies ought to be!

I was really craving some soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies, the likes of which you’d find in the store, but most of the chocolate chip recipes in VCC call for applesauce, and I’m all out. Been pounding it with my morning bran flakes something silly. Ah well. Next time fer sure.

On another note, the older I get the less I seem to appreciate chocolate in my cookies. I’m seriously starting to think that there’s something wrong with me. Like, none of my favorite recipes in The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur contain chocolate. Iced Caramel, Chai, Eggnog, Oatmeal Cream Pies – not a flake of chocolatey goodness to be found. Crazy, right? I thought this was supposed to work in reverse with us ladies. Maybe I should talk to a doctor or some food about this?

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Food it is.

Iced Caramel Cookies

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

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How do you spell heaven? I-C-E-D C-A-R-A-M-E-L. As in these Iced Caramel Cookies from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. So good.

The recipe’s deceptively simple: just a brown sugar cookie topped with icing make of soy creamer and brown and powdered sugar. The cookies spread out by good 50% when you bake them, resulting in a chewy, super-thin cookie that has a toffee-like texture. (Peloza’s words, but I’ll be damned if I can think of a better way of describing them.) Even without the icing, they’re amazing on their own.

At first I was a bit worried that I’d fudged up the recipe: you’re supposed to be able to roll the dough in your hands, but it was sticky enough that I had to drop the batter onto the parchment paper using two spoons. To add anxiety to worry, the cookies puffed up and got rather thick during baking. Don’t panic! Once you remove them from the oven, they’ll deflate and expand even more until they resemble the perfect, flat discs in featured in the book. Just not perfectly round, in my case. Still tasty though!

The icing is supposed to be a light drizzle, but I ended up with enough that I was able to cover the entire tops of the cookies – in some cases, with a second layer! (I know sugar coma in aisle twelve.) Really I should have set it aside for another use, but it was late and I didn’t feel like dealing with extras on top of everything else. Try cutting the icing recipe in half for a slightly less unhealthy cookie.

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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A basket of chai cookies, oatmeal cream pies, and eggnog cookies for our neighbors.
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You guys, I did so much baking this holiday season! Instead of buying my family the customary vegan treats from etsy, I had the bright idea to make everything my own bad self. (“Make everyone’s presents by hand, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” reads a mid-December entry in my journal.) Several weeks and a dozen or so batches of cookies later, and I am wiped out. Good thing I have extra cookies to keep me going, eh?

Many of the recipes are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I’m quickly growing to love. My mom gave it to me a Christmas or two ago, but given my awful track record with cookies and other baked sweets, I hadn’t gotten much use out of it. (Until now!)

Much to my surprise, everything came out wonderfully! Not a single burned cookie in the bunch. I think the secret is in the parchment paper. I’ve been resistant to using the stuff in the past, because it feels like I’m wasting paper or something. But it really works! Pro tip: as long as they haven’t picked up any cookie residue, you can reuse sheets of parchment paper several times to save money and resources. This is especially helpful if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies in a single day.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of all the holiday goodies to pass through my kitchen (and gullet! yay the imagery!) this month. Mostly cookies, but also fancy nuts, truffles, ice cream, pizza, and pasta!

 

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Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (page 228) – Mine didn’t come out quite as plump and chewy as the ones pictured in the book, but I think that’s because I made the cookies a little smaller than suggested.

Actually, that was a trend pretty much across the board – I ended up with more, slightly smaller cookies vs. fewer, larger cookies (the latter being the norm for me). It was all good though, because the smaller cookies were a better fit for the tupperware I used to pack and ship them. Score!

Chewy or not, these were still super-delish, though not nearly as nommy as some of the other cookies I tried.

(More below the fold…)

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

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There’s been a sad, beat up box of gingerbread cookie dough mix languishing in my cupboards for years. No exaggeration: the expiration date was some time in 2008! I’m pretty sure my parents passed it on to me after several years of hoarding it themselves. Seeing as I’m not super-big on gingerbread men, instead of using it as intended I decided to make an even more awesome dessert: gingerbread cookie dough ice cream! Let me just tell you: it’s every bit as tasty (and festive!) as it sounds.

I added a bit of cookie dough to the ice cream before it was processed; this gave the ice cream proper a subtle hint of gingerbread flavor. The bulk of the dough went in after the ice cream was done churning, so that the finished ice cream is laced with lots of bits o’ frozen cookie dough goodness. If you’d rather, you can mix this recipe up a bit by adding gingerbread cookie dough to straight-up gingerbread ice cream (for maximum holiday cheer) – or just toss the cookie dough in after the ice cream’s frozen, for more of a gingerbread-on-vanilla effect.

This was my first time experimenting with coconut milk and creamer in ice cream. I don’t know whether it was a fluke or what, but the result wasn’t as smooth as creamy as I’ve come to expect from my soy-based recipes. Probably it’s an anomaly, since I adore So Delicious’s coconut milk line. Further research is required. Delicious, delicious research.

By the way, operation So Delicious Pumpkin Spice? Is a no go. Such a bummer! At least there’s coconut milk nog, right? Toss some gingerbread ice cream in there and it’s close enough to pumpkin spice for me.

 

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ingredients

3/4 cup coconut or soy milk, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 3/4 cup coconut or soy milk creamer
1/2 cup sugar + extra to taste
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 cups gingerbread cookie dough, divided (I used a prepackaged mix, but may I suggest this recipe from the PPK?)

Directions

1. In a small bowl or mug, combine 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder. Whisk briskly and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of soy milk with the coconut milk creamer and sugar. Bring to a slow boil on medium-high heat. Whisk well and often.

3. Once the mix begins to boil, remove from heat immediately. Add the arrowroot “slurry” and mix well. This will cause the batter to thicken noticeably. Add the vanilla extract and mix again. Chill in the fridge for four to six hours or more. (Usually I prefer to let the batter chill overnight.)

4. While the batter is cooling, make the gingerbread cookie dough. If necessary, store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. About two hours prior to making the ice cream, set the cookie dough out on the counter so that it can return to room temperature.

5. When you’re ready to make the ice cream, process according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.

Add about 1/2 cup of the cookie dough to the batter at the beginning of the machine’s cycle. Most of the cookie dough will incorporate into the ice cream, giving it a subtle gingerbread flavor; the rest will be broken up into tiny chunks.

Add the remaining cookie dough (or to taste) to the ice cream as you dispense it into a storage container. Tear off little, teaspoon-sized pieces and toss it into the ice cream. When done, mix the ice cream thoroughly to spread the cookies dough around.

6. Enjoy immediately as soft serve or chill in the freezer for a few hours for a firmer dessert. Using the leftover cookie dough, make gingerbread cookies and serve with the ice cream. Triple gingerbread ice cream sandwiches, anyone?

 

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Eat to the Beat: Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies & Ray Parker, Jr.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

 

The song: “Ghostbusters (Theme)” by Ray Parker, Jr. (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies from Little House on the Vegan Prairie

The connection: It’s Halloween and there’s a STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN in this movie!

 

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Happy Halloween, y’all! Next to FSMas, this is my favorite day of the whole year. Sixteen-hour horror movie marathons with all the vegan junk food and frozen Tofurky pizzas you can eat? SIGN ME UP!

We’re talking movie theater popcorn, salt and vinegar chips, Twizzlers, Go Max Go candy bars, ice cream sundaes, Skittles, candy apples – and new this year, a freshly made batch of Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies! Little House on the Vegan Prairie dreamed these up last Vegan MoFo and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since!

 

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The fruit of my loins!
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(Yeah, I usually have a stomach ache and/or sugar headache on November 1st. But you know what? SO WORTH IT.)

Sticky, ooey, gooey mess aside, these are pretty simple to make, with no unusual ingredients required. Just compassion and Dandies, yo! The result is a soft, cakey chocolate chip cookie with a hint of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (the Thanksgiving spices!), covered in sweet marshmallowy goodness.

First you mix your dry ingredients, then your wet stuff. Then you add the dry to wet and lastly, fold in the Dandies and chocolate chips. The cookies rise considerably, so give them enough space to expand on the cookie sheet. The marshmallows puff up too – sometimes well beyond the bounds of the cookies they’re attached to! As they cool and contract, the Dandies leave little cavities in the cookies. Swiss cheese cookies, oh noes!

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Pop the cold cookies in the microwave for ~15 seconds for maximum meltiness.
(Yes, I own a novelization of Ghostbusters II. DON’T JUDGE ME!)
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A neat little workaround I found: don’t add the marshmallows until after you drop the batter onto the cookie sheet. Position one or two marshallows smack dab in the middle of the cookie and press down gently. As it bakes, it’ll drip over and down the cookie, but mostly stays on top – no hallowed out spaces in the cookies or clinging to the neighbors!

As part of her Hurricane Sandy preparations, Vegan CineGrub also made Ghostbusters-themed cookies yesterday: Ectoplasm Stay-Puft Cookies. PJ describes them as “Coconut Marshmallow Snickerdoodle” things, but they look a lot like the Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies – only green! How cool is that? Now I know what I’m making next Halloween! Even if you don’t like cookies (MONSTER!), you should visit her place anyway, ’cause she’s got a real live pic of the Ghostbusters car. Are you jealous yet?

Enjoyed to the sweet ’80s sounds of Ray Parker, Jr. in honor of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a likeness of which I purchased special for the occasion. (But I shall enjoy him year-round! He makes for the most adorable of nicknacks, I tell you what!)

 

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“I’m with cookies.” You and me both, Stay Puft. You and me both.
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Today we’ll be revisiting Ghostbusters, which I haven’t seen for years. Also on the roster – tentatively, since we usually play it by ear: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Cronos, The Tall Man, Inside, Red: Werewolf Hunter, Wrong Turn, Tales from the Hood, The House of the Devil, and The Shrine. I’m also thinking about The Cabin in the Woods, even though we already saw it in the theaters. THAT GOOD.

Do you like scary movies, vegan? Check out this list of animal-friendly horror movies I compiled last Halloween. We ticked a bunch off our list in 2011. Soylent Green? It’s delicious.

 

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P.S. This isn’t goodbye! I have a few extra “Vegan MoFo B-Side” posts lined up for the rest of the week (including a “best of” link roundup), AND I’m participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck tomorrow. (Which for me is 11PM tonight. Silly time zones, always messing things up.) Stick around for more beautiful food and delicious music, mkay?

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Eat to the Beat: Spinach Mushroom Quiche with Sweet Palmiers & Bow Wow Wow

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

 

The song: “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Vegan Quiche with Sweet Palmiers (recipes below)

The connection: France!

 

You might think that it’s absurd to pair a song like “I Want Candy” with anything but candy. And you know what? You just might be right! Even so, ever since it appeared in Marie Antoinette, I’ve come to associate this Bow Wow Wow tune with French aristocracy. Bah, it really does sound absurd when you say it out loud. No matter! I’ve got French food on the brain, so French food it is!

 

Spinach Mushroom Quiche (0039)

 

Unfortunately, I’m no culinary genius, so I went with the first two super-obvious French foods to come to mind: a vegan quiche with Sweet Palmiers for dessert. Puff pastries paired with a tofu-egg-casserole-pie-thingie: weird? Perhaps. But it totally works!

I’ve never made a quiche before, so I hit the net and came up with a spinach mushroom concoction based on what seems to be the basic vegan quiche recipe – namely, a brick of tofu + nutritional yeast and assorted seasonings + whatever veggies your heart desires. I consider spinach the quintessential egg (and by extension, tofu) filling, since the only time I ate the stuff as a kid was when my mom scrambled it with eggs. And mushrooms are just plain awesome, so there you go. I think it’s a delicious combo – but if you disagree, just swap ’em out for your own favorites. I won’t judge.

You can use a store-bought crust if you’d like, but making it by hand isn’t all that difficult if you have a food processor. Either way, still not judging.

As for the Sweet Palmiers, the recipe is pretty standard. And easy! Don’t let the puff pastry part fool you. Pepperidge Farm makes a frozen puff pastry that’s vegan, so go wild. These bad boys are too delectable for words – borderline addictive, I ate more than half the batch with my quiche dinner – so definitely give these a try if you’re partial to light, sweet, airy things.

And if you’re not? I don’t wanna know you. (Joking! You can just give me your half and we’ll call it even, mkay?)

(More below the fold…)

Eat to the Beat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip & The Donnas

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

 

The song: “Midnight Snack” by The Donnas (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food

The connection: “Baby you’ve got the right attitude / You know that [vegan] junk food gets me in the mood”

 

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I had so much trouble choosing a recipe to go with this song, y’all! Basically anything and everything dreamed up by Lane Gold in Vegan Junk Food is fair game – but the “Savory Treats” section? Shut the front door! Pretzel Bars. Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips. Candied Almonds. Caramel Popcorn. Root Beer Float Cupcakes. Okay, so that last one appears in “Cakewalk,” but given the song lyrics – “And then you made me a rootbeer float / But we finished it before you took off your coat” – I’d be remiss not to include it.

Of all these oral delights, I decided to go with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip: sticky, sweet, trashy, devoid of any nutritional content – and, perhaps most importantly, easy to make, with no baking or hot appliances necessary. (The last thing you want to deal with when drunk-baking at 2AM is hot oil or rotating blades.) The most dangerous part of this recipe is the hand mixer – and it’s optional!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food (0028)

 

Vegan cream cheese functions as the base in this Cookie Dough “Dip,” giving the finished product a decidedly cheesecake-like feel. Gold includes both powdered and brown sugar for double the sweetness, and walnuts and chocolate chips for extra chunkiness. The dip is fairly creamy and smooth right out of the mixing bowl, but you can pop it in the fridge or even freezer for a firmer dessert. (In fact, I’d love to try running a batch of this through my ice cream machine, as I suspect it’d taste even better frozen. Alas, I polished it all off before I was able to test. Boo me!)

Gold recommends serving it with graham crackers (yes, yes, and yes), but it’s nearly as good licked right off the spoon (or a greedy finger). If you really wanna get weird (and I know that you do!), eat it with potato chips.

You’re welcome.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food (0009)

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

Monday, August 13th, 2012

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Since most of my zucchini recipes are made under duress (picture an endless conveyor belt of zukes, running from garden to produce drawer and back again), I tend to pass up those dishes that only call for a little zucchini. That basically rules out all of the desserts in one fail swoop. Well, no more! Now that I have the excellent backup plan that is zucchini chips, the pressure’s off. Zucchini cookies (and bread and brownies and ice cream), come to mama!

food.com has some pretty tasty recipes for zucchini-based baked goods and, while few are vegan, they’re all easily veganized. This concoction is a veganized mashup of two different recipes – Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies and Dark Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Zucchini Cookie – with some of the white flour in the original swapped out for ground quick oats. Fiber, yum!

The result is a tasty, slightly cakey cookie that’s reminiscent of zucchini bread. Its festive green color makes it the perfect addition to your Christmas in July celebrations. (What’s that, you don’t celebrate Half Xmas? You are MISSING. OUT.)

 

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

(Adapted from this recipe at food.com.)

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1/2 cup margarine, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water (or another egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg)
3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons quick oats, ground in a food processor)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I’ve been told I use too much nutmeg, so 1/4 tsp might be enough for you!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
~ 1 cup grated zucchini
3/4 cup chocolate chips + extra to taste
3/4 cup walnuts + extra to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl, cream the margarine with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Set aside.

3. In a food processor, pulse the quick oats until they’re broken down into a floury consistency. When done, you want 1/2 cup of oat flour; since the volume of the oats is reduced during processing, start with a little over 1/2 cup of quick oats, e.g., 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons. Set aside.

4. In a blender, combine the flax seeds and water. Mix on medium for about 30 seconds, or until the flax seed “egg” is thick and viscous.

5. Add the egg to the margarine and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients – white flour, whole wheat flour, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt – mixing well.

6. Stir in the zucchini and then add the chocolate chips and walnuts. 3/4 cup of each ought to do it, but toss in a handful of extras if you prefer your cookies especially chocolatey/nutty. The finished batter should be a bit on the sticky side, but don’t be afraid to add a little extra flour if necessary.

7. Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. Drop the batter onto the sheets by the teaspoonful (lol, who am I kidding? I’m a tablespoon baker all the way!), leaving 2″ in between each cookie. Bake at 350F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a minute or two, and then transfer the cookies onto wire racks to cool fully.

This recipe will make 48 small or 32-26 large cookies.

Note: The original recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, but as you can see I swapped some of this out for whole wheat and oat flour. Whatever ratios you use, the important thing is that you end up with about 2 cups of flour total. Also, don’t go too heavy on the unfamiliar flours without researching them first! (See, e.g.)

Directions