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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Cashew Cappuccino Nanaimo Bar Chunk Ice Cream

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

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Like many of my recipes (especially ice cream recipes – though usually banana-based), this one was borne of a desire to clear out the fridge/freezer. (Spring cleaning, it’s about that time!) I had about a quarter of the messed-up Cashew Cappuccino Nanaimo Bar I made (or tried to make, rather) for Christmas sitting in the freezer, and I decided what better way to finish it off than mixed with ice cream? You can’t go wrong with ice cream. It’s just not possible.

So basically I just chopped the leftovers up and stirred stirred them into a batch of vanilla ice cream post-processing: easy peasy! You can do this with pretty much any baked good you’ve accidentally-on-purpose made a little too much of: cookie batter, cupcakes, granola bars, truffles, you name it.

While certain layers caught my attention more than others (namely the cashew cream and chocolate topping), the finished ice cream proved tasty enough that I’m thinking about turning these flavors into their own honest-to-goodness ice cream, no nanaimo bar required.

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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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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.)

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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!

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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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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…)

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…)

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Sure, so maybe the holidays are, like, SO LAST MONTH. But my house is still dressed to party, and besides, better late than never! Vegan foods never go out of style, yo.

Let me begin by saying that I didn’t do nearly as much baking this year as last. With the exception of some cookies for our neighbors, I didn’t make any gifts by hand. Mostly ’cause I was pressed for time, but also because I’m still trying to work off the ten pounds I gained by “taste testing” 2010’s handmade presents.

Instead I hit up Vegan Etsy: an assortment of vegan candies from NoWhey for my grandma Arnie; SuperFoxySweets vegan chocolate truffles for my grandma Vita; and a PB lover’s sampler box, along with peppermint patties, extra peanut butter cups, and a pumpkin roll (all from Sweet Vegan Delight) for my mum – all for less than $150! SUCH A STEAL!

Elsewhere on the internets, a box o’ vegan wine for my aunt Cindy and her BFF Hank (from Clos LaChance Winery, though I don’t see any vegan options at the moment) and a Ron Swanson mug for Shane.

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“Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait … wait. I worry what you just heard was: Give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?
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(From Peachy Apricot on etsy, in case you want one for your own bad self.)

My sister Meesh was easy; her only wish was more fruit leather, so I sent her a few pounds of the stuff. (We have a huge container in the freezer. Great for distracting Ralphie from his allergy shots!)

My brother-in-law sent us a basket of vegan goodies from Marge’s Bakery in Northridge, CA. It’s not an exclusively vegan establishment, but it has a decent number of vegan options relative to its non-vegan offerings.

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The basket included four varieties of cookies: California Snowballs (melt-in-your mouth good!), Kiss of Lemon (thin and crispy and very lemon-y; my least favorite of the bunch), Ginger Snaps (soft, chewy, and surprisingly delicious, since I’m usually lukewarm on these) and Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (crunchy, like most store-bought cookies, and super-delish – but also quite small). They were devoured in less than a week.

Also present: two loaves of sweet bread. Namely, zucchini bread and carrot cake. (The latter is technically a cake, I guess, but it had the look and feel of a sweet bread to me. It was remarkable similar in texture and sweetness to the zucchini bread, in any case.)

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The zucchini bread was at least as good as my own recipe, but not necessarily better. Sweet but not sickeningly so. I especially loved the sweet glaze on top of the bread, which added that little extra something to the bread. (Note to self: you simply must find that recipe!)

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The highlight of the carrot cake was most def the frosting, which was delightfully spicy (Not in a hot way! I detected hints of Pumpkin Spice – but then my palate’s not all that sophisticated, so who knows?) and stood a good inch in height. Maybe this is what transforms a humble carrot loaf into a cake? Either way, NOM.

(More below the fold…)