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Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Some days you just need to bake something. Anything. It really doesn’t matter what. It’s like retail therapy, only cheaper and it doesn’t piss off your husband.

This past week hasn’t been the best week. I had a job. Now I don’t have a job. It’s a long story and I’ll spare you the details, but any of you who have ever looked for work in Portland know that the job market here isn’t exactly the most friendly of beasts. Hopefully the employment fairy will come visit me soon.

But enough of my pillow crying. Crappy things happen to all of us. It’s what you do after the crappy things happen that defines who you are. And I, of course, decided to make cookies.

I often try to bake something “new” and creative. Something different that isn’t boring or been done a million times. But sometimes – sometimes – you just need a chocolate chip cookie. It’s like good ole macaroni and cheese, only it’s not obviously. You know what I mean. Something familiar and comforting. Something you’ve done before and know will probably turn out alright so you don’t have to worry about being even more ticked off after your time in kitchen therapy. 🙂

This is one of those “everything but the kitchen sink” recipes. I typically keep my kitchen pretty well stocked with the basics – flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, etc, etc. – but I was a bit low on things yesterday. So I hodgepodged a recipe together and, thankfully, it turned out pretty well.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 6 1/2 oz vegan stick butter (Earth Balance)
  • 3 1/2 oz brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 oz raw sugar
  • 3 oz pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 oz AP flour
  • 5 oz whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or more chocolate chips)

In typing these ingredients out I just realized I forgot to put the vanilla extract in my cookies. So your cookies will taste even better than my cookies if you don’t screw that part up. 🙂

You can also add a fake egg if you like, either a flax egg or Ener-g egg. I wasn’t feeling it yesterday so I ixnayed the egg (and I don’t think it really made much of a difference).

About the butter, Earth Balance is expensive. And this sucks obviously but that’s just the price you pay for choosing the cow-free lifestyle. You can use the Smart Balance spread (it’s vegan) but there’s a huge difference in moisture content so be aware that the end product may be a bit different than mine.

Cream the butter, sugars and maple syrup together until “creamy” (which actually means “wet” in the vegan world). Add the vanilla extract. Sift in the flours, salt, baking powder and soda and start mixing. If you’re using a stand mixture, go ahead and start adding in the chocolate chips. If you’re mixing by hand, partially mix in the dry ingredients and then add the chocolate chips and finish mixing. Since there isn’t any liquid in here to speak of, you really don’t have to worry about over mixing and causing the glutens to toughen, but it’s just best to mix as little as possible.

Scoop the dough, roll it into a ball in your hands, partially flatten it – trying to keep it as round as possible – and place it onto a half sheet. I used a 1 & 1/2 tablespoon scoop (# 50) and 12 of these fit comfortably on the pan.

These will spread, almost like normal cookies, so the ball rolling and flattening is pretty much up to you. I was aiming for a more uniform cookie, hence the extra steps I took.

Bake at 350 for 7 minutes, rotate the pan and then bake for another 6 minutes. They’ll be soft when they come out, with the bottoms lightly brown, but they’ll firm up quite a bit during cooling. You could probably cook them even a minute or so less if you wanted a softer cookie.

These cookies are really nice (even without the vanilla extract). They’re crunchy but still chewy, and are definitely quite superb when they’re warm.

Well I have bread rising in the kitchen that probably needs my attention so I away I must go. Happy Thursday and have a great weekend!

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Can you call this multi-tasking? Making 4 desserts out of 1? Or maybe it’s just plain craziness. Or creative boredom put to work. Whatever it is it tastes good, and now I have a whole bunch of sweets begging to be eaten.

I wasn’t out of school more than 2 days before I started thinking of something I could bake. We’ve been on a cupcake spree the last few weeks in my house so I thought it was time for some cookies. Peanut butter chocolate chippers happen to be one of my husband’s favorites. But I thought as long as I’m making cookie dough I might as well make cookie dough ice cream. During my run on Tuesday I thought I could also make cookie dough stuffed cake balls (of course!). Then when I was making the ice cream it occurred to me that ice cream sandwiches would be a great idea (it is summer after all). I thought about putting icing in the ice cream sandwiches as well, and then maybe dipping the whole thing in chocolate, but something told me to stop while I was ahead. =)

I’m actually going to save the cake ball part for another post, otherwise this sucker will be forever long and nobody will read it all. But ice cream and cookies are simple enough.

The cookie dough needs to be frozen before you can make the ice cream, but the ice cream for the sandwiches needs to be really frozen before they can be made so perhaps it’s best to start with the ice cream.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 6oz extra firm silk tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) light rum
  • Cookie dough (below)

Toss everything except the cookie dough in your blender and puree until super smooth. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze accordingly.

Once frozen, put about 2/3rds of the ice cream in one container and the other 1/3rd in another. Place both containers in the freezer. We’ll add the cookie dough later.

Typically I use a mixture of soy and coconut milk when making ice cream, but I wanted to see how coconut would do on its own. And it did way better than the combination has ever done. Even though I used light coconut this ice cream is very creamy, especially compared to my typical soy milk based ice creams. Plus it simplifies everything as I always end up freezing a portion of the coconut milk, which I forget is in the freezer the next time I need it and open up another can, which also ends up in the freezer (you see where I’m going with this).

Enough babble, onto the cookies!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

  • 1/2 C vegan butter (stick or tub will work)
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 3 T hot water

Whisk the flax seed and hot water in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together in a large bowl, then mix in the flax mixture.

Blend the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together then add them to the wet ingredients and mix briefly. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Go ahead and make the cookie dough balls or the ice cream. You want about 3/4 C worth of balls, or enough to about cover the surface area in one of those square plastic containers that sandwiches fit in. You want to keep the dough balls small so my way of doing this was to only use enough dough to enclose 1 chocolate chip per ball. Roll them up in your hands and stick them in the freezer.

Now, line two 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Scoop the dough into 1 or so inch mounds and plop them on the pans about an inch apart. These cookies don’t spread much during baking so if you want a flatter, crisper cookie smash it down a bit before baking. And you can always make them much larger than an inch of course.

Bake for about 11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let them rest about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

The cookie dough should freeze up enough within an hour, so once that time has passed take them and the larger portion of ice cream out of the freezer. Chop about half of the dough balls up to make them smaller and allow more opportunity for cookie dough in every bite! Mix them into the ice cream, distributing as thoroughly as possible and put it back in the freezer.

There. You’re done.

Oh but wait, there’s more! Those ice cream sandwiches won’t make themselves!

Ice Cream Sandwiches (vegan)

  • Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate for dipping (optional)
  • Plastic wrap

Grab as many cookies as you’d like for sandwiches. Retrieve the plain vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Tear off roughly 12 square inch sheets of plastic wrap – one for each sandwich – and lay them on a table or work surface. You can get about 5 – 6 sandwiches out of the ice cream, but that depends on how much ice cream you put in each sandwich…

Take a scoop of ice cream and plop it on top of a cookie. Place another cookie on top and press it down so that the ice cream reaches the edges of the cookies; use the back of a spoon to help guide and smooth it. Now, place the sandwich on the plastic wrap so that the ice cream is touching the plastic. Roll the plastic wrap up with the sandwich and then twist the ends of the plastic. This is kind of what you’re going for, just not so long, and obviously not butter. Place them in the freezer to set.

Once they are set, you can roll them in crushed up chocolate, peanuts, coconut, what have you. I decided to dip mine in chocolate, which turned out to be problematic as the chocolate did not want to stick to the ice cream. It turned out alright in the end though, just a tad bumpy. If you decide to dip them in chocolate you’ll need about half of what Bakerella has in this recipe.

Well, I guess that does it. The cake balls will be appearing at some point in the near future (promise). And on a side note, you can make all this gluten-free simply by using a gluten-free flour mixture. Bob’s Red Mill sells one but the following will also do the job.

Gluten-free flour mixture (equal to 1 cup of normal flour)

  • 1/3 C quinoa or millet flour
  • 1/4 C almond meal
  • 1/3 C brown or white rice flour
  • 3 T potato or tapioca starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed

Do keep in mind that GF flours tend to have a grainy texture before being baked, so this could affect your cookie dough ice cream slightly.

Well I didn’t intend for this post to be 4th of July centric but my backdrop in the photos is somewhat patriotic. That was an accident honestly, even though Independence Day is around the corner. It’s actually one of my grandmother’s old shirts. Yes, I use clothing for backdrops. And sometimes even covers from my couch pillows. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

But never mind that, what kind of shenanigans are you baking up this 4th of July weekend?

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A long long time ago, in a far away place called Starbucks, I ordered a snickerdoodle cookie. You can imagine my surprise when I bit into the over-sized morsel and didn’t find any Snickers. “What the hell is a snickerdoodle then?”

I now know that snickerdoodle means cinnamon, not Snickers. As to what the word snickerdoodle has to do with cinnamon I still have no idea, and apparently nobody else can decide either. But things with random, seemingly obscure names are typically fun, and in this case tasty.

My first exploration into this simple sugar and cinnamon combination was prompted by the James Beard awards. The James Beard Foundation recently held the award nominations in the dining room of the Oregon Culinary Institute (where I go to school). For the students this meant a cooking contest. No, I didn’t enter it, but I thought about it. I probably should have but I was a little intimidated being that I still haven’t set foot in an actual culinary classroom. Plus we could only make so many changes and I wanted to make it vegan, which would have required too many changes in total. Anyway, I came across a James Beard recipe for snickerdoodle cake. One word: scrumptious. It wasn’t necessarily photo-worthy however, so you’ll just have to make it yourself to see how it looks.

The snickerdoodle quickly found its way back into my oven just a couple weeks later. As some of you know, we have a cookie jar that has a perpetual problem of running out of cookies [insert husband]. Whenever the cookie situation gets dire I run to my cookie cook book and pick out something that looks good but, most importantly, doesn’t require any trips to the store (I hate last minute dashes to the grocery store). The Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodle was the chosen one. Some might think cayenne and cinnamon shouldn’t necessarily go  together but they honestly worked extremely well together. These cookies had just the right amount of kick, and the texture was awesome too (and I even left most of the oil out).

I made cupcakes for the Bakesale for Japan fundraiser that was happening across the nation last Saturday, April 2nd. I had a bunch of ideas bouncing around in my head but I had been wanting to turn the snickerdoodle into a cupcake for quite some time. With French vanilla buttercream. And caramel in the middle. The French vanilla made it (which smelled just like birthday cake – I had no idea). The caramel, sadly, did not [insert laziness]. In my defense I made 4 batches of cupcakes that day, one twice because I screwed it up, so maybe I wasn’t necessarily lazy, just overly cupcaked.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (vegan)

Preheat the ole oven to 350. Line muffin pan with liners.

  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whisk the vinegar and milk together and set it aside to curdle.

  • 1 & 1/4 cup organic unbleached flour (or a combo of wheat & unbleached)
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 T cinnamon*

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

  • 1/3 cup canola oil (non-gmo)
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar (or a combo of sugar and agave)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Combine the wet ingredients, including the now curdled milk, in a large mixing bowl a and mix until well emulsified. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated, but don’t over-mix. Fill liners about 2/3’s full.

  • 1 tsp organic sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle over each soon-to-be cupcake. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes rest for about 5 minutes after they’re done and then transfer to a cooling rack, or put them in the fridge if you feel the need to frost them ASAP.

French Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegan stick margarine (room temperature)
  • 1/2 non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp French Vanilla extract

Cream the margarine and shortening together. It’s important to do this well or you’ll have chunks of pure fat sitting idly in your frosting. Add the milk, extract and 3 cups of the sugar and mix well. Add more sugar if needed to reach the desired consistency – if you’re piping the frosting on you want it to be a bit thick or it won’t hold its form.

Place the frosting in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before piping it onto the cupcakes to ensure it’s set enough to not get all sloppy after all your hard work. Make sure the cupcakes are totally cool before frosting them. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and place part of a cinnamon stick in the middle if you like.

* These were really good but I thought there might be just a tad too much cinnamon in them. Try reducing the cinnamon from 1/2 T to 1 tsp the first go round and see what you think.

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Lately we’ve gotten into the habit of always having a little something sweet after a meal. I can blame part of it on the fact that I’m in culinary school – you need to do your own research right? I blame the other part of it on the fact that school is only 3 hours a day right now and I can’t find a job. Boredom = baked goods. So the other day after lunch, Gary turns and looks at the empty cookie jar and sort of gives off this sad little whimper. I smile. Then about an hour later I’m in the kitchen, baking.

Being that we’ve had so much sweet stuff lately I didn’t want to pour a whole bunch of sugar and fat into something else that I was inevitably going to be snacking on for the next few days. I guess I didn’t mind pouring a whole bunch of chocolate chips in it though (but it’s chocolate, really, who has he ever hurt?). Anyway, the vision of a cute little oatmeal cookie started dancing around in my head. Nothing says healthy like oats! Plus cranberries. And almonds. And chocolate chips, of course.

These were good, and dare I say wholesome. They were just sweet enough to satisfy the sugar fix but not too sweet to make you feel like you were eating junk food. There’s hardly any oil in them either and I bet you could probably take all the oil out and you wouldn’t really miss it, or even substitute applesauce. Applesauce tends to make cookies cakey so I don’t use it too often, but these had a nice chewy texture so it probably wouldn’t have been too bad. You could even make them gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour mixture like this one and certified GF oats. Cherries instead of cranberries would have also been good. Maybe with some dark chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Almonds

yields about 12 cookies
  • 1/3 C whole wheat pastry flour, or GF flour mixture
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • About 1 C quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 C dairy free milk
  • 2 T agave
  • 2 T granulated sugar (or more agave)
  • 2 1/2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 1 T canola oil (preferably organic)
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract
  • About 1/2 C chocolate chips, cranberries and almonds

Preheat your oven to 350.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and spices. In a mixing bowl, combine the milk, agave, sugars, flax, oil and extract and mix well. Add the dry ingredients, oats, choco chips, cranberries and almonds. Mix until everything is uniformly moistened. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a silpat lined (or parchment) cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

I tend to over-bake my cookies but these I took out before I thought they were totally done, which means they were just right. I don’t think they’ll be as good if they are too crunchy so don’t make them spend too much time in the oven.

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For some reason every time I have a lot of writing to do for school I find it utterly imperative that I go and bake something. Like, right that minute. I have absolutely no idea why. In fact, even now, when I should be doing some mandatory reading, I am here, typing up this blog post instead. Strange.

Anyway, about 9:42 yesterday morning, when I was supposed to be writing an essay, I found myself scouring my cabinets for flours. I keep a random supply of gluten-free baking essentials in my kitchen, but it’s been awhile since they’ve been replenished. I was a wee bit short of the necessary flours to create Isa and Terry’s suggested gluten-free flour blend from VCIYCJ, so I winged it and hoped for the best.

My only complaint about these cookies is that they could have been just a tad sweeter, but that was my fault as I refrained from using as much sugar as I probably should have. Otherwise, they were damn tasty!

In my never ending battle to make desserts healthy, I am always looking for a way to sub out some of the necessary butter or oil that undoubtedly accompanies baked goods. While bananas and applesauce are good subs for cakes and waffles, they make cookies, well, kind of suck. If you wanted something light and fluffy you’d make angel food cake – not a cookie. So I’ve now come to the conclusion that, if you want to make your cookie healthier, you just have to leave out some of the oil. So I did. I usually add some soy milk or water just to ensure there’s enough wet ingredients to handle the dry, but today I whisked some ground flaxseed together with some hot water because I was wary of my cookies crumbling apart before reaching my mouth (GF stuff doesn’t always stay together very well without xanthan gum).

I’m sure the missing oil accounts for a little bit of taste deficiency, but not enough to notice really. I think the best part about these cookies was the texture. They were slightly chewy on the onset but had a satisfying crunchiness to them in the end. And the best part is I only used two tablespoons of oil (for 17 cookies or something like that)! The picture doesn’t honestly convey the texture of these cookies so you’ll just have to trust me, or go make your own.

So, here’s the scoop:

Flour mixture (based off VCIYCJ):

  • 1/3 C quinoa flour
  • ¼ C almond meal
  • 1/3 C brown rice flour
  • 3 T potato starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 T white rice flour (added at the end because it appeared too moist)

Recipe (adapted from Novel Eats):

  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • ¼ C agave or honey
  • 1½ t vanilla
  • ½ t molasses
  • 2 t ground flaxseed pre-whisked with 2 T hot water
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 C flour (or GF flour mixture above)
  • ¼ C chocolate chips
  • ¼ C white chocolate chips*

Method:

  • Preheat the ole oven to 350.
  • Line a couple cookie sheets with a Silpat mat or baking parchment.
  • Whisk together brown sugar through the canola oil.
  • Mix together baking powder through flour and then add to wet ingredients.
  • Mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Fold in chocolate and white chocolate chips.
  • Spoon out little dollops of dough onto prepared cookie sheets an inch or so apart (a wet spoon helps here).
  • Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Let cool.
  • Eat.

*Note: I’m not entirely sure the white chocolate chips were gluten-free, so be sure to check before buying and baking.

P.S. These are best just a few minutes out of the oven. If you’re eating them the next day, toss them in the toaster oven for a bit to get them warm and slightly crunchy again.

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This woman really knows how to cook.  I’ve tried I don’t know how many of her recipes and haven’t really been disappointed with any of them.  You should definately check out her blog at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen.

I came across these cookies last night while lazily meandering through various recipes.  So today I decided there’s no better way to procrastinate on my homework than baking!  My only complaint is that I couldn’t taste the peanut butter enough so I would use a bit more next time, but they are awesome even in spite of that.  And, they aren’t that bad for you so no guilt included!!  These would probably be super delicious with some soy ice cream, maybe some chocolate syrup….

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