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Posts Tagged ‘Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar’

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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The problem with baking and only having a two person household is the fact that there are only two people to eat all that yummy stuff that comes out of the oven. That may not seem like a problem to some people. To me, it’s a wee bit scary. So any time there is a group event or people are coming over, I jump at the chance to make something that I’ve been putting off for fear of calorie overload.

The other night my husband comes home from watching football (aka soccer) and tells me he invited a couple of people over for pizza. I immediately, almost as if on instinct, give him this half-felt, sideways glare like, “Oh really…” Then I smile. It’s pizza, I got this! I’m always frightened when I think about entertaining people for dinner because none of my friends are veggies, “What will I fix?’ And then there’s the minor detail of not having a dining table… But pizza is easy because everyone can have exactly what they want, and eat it anywhere.

My mind then went straight to the fun part, dessert! Initially I thought about making this caramel filled snickerdoodle cupcake I’d been thinking about, but my continual obsession with procrastinating by mindlessly staring at FoodGawker popped an idea into my head. Dessert pizza! My original version had Nutella in it, but the melting didn’t go according to plan so we ended up with chocolate ganache instead, but I wouldn’t complain.

I also finally got my camera outside in some sunlight (yes, there was sunlight in Portland last weekend) so I took a few more pics than normal as many of them were actually turning out ok – but I guess we’ll let FoodGawker be the judge of that (they reject all my pics).

Dessert Pizza (vegan, can be made gluten-free)

  • 1 tub of strawberries, sliced
  • Cream cheese frosting, recipe here
  • Brownie batter
  • Chocolate ganache

I used the brownie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, but any brownie recipe would likely do. Also in this book is a gluten-free flour mixture that will allow you to make this, or any other brownie or cookie, gluten-free. There is also an adaption of that mixture on this post (if you don’t have the book).

Bake the brownie on a large, round pizza sheet. Mine has holes in it so I laid a piece of baking parchment on it. It took a bit of finessing to get the batter spread out and round, but my little red silicon spatula did a nice job. Bake as directed and let it cool before applying the icing. If you’re impatient, stick it in the fridge.

While the brownie is in the oven, make the ganache. It’s just 3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Barely scald the milk, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Set aside to cool. If it doesn’t set enough, stick it in the fridge for a couple of minutes, but not too long or you’ll be heating it up again.

Next, slice the strawberries and make the frosting while the brownie is cooling. When the brownie is cool, apply the frosting with an icing knife and then lay the strawberries on the pizza. I went in a circular direction starting from the outside. To drizzle the ganache on I used a pastry bag. It came out a little quicker than I expected but I think it’s way better than it would have been if I had free-handed it.

This was really tasty and actually pretty damn easy. I’m thinking there are going to be more dessert pizzas in our future.

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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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So I’ve been doing a fair amount of baking lately… ok, maybe fair isn’t quite accurate.  I’ve been doing a somewhat excessive amount of baking lately, at least compared to the rate of what normally goes in and out of my oven.  School starts next Monday and I think I’m feeling my freedom slipping away.  Soon I’ll have no time to bake, or blog, or breath.  I’ll merely be struggling every day to absorb more Italian (which has definitely slipped my mind of late) and read all the other 15 books I’ve been assigned this term.  **sigh**

IMG_2085Anyway, while we were visiting family in WI I happened to see a recipe in a magazine for parsnip bread, my interest was piqued.  Of course it wasn’t vegan, but never mind that.  I awoke one morning shortly after we returned and decided to take a go at my own version, which included pumpkin and cranberries, but a sudden whim caused me to be desirous of a gluten-free version.  So, I hopped on over to the Gluten-Free Goddess to borrow a flour concoction that would hopefully do for the autumn muffins dancing around in my head.  I think they turned out quite well.  They’re dark because of the buckwheat but one should not judge a muffin by its cover.  I didn’t really follow her recipe to a T, or really much at all, but if you would like to know what I did holler at me and I’ll relay it to you.  I’d type it out now but I’m feeling a bit lazy.

chocochipcookies

On my next endeavor I made these chocolate chip cookies, which I thought were quite superb even in spite of their cake-like consistency, which was entirely my fault.  In my ever going battle to make bad things not so bad for you I shucked half the oil and added applesauce and subbed in some wheat flour, which is likely the reason for their fluffy demeanor.

I also made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which turned out much OatmealChocChipbetter then their cakey predecessor (I didn’t use the applesauce).  The recipe for these came out of none other than one of the most superb cookbooks of all time, ok maybe not all time but at least in my time – Veganomicon.  Isa and Terry are actually at it again by the way.  Soon your cookie jar will be invaded by what I’m entirely positive will be some splendifferous cookies.

Recently I became the owner of an ice cream maker (I ❤ Craigslist)!!!  My life is now complete…  My first batch of ice cream was chocolate, with some strawberries mixed in towards the end.  I kind of wanted to make something vanilla-ie but since I bought chocolate soy milk on a whim I had to figure out something with which I could do ChoIceCreamwith it.  I think it turned out very well, I just have 2 pints of it to eat now.  The recipe also came out of Veganomicon but if you google around you’re sure to finds tons of free vegan ice cream recipes.  This one was comprised of coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, tofu, etc.  If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with the free recipes there’s quite a few ice cream cookbooks running amuck out there, buy one.

Though I’m told the following item resembles a cow pattie I’m still quite proud of it.  I guess a parent can’t tell IceCreamSandwichwhen their child is ugly… same goes for cooking.  The oatmeal cookie and the chocolate ice cream happened to come to fruition on the same day, so I thought it best to combine them.  If you’ve never compiled an ice cream sandwich before it’s actually a bit harder then you would imagine to make it look “pretty.”  My version obviously needs a makeover judging from the supposed “cow pattie” resemblance.  Practice makes perfect I guess.

And last, but by no means least, I made cinnamon rolls last night (because I thought I needed to cram one last sweet and fattening goodie into my less than accommodating fridge).  So how do vegan cinnamon rolls taste anyway?  Freaking awesome!  These cinnamonrolls2were so damn good.  Non-vegans would never have an inkling of suspicion that these were of the animal friendly variety.  Novel Eats also has a chocolate version, which I didn’t make but judging by how delicious the cinnamon ones were they are most definitely heavenly.  I’m thinking next of making them with a strawberry compote and chocolate shavings.  Oh, note to self: let rolls cool prior to applying icing.

Alrighty then.  As you can see, I have a fair amount of sugary calories to burn off, I must to the pavement (which means running in case that was in some way unclear).  Tootles!

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