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May 23, 2008

gigantoid peanut butter oatmeal cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:23 am
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With big beautiful organic chocolate chips, of course.
From Vegan with a Vengeance.

I made these for my boyfriend’s roommate, who had the most craptastic week ever.

In the span of five days he got fired from his job; hit by a car, so hard that he rolled over the windshield but not hard enough to go to the hospital (the driver didn’t stop); mugged by four guys (when they couldn’t find his wallet in his pockets they scratched his face with a knife); and had his bike tire slashed randomly.

How horrific is that? It’s like Murphey’s Law, but if it were speedballing.

He needed some sugary love. Some gigantoid love. And these cookies will deliver. Chewy, crunchy (if you let them sit out for a couple our like I did), peanut-buttery, glorious, huge-ass cookies. I wish I had one with me right now.

May 3, 2008

VwaV choco chips: emissaries of veganism

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 8:46 pm
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So this past Wednesday, one of my little bros turned 17, and I wanted to make him something nice that I had all the ingredients for: cookies! I asked what kind (I threw gigantoid peanut butter oatmeal ones out there first, hoping he’d jump on that bait because I really wanna try those, also suggesting double chocolate chip and regular chocolate chip). Since he’s not a big pb fan (I am now doubting if we are blood sibs), he selected the double chocs. Not a bad choice, though.

In the end, I still decided to make a half-batch of double chocolate and of regular choco chip, simply because I’ve wanted to make (and eat) the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. Boy I’m glad I did, cuz the recipe I used for the double chocs from the PPK yielded massively spread cookies the thickness of credit cards. This is probably all my fault, because I:

  • halved the recipe, which can lead to mistakes.
  • subbed 2 t. cornstarch whisked with 1/4 c. water, where 2 t. flax meal whisked with 1/4 c. soymilk should have been, and hoped for the best.

Feeling glad that I didn’t use all of what little sugar and chocolate chips I had on these crumbly, rinky-dink (but still delicious) cookies, I set about whipping up the chocolate chip cookies, which came out like a dream. They tasted just like my mommy used to make: buttery, chewy, loaded with chocolate, and really rich and satisfying. So, carefully lining the bottom of a cookie tin with the tasty unleavened double chocolate cookies, I placed the homestyle choco chips, heavenly little clouds, on top. When I brought them to my brother’s school*, he loved both of them. I think he’s kinda new to the vegan lifestyle, so I was happy to give him a good intro to it. Really good cookies (and cakes and other sweet things) are the way to bring someone to veganism, for sure.

The recipe for the wonderful VwaV chocolate chip cookies:

1 c. vegan margarine, at room temp
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. molasses
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/2 c. vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil a couple baking sheets.
Cream the margarine and sugar (I did it with a whisk) until fluffy. Add the molasses and vanilla and incorporate.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir in choco chips.
Add this to the sugar-marg mixture and mix until a dough forms.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on the baking sheets, about an inch apart. Flatten slightly; they don’t spread much.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until mildly browned. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then transfer to cooling racks.

(Originally from Vegan with a Vengeance, reposted at Yeah, That Vegan Shit.)

*Side note: When I went to see my bro at school, I waited for something like 15 minutes in the office trying to get a visitor’s pass. I came early to the school, but this kid’s lunch only lasts 30 minutes and I didn’t really want to deal with the hierarchical bs, so I went on to the cafeteria and found him. Nobody gave me a hard time, but apparently after I left he got called to the office, where the teachers told him I was “no longer welcome” at his school. I felt like such a bad-ass!

March 17, 2008

cooking actual food + “best” oatmeal cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 9:28 pm
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In my house, we call savory, main-course dishes “real food” (and the other category consists basically of desserts), and I made some real food last night. I had over at my house my boyfriend plus two of my really good friends Jordan and Dree, who happen to be dating. And since the four of us are awesome friends and have all known each other for quite a while, it was like the coolest funnest double date EVER. If one member of our party was talking to another, it doesn’t matter who it was, the two remaining people could easily have a conversation with each other. No awkward moments here.

We were all hangin’ at my house, and everybody was hungry, and cooking seemed like a good idea. For the past couple of days I had in my head the makings of cooking a nice meal from scratch (I end up a lot of times just snacking around or eating canned beans with boil-in-a-bag rice). But I’m so glad that me and my dear friends got to cook together. A meal that you make from scratch seems a lot more satisfying in your belly after you eat than just just eating some steamed broccoli and beans. While it takes a long time to prepare, you really enjoy what you’re eating because you know how hard you worked on it.

Crispy crunchy stuffed tofu (this stuff rocks, if you don’t want to make the filling, just slice tofu, marinate it, and use the breading and baking technique), simple roasted brussel sprouts, and some brown rice, with a generous helping of Veganomicon nutritional yeast (cheezy) sauce. The cheeze sauce was soooo good, and everything on that plate later got smothered with it. Like I said, this from-scratch meal was really hearty and satisfying and makes me wish that I had a kitchen of my own in Knoxville. 😦

And now for cookies:

This blog claimed to have the recipe for the “best chewy oatmeal raisin cookies ever.” Having all the ingredients with me, I could not refuse. The verdict? They are pretty amazing and taste a lot like the ones my mom used to make, only quite a bit healthier.

1 c. flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. margarine (like Earth Balance), at room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1 T. finely ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T. hot water
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/3 c. rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 c. raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the rack on the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the flax slurry, applesauce, and vanilla.
Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and raisins.
Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they “look dull on the surface but are moist and soft”. Rotate baking sheets during baking for even heating.

Don’t overbake ’em! I got it just right, and they were perfect fresh out of the oven, with crispy outsides and soft insides.

February 24, 2008

fig not-ins

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:55 pm
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I adore fig newtons, but they’re not vegan (whey that was probably sprinkled in for no reason!), so I haven’t eaten them as of late. When I read that there is actually a recipe for making your own in Vegan with a Vengeance, I scurried to make a copy of it out of my friend Kyle’s book and set to bakin’. It made me remember how very tasty dried figs are.

Unfortunately, there were a couple mishaps. For one, I’m pretty sure I used too many figs, because there was a ton of filling left over, and it didn’t break down and get all mushy like fig newtons should be because the water-fig ratio was off. That means lumpy, chunky, chewy filling. Oh poo.

Secondly, the book said to roll out half the dough, cut it into three strips, then repeat, then use three dough strips to cover the other three (filled) strips. I thought it would be hard to maneuver becuase my dough was so sticky, so I used the technique that Kris used, which was dividing the dough into three portions, rolling them out, then filling one half and folding the other over, and pressing to seal the dough. I don’t think I mastered the technique very well, though, because all the lumpy filling got pushed to one side of the cookies.

The cookie part is definitely awesome on its own, but it’s not what I was going for.

On the bright side, I reduced the fat by subbing the margarine in the recipe with soy yogurt. It still has non-hydrogenated organic shortening in it, which seems pretty essential to hold the chilled dough together and keep it from being too terribly sticky when you’re trying to roll it out. And it makes them brown really nicely. I also used whole wheat pastry flour, but I think the recipe would be best with 100% stone-ground whole wheat or some other coarse flour, just because the whole wheat fig newtons were my faves.

So the recipe needs finessing and takes a bit of time to come together, but I really like the novelty of making my own fig newtons. DIY or die, right?

February 15, 2008

happy valentine’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 9:56 am
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…I guess. I mean, traditionally the day was supposed to commemorate a martyred saint named Valentine, but the day only became associated with romantic love when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about it in some thing called Parlement of Foules. And if you’ve ever read The Canterbury Tales, you know what a perv Chaucer can be. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

Since my boyfriend lives far away, I made chocolate peppermint roll-out cookies (based on Kittee’s recipe, but with 1/2 t. peppermint extract), decorated them with peppermint icing and cacao nibs, wrapped ’em up and shipped ’em out. Hope he likes them.

February 10, 2008

OCF dinner

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:20 am
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I made dinner for all my people in the OCF on Thursday. I made mini polenta pizzas and a fruit salad, but I have no pictures of them. The pizzas were from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, and they were delicious (and gluten-free! Always a plus), even if they required a lot more baking time than the recipe stated. I should have made more, though: I only made a double batch (which is technically meant to serve four). I know my poor friends must have been hungry when they got back home, because I sure was! Note to self: amass more filling casserole recipes. The fruit salad was made in the style I learned from my mom:

*fresh fruit (I nicked what was sitting in the cafeteria: apples, oranges, and bananas)
*lemon juice (I actually asked the people in the back for a lemon, and they gave me one! Ask and you shall receive.)
*agave nectar (my mom uses honey)
*generous dashes of cinnamon

I love it so much; it tastes like home.

I did get pictures of the gingerbread cookies that I made for OCF. The recipe is really great: if you don’t overbake them, they’re nice and soft, and the spicing is just perfect. I made an orange icing to go with them: 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 t. orange zest, and just enough orange juice to make it gooey enough to pipe from a plastic baggy.

1/3 c. canola oil
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. plain soymilk

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or a mix of both)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

spice blend:
1/2 t. each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 t. ground ginger

In a large bowl beat together oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add molasses and soymilk. The molasses and soymilk won’t really blend with the oil but that’s ok.
In a sepearte bowl, sift together all the other ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches. Mix together with a firm spoon or spatula until well combined. You should have a pretty stiff dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or up to 3 days in advance. (If you chill longer than an hour you may want to let it sit for 10 minutes to loosen up a bit before proceeding).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets.
On a floured surface roll you dough out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. You can do this in 2 batches if you don’t have the space. Cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters and gently place on cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and let them cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cool before icing.

January 16, 2008

cupcakes, cupcakes everywhere

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 8:21 pm
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Last semester I made a silly bet with my friend Carrie (something about the color of our test papers), and she lost. The loser had to buy the winner a vegan cupcake from Tomato Head. (What else would you want to wager?)

All they had was red velvet, which I’ve totally had already, so she got herself one of those and bought me a vegan chocolate chip cookie:

It was huge, buttery, and tasty, and when Carrie raised her two fingers behind it, I was reminded of Evan’s bunny-eared cheesecake, with cute lil’ eyes and everything. Life is just cosmic like that sometimes.

I definitely mooched off Carrie’s cupcake, which only adds to the insane cupcake consumption of the past few days. I of course ate several of my mom’s birthday cupcakes, then a friend of mine recently brought cakes back from Babycakes NYC and gave a chocolate one to me! Am I lucky or what?

December 30, 2007

double chocolate orange cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:24 pm
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This is a tried-and-true recipe that I love, as well as my friends, my boyfriend, and pretty much anyone who encounters them. For so little effort, they have a really complex flavor once all the elements come together: the cocoa powder, orange zest, almond extract, and rich chocolate chips combined into one cookie is heaven. And the squishyness that they have warm out of the oven is pretty sexy. Um… sexy heaven?

1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (I used white spelt here)
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. non-dairy milk
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
2 t. orange zest

1/4-1/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or you could spray it with non-stick spray).
Sift the first four ingredients into a medium bowl and stir. Set aside.
Combine the next set of ingredients (sugar through zest) in a separate medium bowl, whisking together with a fork. Pour this into the dry mixture, along with the chocolate chips, and stir it all up until well-combined.

Drop by tablespoons onto the baking sheet, giving them a couple of inches to spread. Smooth them out a little if you care about their shape. Bake for 11 minutes. Transfer the parchment paper to a cooling rack. (If you’re using cooking spray, let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them, because they’ll be uber-smooshy.)

(From Yeah, that “vegan” shit.)

December 7, 2007

deflated whoopie pies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:51 am
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I have been wanting to try this recipe for chocolate whoopie pies with peanut butter filling, from PakuPaku, for many a day, so I finally got around to baking them up to take to my boyfriend, Jesse, and his friends at school. I was disappointed at how much they spread; if they had stayed nice and thick, then the filling would have been piled on thick too, and that would have pleased me more. One problem with me is that, if I think a recipe I made doesn’t measure up, I issue an instant disclaimer to everyone about to eat it and point out its flaws, making them uber noticeable.

However, I decided that this time I would just shut up about these little pies’ misgivings and let everybody just deal with their flatness. And of course, no one cared. They were all too busy with their eyes rolling back in their heads from the awesome flavor and cakey goodness and finger-tinglingly sweet filling. Jesse’s band mate, Sean, said to Jesse, “Best f***ing girlfriend EVER.” And Jesse was like, “I know!” Because he rocks.

I would recommend sticking the cookie sheet(s) full of spooned-out cookie dough in the fridge for about half an hour before baking then; I think that would prevent spreadage.

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of salt
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. Earth Balance margarine or Spectrum vegetable shortening
1/4 c. applesauce mixed with 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a couple of cookie sheets.
Sift flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, Earth Balance (or Spectrum, if using), and the applesauce and baking powder mixture. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium, or until nice and creamy. Add to that the milk, water, and vanilla, and then begin adding in the flour mixture. Beat that all together on medium for 2-3 minutes, until it’s smooth and pretty.
Drop the batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto your cookie sheets. You should use a lil’ ice cream scoop if ya got one; I just used a tablespoon measure. The point is to get them as round and smooth on top as possible. Stick the cookie sheets (plus the bowl of extra batter, if there is some) in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you don’t care about intense spreading, skip that and stick the dough in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick in the middle of one comes out clean.
After a few mintutes, remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool completely before filling with ooey peanut stuff.

1 T. Earth Balance
1/4 c. smooth peanut butter
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2+ T. non-dairy milk (I know I needed 3 or 4 T.)

With a mixer, cream together the EB and pb. Add the powdered sugar in there and get it going on medium. Add the milk in slowly, stopping to scrape the peanut-butter-sugar cement off the bottom of the bowl every once in a while. Don’t add too much milk! You just want this goo to be spreadable. Really, the flatter your cookies, the more ground it’s gotta cover, so in that case it should be just a bit thinner. If your cookies turn out nice and plump, the frosting should be thicker so it doesn’t flow out the sides. Beat it until it’s lumpless and silky. Spread it over one cooled cookie, not going quite to the edges of the cookie, and top it with another. Alright.

Note: the filling recipe makes JUST ENOUGH, so you’ll want to ration it wisely, especially if your cookies are flat.

(Recipe from here.)

December 3, 2007

pumpkin biscotti

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:24 pm
Tags: ,

My momma loves coffee, so I decided to try my hand at biscotti. I did a quick Google search to see if anything looked promising, and I found this recipe, easily veganized. The results were good. The pumpkin flavor is pretty subtle, but when I actually tried one with a cup of coffee, the drink seemed to bring out the spices a lot more.

The oven that I have to work with in my dorm is very temperamental and will burn things to death, so I lowered the oven temps (there are two for the two separate bakings of the cookies) by 25F, and generally baked the cookies for less time than called for. Unfortunately, the result was biscotti that was a bit chewy in the middle, even when I left it out overnight. So I will post here the original oven temperatures and baking times, hoping that those work better for anybody wanting the recipe.

2 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cloves
dash of ginger
dash of salt
2 T. ground flaxseed + 6 T. warm water, combined and allowed to congeal
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet.
Sift together all the ingredients from flour to salt (flour, salt, bp, spices, salt) and stir to combine.
Use a fork to whisk together the remaining flax slurry, pumpkin, and vanilla. This mixture will be quite thick. Add it to the dry mix and fork it all together a little bit to roughly incorporate things (don’t work, all the flour won’t mix in; you’ll need your hands for that).
Lightly flour your hands and a work surface (not too much, you don’t want to add a lot more flour to the batter), and turn your rough dough mixture onto your work surface. Lightly knead it until all is incorporated and looks pretty homogeneous. Note: it’s impossible to keep this stuff from sticking to your hands, so don’t resist it. Just scrape extra dough off your fingers after you’re done kneading and add it to the rest of the batter.
Place the big dough blob onto your greased cookie sheet. Form it into a large oval-shaped slab, about 15-20 inches long, 6-7 inches wide, and about 1/2 inch thick. If you want it to be smooth on top, you could flour a rolling pin and roll it over the top of the biscotti. Mine turned out pretty rustic and bumpy, which I don’t consider to be a bad thing.
Bake for 22-30 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.
Lower the oven temp to 300F. With a serrated knife, cut the biscotti into slices one inch wide, and place cut-side up on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Take them out and turn them, with the other cut side up this time. Bake for 5-10 more minutes. Let cool.
For maximum crispiness, place them in a dry place, uncovered, overnight.

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