The best thing I ever put in my mouth

21 12 2011

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At Christmas I bake like a mad woman who bakes a lot of cookies and this year was no exception.  The exception this year is that after madly baking all the cookies I ship off and send to friends and family, I baked some more for SO and I.

These crazy little cookies are so heavenly that after, the holiday season, I’ll probably take a stab at making these bad-boys in a less devil-may-care-holiday kind of way and a more holy-crap-spring-is-coming-faster-than-I-thought-it-would-and-I-need-watch-my-winter-weight kind of way.

In the mean time, it’s Christmas and for me that means it’s a time to enjoy the foods I avoid (consume in moderation) throughout the rest of the year.  So, tip up a mug of boozy coffee, grab some cookies, and enjoy the morning paper – it’s Christmas!

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Apricot Thumbprint Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup almond butter

1/2 cup Earth Balance or margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 flax egg (1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar, for rolling

1/2 cup apricot jam

Preheat over to 350ºF and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combing flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the almond butter, Earth Balance, and brown sugar together until creamy.  Add the vanilla and flax egg, continue to cream together.  With your mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredient mixture to the creamy mixture.

FYI: I refrigerated my dough for about 2 hours so that I could go do other things, this isn’t necessary but it’s possible.

Pour sugar into a bowl.  Scoop our tablespoon scoops of dough, roll into balls, and then roll balls in sugar bowl.  Place your sugared balls on the parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies.

Using your thumb (or other suitable thumb substitute) make indentations in each cookie before baking for 12 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed if your thumbprint virtually disappears when the cookies bake – that’s normal.  You can counter the disappearing thumbprints by pulling the cookies out 5 minutes early and, using a measuring spoon, re-indenting you cookies, and then returning to the over for the final 5 minutes.

After baking, allow cookies to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before adding a dollop of apricot jam to each cookie.

Try and eat just one.  I dare you.

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Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3 10 2011

I had bananas that were going brown and a craving for oatmeal raisin cookies. That’s right, I like oatmeal raisin cookies and I’m proud of it.

My Aunty Dee used to make these wicked amazing oatmeal cookies and, despite her best efforts, my mom could never them quite right. I’m pretty certain that the key ingredients were love and fat. This recipe has lots of love, no fat, nor does it include eggs or sugar. Well, no refined sugar, there’s only a little bit of maple syrup.

Having shared these with a picky SO, a yoga instructor, a kettlebell instructor, a nurse, and a 2-year old, I feel pretty confident that these cookies are a taste sensation that will rock you nation. These cookies are chewy and subtly sweet, with a nutty crunch.

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup soy milk

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2 ripe bananas

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 cup toasted walnuts

1 cups raisins

Preheat over to 325ºF. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure oats, soy milk, and vanilla together into a mixing bowl. Set this aside and let the oats soak in some of the milk and vanilla for 5 minutes or more.

Mix bananas and maple syrup into oat mixture. Once the sweetness has been combined with the oats. stir in flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Lastly, stir in your toasted walnuts and raisins.

In 1 or 2 tablespoon balls, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets and squish them down a little bit – they won’t spread out in the oven.

Bake for 14 minutes.

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Or allow to cool before devouring straight from the cookie sheet.





Red Velvet Cookies

24 09 2011

Ok, I’d like to confess that these aren’t fat free but they are so darn close to fat free that I can’t even believe it.  In my defense, there’s only 2 tablespoons of oil and I’m willing to wager that the oil could be replaced with half a banana.  I’m not trying that today, but you’re more than welcome to give it a go.

Calling them beet cookies doesn’t sound as tasty as calling them red velvet cookies.

And let me assure you, these are tasty cookies.

Very tasty.

I wasn’t certain if their chewy nature was amazing or not until SO confirmed it by devouring a couple or 5 cookies.

Red Velvet Cookies

1/2 cup puréed beets (raw)

2 Tbsp vanilla

2 Tbsp oil

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

dash of salt

2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat over to 350ºF and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Purée the beets, use the vanilla and oil to help get a smoother consistency.

In a mixing bowl, combing flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Combine the beet purée with the dry ingredients.  Note, the cookie dough will be moist but heavy.  Once everything has been combined, scoop dough onto baking baking sheet.  I used my tablespoon measure to get evenly sized cookies – 16 cookies, actually – and then I squished them down a little bit.  Just a little.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least 5 – 10 minutes, and then sprinkle with confectioners sugar.





Peppermint Cookies

21 08 2011

I planted mint in containers around my yard early in the spring.  Now, I have mint.  Lots of mint.

With fresh mint and a hankering for cookies, I decided to combine the two.  What I didn’t realize when I set out was that I used all my baking sugar the last time I baked.  So I had to open a zillion little packets of sugar.

I recommend using sugar that comes in bags or boxes instead.

As well, making these cookies I completely forgot basic multiplication.  Some how 3 x 6 equals 36, so I was thrilled to discover that two batches of 3 x 6 cookies would mean I have 72 cookies.  I was shocked – SHOCKED – when I pulled the first tray of cookies out of the oven and found that I was short changed.

So, unless you make two batches of cookies, you should end up with 32 cookies.

P.S. This recipe is originally from Ripe from Around Here by jae steele, but I made some minor changes.

Peppermint Cookies

3 1/3 cups spelt four

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp Stevia extract

2 Tbsp minced fresh mint

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup apple sauce

2 – 3 Tbsp filtered water (as needed)

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 drops peppermint essential oil (or 1/4 tsp peppermint extract)

Preheat over to 325ºF.  Perpare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, Stevia, mint, baking power, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil, applesauce, 2 Tbsp water, vanilla extract and peppermint extract and mix until the flour has been absorbed.  Add the final tablespoon of water if needed to bring the cookie dough to a smooth consistency.

Roll into tablespoon sized balls and place them on the baking sheet.  Press each ball gently with a the bottom of a sugar coated glass.  (The glass will get sticky after each ball is pressed, picking up enough sugar for the next cookie.)

Bake for 13 minutes.

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Or allow to cool before devouring straight from the cookie sheet.





Jammy Thumbprint Cookies

14 08 2011

This recipe was adapted from Babycakes  by Erin McEnna.

My oldest brother loves blueberries, whenever I’m visiting I try to make him as many blueberry desserts as I can.  A few years ago I baked him a blueberry chocolate cake for his birthday and mailed it to him.  This year I decided to bake some cookies.

Sometimes I get impatient and squish too many cookies on a tray.  Fortunately they all turned out and I was able to mail my brother two dozen cookies.  (The recipe actually made 42 cookies, but I could only fit 24 in the box.)

Happy birthday, D!

Jammy Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup apple sauce

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp vanilla

3 cups spelt flour (or gluten free flour)

1/4 cup flax meal

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

confectioners sugar

1 1/2 cups blueberry jam (or jam of your choice)

Preheat oven to 325ºF and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl to create the wet mixture: coconut oil. sugar, maple syrup, apple sauce, salt, and vanilla.

Combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl to create the dry mixture: flour, flax meal, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until fully fixed.

Using a melon baller or tablespoon measure, scoop the cookie dough into balls and set aside.  Once the dough has been scooped, roll the balls in confectioners sugar and place on baking sheets 1 1/2 inches apart.  Before baking, press your thumb into the centre of each cookie to create a hollow indent.

Bake at 325ºF for 24 minutes.

When the cookies come out you may need to use a small spoon to push your thumbprints back in – they may have risen right out of the cookies during baking.  Allow to cool.

Once cookies are cool, carefully spoon jam into thumbprint indents on cookies.





Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

22 07 2011

My neighbour has his two daughters and two granddaughters visiting.  I found out they were coming when I stopped by for a quick visit one evening to find that the car parts had been removed from the kitchen counter, the fridge that used to have pride of place just inside the back door had been moved, and the house generally seemed less… “bachelor”.

(Sorry to all the bachelors, like K and B, who seem to keep their homes tidy.)

Anyway, I was excited for my neighbour and decided to bake a batch… or two… of these cookies I found at Pride and Vegudice.  I reduced the amount of coconut oil and pumpkin, and included apple sauce because that’s what I do.

The outcome were chewy cookies, hiding an abundance of chocolate behind a slightly crisp exterior that were devoured by many.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2/3 cup steamed or canned pumpkin

2 Tbsp vanilla

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp stevia extract

1/4 cup flax meal

2 cups flour (I used spelt flour)

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  If you don’t have two sheets, just bake these cookies up in two batches.  Also, I cannot say it often enough: parchment paper is absolutely necessary for great results with vegan cookies.

Combine the dry ingredients (flax, flour, baking soda, and xanthan gum) together and set aside.

Cream together coconut oil, apple sauce, pumpkin, sugar, and stevia.  Feel free to combine the wet ingredients in a blender or food processor, if you have one.

Mix the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl of wet ingredients until just mixed.  Finish by adding chocolate chips.

Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving 2″ between cookies.  Placement of cookies can be quite close because they barely spread at all.  With that in mind, unless you want cookie balls, you’ll need to flatten your cookies out before baking them.

Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.

Makes 36 small cookies.

And here’s an out-take picture, where the cookie fell into the soy milk – it was so delicious!





Jamie’s Cookies

3 07 2011

One cold March night, my friend and I were hanging out.  We enjoyed dinner together and had retired to watch I-can’t-remember-what on Netflix.  We were both overcome with a need to have something sweet while watching our program.  We debated going to a restaurant and getting dessert – but which restaurant?  We debated going to the store and buying cookies – but it’s late, what stores are open?

That’s when we identified why we were being so indecisive: we knew what we wanted, we just didn’t know where to find it.  Where could we find a dessert that combined chocolate, bananas and peanut butter, was preferably vegan, and guilt free?

Answer: My kitchen.

I pulled out some paper and made this recipe up.  It was based on some other cookie recipes, but this recipe is an original.  You’ll find these cookies moist and chewy, but not too sweet.  Just the right kind afternoon or evening treat, although they have a habit of becoming an every-time-I-open-the-fridge treat.

Then my friend disappeared to Greece for 5-weeks with his girlfriend.  I missed them both and griped to my significant other that these people can never desert us like that again.  It was at the peak of my pining that I baked another batch of Jamie’s cookies.  I kept thinking, “if I bake them, he will come” and he did!  And he ate the cookies!

Happy ending!

Unbaked with thumb print

Unbaked with peanut butter added

Jamie’s Cookies

1 cup oats

1/3 cup ground flax

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp dry stuff: protein powder, flour, spelt – this time I used buckwheat flour

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, unsweetened

1/4 cup honey or agave nectar

2 ripe bananas

1 Tbsp vanilla

extra peanut butter to fill up cookies

1 large bar of dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  If you don’t have two sheets, just bake these cookies up in two batches.  Also, I cannot say it often enough: parchment paper is absolutely necessary for great results with vegan cookies.

Combine the dry ingredients (oats, flax, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and protein or flour) together and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine peanut butter, honey/agave, bananas, and vanilla until smooth or nearly smooth.  Feel free to combine the wet ingredients in a blender or food processor, if you have one.

Mix the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl of wet ingredients.  When combined, it should have the consistency of heavy oatmeal.

Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving 2″ between cookies.  Placement of cookies can be quite close because, once you’ve squished your thumb into them, they barely spread at all.

Using thumb or back of spoon, make indentations in all cookies (see photo above).  Then go back and fill all the indentations with peanut butter.  Some of my cookies only had 1/4 teaspoon of peanut butter, while others had nearly a full teaspoon.  Finish cookies by placing a square of dark chocolate on top.  If you have 24 squares of chocolate, you will need to break those in half.

Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.

Makes 32 cookies.