Archive for ‘Vegan’

December 4, 2010

Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter?

Disclaimer: I love butter. I do. I’m not ashamed. The smell of butter melting in a saucepan. The taste of buttery shortbread melting in my mouth. Those cold chunks of yellow magically disappearing into a bowl of sugar, flour, and vanilla.

That being said, I’m always curious to try new things, and I’ve been learning a lot about the health benefits of eating vegan. Now, I tried the vegetarian thing for a while (two months to be exact), so I pretty much can guess that I will never be one to give up my milk and eggs for good. But it’s always nice to know that just in case I ever change my mind, I could still have plenty of delicious things to eat.

I brought these bars to my a capella group, The Drastics Measures, and nonchalantly placed them on the table, as I usually do with my Sunday rehearsal snacks for the group. However, I decided to keep their true identity a secret to test the stigma about cardboard-like, tasteless vegan desserts. One by one, the Drastics tried and were mostly delighted by these interesting cookies. Mr. President Bryce even said, “these are so buttery!” before discovering that there was not a pinch of dairy in them. When he found out the truth, he quickly retracted his statement and tried to insist that they weren’t so good after all. I know your true feelings, Bryce.

I certainly have become a bit of a convert for vegan baked goods. While I will never permanently trade in my butter for Earth Balance Buttery Spread or my eggs for flax seed and applesauce, I have eaten some pretty amazing vegan treats. Last year, I even blogged about the perfect vegan chocolate cookie, proclaiming it to be the single best of its kind I had ever eaten. These bars don’t quite meet that high standard, but they are certainly intriguing to the taste buds. The maple syrup flavor comes through quite nicely and the chocolate adds just enough sweetness.  They aren’t too dry but they hold together nicely. Great afternoon snack or tea cookie.

Do you have a kick-butt vegan recipe? I’d love to learn more! Share it with me!

Chocolate-Drizzled Maple Wedges

1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed

1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 ounce finely chopped unsweetened chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the oil, the maple syrup, and the vanilla. Combine the flour and salt and add to the creamed mixture, blending thoroughly with your hands until the dough holds together. Press into the cake pan and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.

In a small saucepan, stir together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, water, and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat. Placing the unsweetened chocolate in a small, heat-proof bowl, pour the hot mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for several minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth, cool until drizzling consistency.

Drizzle the chocolate over the bars using a pastry bag or a Ziploc with one corner cut off.  Let cool before slicing with a sharp knife.

Check this article out in SkidNews!

March 19, 2010

The almost-vegan M&M cookie pie

Okay so this was delicious. But also made me and my brother feel kind of sick every time we ate it. Not sure what that means.

Here’s the story behind these guys. My step-mom comes downstairs and says “I have all these M&Ms and no time. Make something.” I get out a bowl and start mixing. Oh no! No eggs. Enter flax seed and milk as substitutes. Vegan? Oh yeah. M&Ms. Not really vegan. Finish mixing, enter pan into oven. Impatience ensues. Results in slightly undercooked M&M Cookie Wedges. That are quite delicious, despite lack of eggs and solid consistency. Flax seeds contribute slightly nutty flavor. Delicious with ice cream. Slight belly aches due to over consumption. Worth it.

Almost-vegan M&M cookie pie
Adapted from Nestle Toll House

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (for flax seed and other egg substitutes, check this out)
  • 2 cups M&Ms
Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs (or flax seed mixture), one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in m&ms. Spread into greased pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

July 7, 2009

Vegan White Chip Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Phew.  I managed to get that whole title in – I haven’t been exactly sure what to call these cookies.  Chocolate white chip cherry?  Cherry white chip chocolate? Well, whatever the heck they are called, they are yummy, AND they are vegan.

My brother Dan has been a vegetarian for quite a long time and often eats/cooks vegan.  Although we share a love of all things domestic – baking, crafting, etc., I have always turned my nose up at many of his claims of delicious vegan baked goods because my few previous encounters had always tasted much like cardboard.  But he has slowly converted me by baking some pretty yummy vegan treats for me, and most recently by sharing this recipe, which I think might be my new go-to chocolate cookie recipe.

The original recipe called for chocolate chips, but I thought white chocolate would go nicely with the cherries.  I think they would be good with ANY kind of chip, nut, or fruit though – they were moist and chocolate-y and I was surprised at how well the flax seed worked for an egg substitute. The dough seemed really oily when I was rolling into balls, but I didn’t think the taste was affected by using oil instead of butter. I tried them straight out of the oven and they were delicious warm, but they also didn’t get hard after cooling.

Vegan White Chip Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

Ingredients
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon whole flax seeds
1/2 cup soymilk

2 cups all purp flour
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cherries
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grind the flax seeds on high in a blender until they become a powder. Add soymilk and blend for another 30 seconds or so. Set aside.

In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a separate large bowl cream together oil and sugar. Add the flax seed/soy milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients in batches. When it starts to get too stiff to mix with a spatula, use your hands until a nice stiff dough forms. Add the chocolate chips and mix with your hands again.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a disc that’s about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then set them on a wire rack to cool completely.