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« Vegan Vittles: November 2014 | Main | Vegan Vittles: February 2015 »

Vegan Vittles

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients

  • 4 T butter, softened (we like Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white flour*
  • 1/2 cup cup white wheat flour*
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Yield: 2 dozen cookies

*You can just use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. In non-vegan cookies, the eggs give them a golden brown hue. Without the egg, I feel like the cookies come out looking a little pale, so that's why i like to add a little white wheat.

In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugars, beating for a couple of minutes. Pour in the oil and continue beating for another few minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk. Mix this and the vanilla extract into the oil and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Pour 2/3rds of this into the liquid mix. Stir on low until the dry ingredients are entirely incorporated. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Once that's mixed in, add the chocolate chips.

At this point, the cookie dough may be a little wet. Chill it in the fridge for about an hour so that it's scoopable. Preheat the oven to 350degF.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop (~1 1/2 T), drop the cookies onto baking sheets leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the edges are brown. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


By min | December 17, 2014, 6:59 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (3)| Link



Vegan Jam Thumbprints

With nuts.


Without nuts. They look a little naked to me, but they were still delicious.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (we like Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 vegan egg yolks (we like Ener-G egg replacer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup jam (preserves are ok, but watch out for chunks of fruit)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts, optional
  • Yield: ~30 cookies

Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and cream until fluffy. This may take several minutes and several pauses to scrape the sides and beater. Add the oil, mixing until well combined.

Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add 1 cup of the flour. Once that is mixed in, add the remaining 1/2 cup. Mix until the dough forms. Cover and chill for a couple of hours.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375degF. Use a small cookie scoop (2 tsp capacity - or if, like me, you haven't got one, you use an actual teaspoon to measure out the correct amount of dough and hope they come out uniform) to spoon out the dough. Roll the dough into balls and place them on the cookie sheet 1 inch apart.

If you would like to use walnuts, once you've got a tray or two full of dough balls, pour ~1/4 cup non-dairy milk into a small bowl. Put the walnuts in another bowl. Dunk the dough balls into the milk and then coat with the nuts.

Now it's time to make the jam well. I know these cookies are called "thumbprints" and that implies you should be using your thumb to make the indentation. I don't like this method, though, because it makes wide, shallow indentations that disappear completely during the baking.

Instead, I take a half teaspoon measuring spoon, the kind that's a nice, round, half-bowl shape, and squash it into the dough balls. Be careful not to go all the way to the bottom. The jam wells still disappear a bit during the baking process, but at least you can see where they're supposed to be. Because the measuring spoon makes a smaller diameter well, the spreading isn't as bad. Also, they're uniform and i admit that is something i am a fan of.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. They should be taken out before the edges start to brown. While the cookies are still hot, take the half teaspoon and re-press those jam wells. After a few minutes, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Heat the jam in a small saucepan or microwave in a glass bowl/measuring cup (we're partial to seedless raspberry and apricot jams in the Supermega-household). You want the jam warm enough so that it's almost liquid, but not boiling hot. Carefully fill each jam well and allow to set. The jam will thicken as it cools and become harder to spoon neatly into the cookies. If that happens, just warm it up again.


By min | December 16, 2014, 7:40 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (0)| Link



Vegan Sugar Cookies


Vegan Sugar Cookies

This is a recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar with my own method of making and handling the dough.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (we like Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Yield: 2-3 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutter(s)

Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening until smooth. Add the butter and beat until both are well combined. Add the sugar and cream until fluffy. Don't shortchange this step. Creaming your butter and sugar properly can take 5 minutes even with a stand mixer.

Mix in half of the dry ingredients and all of the milk and vanilla extract until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until it forms into a nice soft dough.

Split the dough into thirds (or if you have really large cutters, you might want to only split the dough in half), flattening each into a disk, wrapping them separately in plastic wrap, and sticking them in the fridge for at least 3 hours so that they're thoroughly chilled. Line 2 (or 3 or 4 if you have room in your fridge for them) baking sheets with parchment paper.

Why did you need to split the dough? The thing with sugar cookie dough is you want to minimize the number of times you re-roll it. You also want it to stay chilled. So, working with a piece of dough that's fairly large means you're going to end up re-rolling the scraps several times. Your dough's going to keep getting warmer and softer, and you're going to have to keep using more and more flour to prevent sticking, which means more flour kneaded into your cookie dough.

By dividing the dough into thirds, you can keep 2 disks chilling in the fridge while you work the 1. Using equal portions of flour and powdered sugar, dust your pastry board. Gently roll the dough out until it's 1/4" thick. Try to only roll the pin forward, away from you. Avoid rolling it back and forth. Rotate the dough frequently to prevent/check for sticking and to ensure your dough will have a uniform thickness.

If you're using several cookie cutters, try to lay them out strategically before you make the cuts in order to minimize the amount of scrap dough left. If you're only using one or two cutters, just have at it and hope for the best.

Using a spatula, unless you like thumbprints in your sugar cookies, transfer the dough onto your prepared cookie sheets leaving 2 inches between cookies. Overcrowding your cookie tray results in one super cookie instead of several individual cookies. Which is what you might be going for. I'm not judging. Once your tray is full, stick it in the fridge.

Hopefully, you've done a fantastic job and only have a small amount of scrap dough left. Take out your second disk of dough and stick your scrap dough onto it. Now you've got a new piece of chilled dough to work with and your leftover dough will be incorporated into it.

If you ended up with quite a bit of scrap dough, you have 2 options.


1) If the dough is still chilled and seems stiff enough to work with, you can smoosh it into a ball and re-roll it to cut out more cookies.


2) If not, form it into a mini disk, wrap it up, and stick it back into the fridge until it's chilled enough to work with.

Keep rolling and cutting until you either run out of dough or run out of baking sheets. Now leave them sitting in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will help ensure the cookies maintain their shape while baking. If you pop them in the oven without chilling them first, they'll taste just as good but your mittens will have swollen wrists and your stars and snowflakes will look even wonkier than they already do (no judging!). It's a risk some are willing to take to get to the eating portion of this exercise a little sooner.

Preheat the oven to 350degF. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. You want to take them out before the edges start to brown. Leave them on the tray for a few minutes to firm up before transferring to a wire rack to cool.



After the cookies are cooled, make the icing.


Vegan Royal Icing


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp water
  • 3/4 tsp light corn syrup
  • liquid food coloring, optional

Make sure your cookies are completely cooled before you make this icing because it starts to get stiff after a few minutes and that makes it difficult to work with.

Whisk the sugar, water, and corn syrup together until it's smooth. Add the food coloring. Pour it into a plastic squeeze bottle like they use at sub shops for the vinegar. Outline your borders first. Fill in the middle a little at a time, using a pastry brush to spread the icing around and smooth it out. If you want to do multiple colors, you'll need more squeeze bottles and pastry brushes. Make sure to do the color boundaries first to prevent any bleeding.


By min | December 16, 2014, 11:35 AM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (0)| Link



Vegan Fudge Brownies


This is based on a recipe from Chloe's Vegan Desserts that i've made some changes to.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup white flour*
  • 1/2 cup white wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2T butter (we like Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Yield: 24 2-inch square brownies


*1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour is just fine instead of using 2 types of flour. I just have a thing for white whole wheat.

Grease a 9"x13" pan in a few spots just to keep the parchment paper in place, making sure there's enough parchment paper to hang over the edge of the pan. You're going to need that to lift the brownies out later. Don't overdo the greasing because it will cool in patches on your finished brownies and look gross.

You'll need a stand mixer for this one. Or very strong arms and a sturdy wooden spoon. Trust me.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Using a stand mixer, stir in the sugar.

In a double boiler or microwave, melt the butter and chocolate chips together, whisking occasionally. Add this to the dry ingredients, mixing on low until combined. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat for a minute or so. It will probably look like grainy fudge. If you're adding nuts or the like, now's the time to throw them in and give them a short spin in the mixer.

Preheat the oven to 350degF.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it around with a rubber spatula until it's as evenly distributed as you can get. Bake for 40 minutes.

Now, here's the part where every fudge brownie recipe basically lies to you. Either they say the brownie will be "a little wet in the center" or go so far as to claim you can test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the brownies and seeing if it comes out clean. DO NOT LISTEN TO THESE HORRIBLE LYING LIARS.

After 35-40 minutes in the oven, what you will actually have is a seething, boiling, liquid mess. It will not look anything like a brownie. That's ok. Take it out of the oven anyway. Set it down carefully someplace flat, like the top of the stove. Then walk away. Don't touch it. I promise when it cools down, all that chocolate will solidify. If you try to bake them long enough so that only the center is a little jiggly, you'll just end up with burned brownies and sadness.

Once the brownies are completely cooled (COMPLETELY! unless you want to eat your brownies with a spoon), use the parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan. Set them down on a large cutting board. Now, you can cut off the crispy edges if you'd like, but why would you do that? That's wasted brownie! That's a crazy thing to do. So, instead, just cut the brownies into a size that you think is appropriate. Nom nom nom.


By min | December 14, 2014, 5:29 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (2)| Link



Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies

The problem i've always had with oatmeal cookie recipes is they all tell you to use whole, rolled oats as is, but this generally results in a barely held together granola cookie that's less than satisfactory. I also noticed that cookies i bought seemed to have fewer oats in them, yet retained that oatey flavor. So i decided to grind some of the oats and only leave 1/3 of them whole. These cookies hold together much better and have a much nicer texture, imo.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup white wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 T butter, softened (we like Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 T plus 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Yield: ~21 cookies

Using a food processor, grind 1 cup of the rolled oats into flour. Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the ground and whole oats.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the oil.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the milk and vanilla extract. Pour half of the dry ingredients and all of the liquid into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Beat until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients. When the dry ingredients are completely mixed in, add the raisins and nuts, stirring just long enough to distribute them into the dough.

Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350degF.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop (~1 1/2 T), drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets approximately 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies a bit as they will spread minimally.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


By min | December 14, 2014, 4:43 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (1)| Link



Vegan Gingersofts

It's cookie season.

So, here's what happened. I needed a gingersnap recipe. I found one. And then i proceeded to completely misread the amount of butter called for. Thus, gingersofts were born, a soft and deliciously buttery alternative to boring old gingersnaps.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter (we like Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 vegan egg (we like Ener-G)
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • Yield: ~30 cookies

Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg and beat until smooth.

Sift the flour with baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended.

Use a cookie scoop to scoop onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350degF. Leave the cookies on the sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


By min | December 14, 2014, 4:20 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (0)| Link



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