Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 001 Since we’re all short on time at this time of year, I’m going to keep any comments brief.

It is a tradition with my kids to decorate sugar cookies for the holidays as a family – well, minus hubby, who just isn’t interested.  Sometimes the kids are really good about prettily and carefully crafting their cookies.  Other years, not so much…and we end up with houses turned in a funny way and becoming elephants, snowmen upended and being crafted into ice cream cones.  No…I do not know why, nor do I understand.  But since three out of four of them are adults, who am I to argue?  lol  However, it is my creations you see pictured here.  😀

Sugar Cookies

  • 1/2 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks
  • Sugar Cookies 0121/4 c. extra light olive oil
  • 2 T. soy sour cream
  • 2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals, or sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (or more)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2 c. + 2 T. non-dairy milk (may need a smidgen more)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s brand)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Thoroughly cream “butter,” olive oil, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Add in egg replacer powder.  Stir milk in little at a time, beating until well mixed.  Stir in salt and baking powder.  Then add the flour, mixing carefully until no dry spots remain.  If dough seems crumbly, add a little bit of milk – but be very careful here – it doesn’t take much to make a soggy mess suddenly!  It is the right consistency when a small ball of dough can be lightly kneaded and come together.

Roll dough into balls and flatten with a glass dipped into evaporated cane juice crystals/sugar.  (You may need to rub your cookie-dough-smeared palm on the bottom of the glass before the first cookie so that the sugar will stick to it.)  OR  to make cut-out cookies take a good-sized lump of dough, knead it until it is more cohesive, and roll it out on the kitchen counter.  You shouldn’t need any flour if you are careful and use something like a dough scraper or a thin pancake turner to gently scrape up the cut-out dough from the counter.  This makes for a much nicer flavored cookie!  If all else fails, use a little flour on the counter.

Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack.  Decorate as desired.  (Or leave the sugared round ones plain.)

Yields approximately 6 dozen (depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

Sugar Cookies 017

Apple Pecan Muffins

I got a message from a friend who is cooking for a group of young people involved in an Christian outreach program this summer.  She needed 2 dozen vegan muffins ~ could I help?  How could I say no?  Especially since this amazing woman is cooking for these kids even though she recently fell and broke her shoulder!

These are some of my favorite muffins and I wanted to share them with you.  But I confess I haven’t made them recently, because hubby and I would be tempted to eat them, wheat and all.  So, this was the perfect excuse to bake them for the recipe photo-op, but with temptation being removed!  🙂

I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time.  I made and froze these before my last baby was born so that once I needed them, hubby could bring them to me in the hospital to eat.  (Hospital food and veganism just don’t seem to dovetail very well.)  That baby is now 15!!  And I’ve been making them longer than that.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I used to.

Apple Pecan Muffins

  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s are good)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (best if you can get ahold of Saigon or Ceylon, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder (do not add water)
  • 1 c. chopped apple (the finer you chop it the softer it will be)
  • 1/4 c. broken pecan pieces (or chop if you want finer pieces)
  • 1-1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • soy milk added to lemon juice to make 1 c. total**
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (or 1/2 c. applesauce & an extra 1/4 c. oil)
  • 1/4 c. extra light olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray muffin cups with oil.  Whisk lemon juice and soy milk together and set aside.

Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and egg replacer powder in a mixing bowl.  Add pecans and chopped apple, tossing to coat apple with flour mixture.  In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk/lemon juice mixture (which should have curdled into vegan buttermilk) with the applesauce, oil, and maple syrup/honey.  With a rubber spatula, scrape wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until no dry spots remain. 

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  As you can see from the picture of the unbaked batter, these will be very full muffin cups!

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Place muffin pan on wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes.  (Trust me on this, okay?  It’s absolutely necessary, or your muffins will not let go of the pan and you’ll have muffin pieces that are slightly gooey because they haven’t finished setting up in the pan.)  Remove from pans with fingers ~ if they won’t let go with just a tiny tug, then let them cool a little longer (esp. in the summer if you don’t have the A/C on.)  Place on rack to finish cooling.

** I have only tried this with soy milk.  It probably works with other non-dairy milks, but I cannot vouch for how they behave.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

I told you we had a lot of birthdays right about now!  This is a favorite cake in my family.  They often request it for special occasions.  This time I happened to make it with spelt flour, but King Arthur’s white whole wheat (or Trader Joe’s) works marvelously well, too.

In the beginning this recipe was a muffin recipe from a book called A-Z Muffins that I borrowed from a library.  It wasn’t vegan and it wasn’t particularly healthy, either, with loads of oil.  After I turned it into a vegan creation with more healthful ingredients, I made it as muffins, but decided that it made a wonderful dense cake instead.  (Quicker and less clean-up, don’t you know….Does anybody like washing muffin tins?)

{I’m still learning R’s camera and didn’t increase the shutter speed, making this a little blurry.  I also tried to capture an artful picture of a piece of cake on a plate, but the piece I put on there was somehow a little smushed and didn’t look pretty at all.  So, you get a shot from a piece still in the pan.  Realism…at it’s…finest?}

Usually, we don’t serve banana chocolate chip cake with frosting (only on birthdays) because it is just so moist and marvelous on its own.  Plus it has all those chocolate chips…mmmm.  You see, my family has learned a crazy habit ~ from me ~ of putting milk on the cake in a bowl and eating it that way.  (Didn’t you ever hear Bill Cosby’s comic routine about cake for breakfast?  Flour, eggs, milk…all healthy ingredients, right?  {or so I thought at the time}  Yes…yes, that is how it all began one morning when as a teenager I ran out of cereal and nobody was there to stop me from eating cake in my bowl instead.)  Thus, we don’t usually need the frosting.  My poor son-in-law just shakes his head and quietly eats his on a plate with a glass of soy milk beside it.  😀

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 4 c. white whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder, sieved to remove lumps
  • 2 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 7 medium-sized, very ripe bananas (with speckles…or turning brown, if you must)
  • 1 c. honey
  • 2/3 c. applesauce (or 1/2 c. melted coconut oil, or combo of the two)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spray 9″x13″ pan with oil.

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mash bananas with a pastry blender or potato masher in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix in the remaining wet ingredients with the banana.  Add banana mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together until there are no dry spots.  Scrape into prepared pan and smooth out batter.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (look out for chocolate chips!)  Cool on rack.  (I have never tried to turn this out of the pan to place on a platter.  I have only served it directly out of the pan.  I suggest parchment paper in the bottom if wish to remove it from the pan.  I also think 8″ round pans would work better for that purpose.)

My daughter, K, with her birthday cake.  Only 2 candles?!  What’s up with that?  😀

Island Cookies

I love taste testing my cookie recipes!  😀  Of course, sometimes it gets out of hand….  Like this time.  (By the way, you can click on the pictures to see bigger versions.)

Last weekend, I needed a new cookie recipe, because somebody (or bodies) had snacked on the chocolate chips and I couldn’t make the requested lunch box favorites – chocolate chip cookies.  I also needed a gluten-free cookie.  This is what I found.  It was based off of this recipe.  I was intrigued, but frustrated.  Too often gluten-free, grain-free recipes call for massive amounts of eggs.  It can be difficult to substitute, because often they are doing more than one job – leavening, binding, moisture, flavor.  I can fix the moisture issue, as a general rule, but the leavening/binding issues can be tricky.  Flavor can be adjusted to make up for the lack of eggs, too.  I did some reading on other websites about replacing eggs in things (thus reinforcing the on-going thought that we all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us when it comes to creating something “new.”)

Often times, you don’t know for sure how things will work out until you’ve made at least one batch….or two…or….well, you get the picture.

My first attempt came out ~ well ~ in my mind…plain.  Remember what I said about eggs giving things flavor?  Hmmm…they had a very mild flavor.  I was afraid my non-taster hubby wouldn’t be impressed.  I was sure tweaking would be in order.  Guess what?  All the guys liked them!  The impression they got was of a sugar cookie with a little cinnamon.  Who knew?  However, I wasn’t finished tweaking.

The “worst” of it was that I didn’t finish tweaking until about half of the cookies were baked!  😀  I had the dough mixed up and decided if I threw in some rum flavoring it would add a lot to the overall flavor.  Then I thought, “What about some coconut flakes?”  Before I threw those in, I made up 2 cookies from the original dough in the mixing bowl – 1 to taste test and 1 for the photo shoot.  (Those taste a lot like coconut snickerdoodles.)

While I was stirring in the coconut, I thought about how much hubby prefers chocolate chips in his cookies.  So, I put 2-cookies-worth of coconut-laden dough onto the cookie sheet and added chocolate chips.  I no longer thought they would need to be rolled in the cinnamon sugar.  One cookie later told me ‘no.’  It stuck like crazy to the glass I was using to flatten the cookie balls.  Back to the sugar…but I really thought just plain sugar (aka: evaporated cane juice crystals) would be good enough.

By this time, I had the first pan in the oven – can you believe it?  Finally.  When the cookies came out, I almost burned my mouth tasting the first one before they cooled!  By this time, the 2nd pan was already in the oven with plain-sugar-coated cookies on it.

I bit into the first cookie ~ the plain one.  MMmmm…it was SO much better than my first attempt.  I only ate a bite, because I hadn’t been hungry this morning and hadn’t actually had breakfast yet.  Next I broke off a piece of the coconut-flakes-added cookie.  Oh, man, this was even better than the last one!  I couldn’t wait to try the ones with chocolate chips.  All set to get a bigger burst of flavor than before, my mouth watered….ah, let down.  Without the cinnamon sugar, they were just plain ol’ cookies!

Quickly I got the next pan ready with cinnamon-sugar on them.  When they came out of the oven, I finally got that amazing burst of flavor I knew was coming!

Overall, I love each of these cookie variations for different reasons.  They were all moist inside with a nice crumb.  Since I made a double batch, by the time I got to the very last pan, the coconut flour had soaked up a little too much moisture and the finished product was a bit on the fragile side as it came off the pan.  If you make a single batch, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Island Cookies

  • 3/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 1/4 c. Earth Balance buttery spread sticks (1/2 a stick)
  • 1/4 c. softened virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. molasses
  • 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2 c. Silk vanilla coconut milk (you could probably substitute canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder, sieved to remove lumps
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 c. coconut flakes – I used sweetened ones (opt. – if not using chocolate chips, increase)
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips (opt.)
  • 3 T. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (use the good stuff for the best flavor – Saigon, etc.)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the sugar, Earth Balance, coconut oil, vanilla, rum extract, salt, and molasses until creamy.  Stir in the egg replacer powder.  Add roughly a 1/3 of the coconut milk, stirring until batter begins to fluff up.  Add another 1/3 of the coconut milk, again mixing well.  Reserve the remaining coconut milk.  Sprinkle the baking soda over the dough and whip into the batter.  Stir in the coconut flour and when almost all is incorporated, add the reserved coconut milk.  Add coconut flakes and chocolate chips if using.  Let rest for 5 minutes while mixing remaining sugar and cinnamon in a cereal bowl.

Form dough into no-bigger-than-ping-pong-sized balls and roll/toss in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place on cookie sheets and press lightly down with the bottom of a wide drinking glass.  (If you prefer, you can use a fork, but I didn’t care for the looks as much.)  If the chocolate chips resist the pressing, just wiggle the glass a bit and they will give in.  😀

Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Cool on racks.Yields 25-28 cookies

Vegan Custard Rice Pudding

This rice pudding is reminiscent of the old-fashioned custard rice pudding I grew up eating (minus the raisins that I always picked out ~ why did Daddy like those?)  Mama used her mother’s thin, age-darkened recipe written in a spidery hand, which, instead of giving an oven temperature, called for a “slow oven” ~ because grandma had used a wood stove! It has always been my standard against which to measure all other rice puddings.

No wonder I was so unhappy with the rice pudding recipes I found when we became vegan.  Who wanted sweetened rice in a puddle of non-dairy milk?  Where was the pudding?  Where was the custard?  Was it even possible to get that without dairy ingredients and eggs?

This is a combination of several internet recipes from a few years ago.  It has the wonderful custard that so many sadly lacked.  It is not low fat, but it is exactly what I was aiming to replicate.

And if you must add raisins to duplicate your childhood memory, then *sigh* I guess that’s allowable.  🙂  Grandma’s recipe says to add 1 c. raisins.

Vegan Custard Rice Pudding

  • 6 c. cooked brown rice (I have used as little as 4 c., but 5-6 c. is much better) *
  • 4 c. Silk vanilla soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 package Morinu extra-firm tofu
  • 3 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no liquid added)
  • 4 T. Earth-Balance non-hydrogenated stick “butter” (1/2 stick), softened
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure stevia powder (or 1/2 c. more evap. cane juice)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Whiz in blender all ingredients except rice and cinnamon.  (If you don’t have a 56-oz. blender, then leave 2 c. of soymilk out and mix it with the blended mixture before adding rice in the next step.)  Stir blender mixture in with rice in a 3-4 qt. dish (a 9″x13″ cake pan is 3 qt.)  Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.  Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350°.

The top will split and crinkle as it cools just like grandma’s recipe! May be served warm, but I like it best cold.

*Note:  My cooked rice in this batch was a bit firm and somewhat dry to start the recipe.  It absorbed more of the “custard” than usual.  It was still very good, but since my favorite part happens to be the custard….I, therefore, recommend brown rice that is soft and moist, or use only 5 cups.

Make Your Muffins Healthier

It’s possible to re-make your favorite muffin recipes into healthier vegan versions.  Don’t hesitate to experiment with them.  Here are some tips:

  • Replace from half up to all of the oil with applesauce (the best texture comes from leaving about 2 T. of oil per dozen muffins)
  • Replace eggs with Ener-G egg replacer powder (1 1/2 tsp. per egg, plus 2 T liquid such as water or non-dairy milk added to the liquid ingredients, or if replacing the sugar with liquid sweetener, omit the extra liquid for just 1 egg)
  • Replace the sugar with honey or maple syrup to add more moistness, but be sure to reduce the oven temperature by 25°
  • Use whole grain flours and oats instead of white flour
  • Use non-dairy milk

Here is an example of a modified muffin recipe:

Original:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Healthier Version:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 3/4 c. non-dairy milk
  • 2 T. light olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 T. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour (*note)
  • 1/3 c. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 T. non-aluminum baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Original directions:  Heat oven to 400°.  Grease bottoms only of about 12 medium muffin cups.  Beat egg; stir in milk and oil.  Stir in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy).  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Immediately remove from pan.

Healthier version directionsHeat oven to 375°.  Spray 12 medium muffin cups with oil mister or use paper liners.  Whisk all dry ingredients together in large bowl.  Whisk all wet ingredients in small bowl.  Pour wet ingredients into dry, stirring just until moistened.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes.  Immediately remove from pan – slip knife around edges if necessary to loosen.

Variations:

Blueberry: Stir in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries during the last few stirs after wet ingredients are added to dry.

Banana: Decrease milk to 1/3 cup; stir in 1 c. mashed bananas (2-3 medium) with the wet ingredients.  Add 1/3 c. chopped nuts and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, if desired, to the dry ingredients.

Oatmeal-Raisin: Stir in 1 cup raisins with the dry ingredients.  Decrease flour to 1 cup; stir in 1 cup quick oats, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon with the dry ingredients.

Pumpkin: Stir in 1/2 c. pumpkin with the wet ingredients.  Stir in 1/2 c. raisins and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice with the dry ingredients.

Date-Nut: Stir in 1/2 c. chopped dates and 1/3 c. chopped nuts with the dry ingredients.

Apple-Nut: Stir in 1 medium apple, pared and chopped, with the wet ingredients.  Stir in 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 c. chopped nuts with the dry ingredients.

*NOTE: King Arthur’s white whole wheat is fantastic to use, as it’s made from spring wheat that is lighter in color and sweeter in flavor.  You can also use 1/2 – 1 c. oats in place of part of the flour.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Celiac disease seems to be on the upswing.  All of a sudden, you have friends or family who can’t eat wheat and other grains.  What do you feed them?  Panic ensues.  The packaged gluten-free items can be tasteless or hockey pucks – and expensive.  Plus, how good for you are those starches that they use to replace the flour?

As I researched cookies online, I found that there are a lot of recipes that I wouldn’t even want to try to gather the strange ingredients to make.  Who wants xanthan gum in a cookie…and what IS it?  After a few “unorthodox” recipes (read: not the gluten-free industry standards) were perused, I decided that I was probably better off to quit reading and start cooking.  Those “unorthodox” cooks had used some healthy ingredients in their baking and the pictures looked tasty!  Modifying my already-modified vegan recipes was obviously the place to start.

There’s another thing ~ if you have been vegan for long, you know it can be sticky enough bringing vegan cookies to a school, church, or family function, but gluten-free vegan cookies?  Oh, my.  Now nobody will touch them, right?  Relax.  These actually taste pretty good!  My teen boys, J & R, gave them a thumbs-up.  In fact, J even liked them better than my usual ones because he likes a softer cookie.  (Which means if you put a little sign on them “gluten-free vegan cookies,” it virtually guarantees nobody will eat them, and you get to take them home.  Win!)  (Addendum ~ that actually didn’t work at a party we attended.  There were only crumbs left.)

I started with the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I posted yesterday and cut it in half.  (Just in case my plan didn’t work and they flopped!)  It was a good thing that I did.  By the time I got to the last pan, the dough had begun to change a bit and become drier.  Therefore, I do not recommend doubling this recipe. The next time I make them, I might drizzle in some more non-dairy milk toward the end and see if that changes anything.  (If you try it, let me know how they come out.)  The picture shows the story of the order of baking from top to bottom ~ it’s readily apparent that things changed.  (I used 17″ cookie sheets and had 3 sets go into the oven.)

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/4 c. non-hydrogenated soy margarine, softened (1/2 stick), such as Earth Balance
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar
  • 1 T. molasses
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no added water)
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk plain or vanilla soy)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (more if you want them bursting at the seams)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 1 1/2 c. fine almond meal or almond flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand), breaking up any lumps
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.  This step is non-negotiable.  Without it, I cannot be responsible for how awful your cookies look.

With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl, combine and beat margarine, coconut oil, cane juice, molasses, and vanilla.  Thoroughly stir in egg replacer powder.  Add a fourth of the non-dairy milk, or so, at a time, beating it in completely after each addition.  Keep whipping it until well incorporated.  It may look a little separated due to the extra liquid needed with the coconut flour.  (You can toss the milk in all at once, but it tends to cause separation and then you have to work harder to whip it together.)  Stir in chocolate chips, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.  Stir in almond and coconut flours until no dry spots remain.

Drop by teaspoon onto parchment-covered cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Carefully remove to cookie racks to cool.  I found the last cookies will be more fragile than the first ones.

Variation:  Make into blondies/bars here

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let’s face it ~ most people realize that cookies are not health food.  And those of us who are vegan realize that most cookies contain milk, eggs, and butter (or worse, hydrogenated oils.)   But sometimes, the siren song of cookies in the bakery window is just overwhelming.  Despite a desire to eat a whole-plant-food based diet, sometimes the cookie monster inside simply won’t be put off with another piece of fruit for dessert or an imitation cookie (you know the kind ~ the ones even undiscriminating little kids won’t eat.)

Before you succumb to that cookie (or worse yet, a package of store bought ones), hurry home and make these.  They are not CHIP- or Forks-Over-Knives- approved; they contain too much sugar and fat for that.  But they are a far sight healthier than Toll House chocolate chip cookies that most of us grew up eating!

I spent several years perfecting this recipe.  I wanted to cut the fat, do away with the dairy products, and use whole wheat flour.  I had some pretty sad and sorry cookies at the beginning!  You get the benefit of all that trial and error.  The final piece to the puzzle was parchment paper.  I know it’s a pain to use and adds extra expense, but it is worth it.  No more squashed cookies trying to peel them off of the pan with the spatula.  No more stuck-on goo to scrape off before the next ones can be put on the cookie sheet.  And no more washing the pans, either.  If you are careful about keeping the dough off of the sides, you can just throw the paper away, wipe the pans off, and put them back in the cupboard.

I usually have “one extra note” to make about my recipes.  Here is today’s.  When it comes to vanilla in cookies (or anything, for that matter) use a heavy hand.  If the real stuff is too expensive for you to do that, then by all means use imitation.  The taste difference will amaze you.  Confession:  I don’t measure my vanilla – I guesstimate and splash it in.  (I taught my kids to do this, and it got my daughter, K, in trouble one of the years she wasn’t homeschooled.  She was in home ec. making chocolate chip cookies and her teacher spotted her splashing in the vanilla and romped on her for it.  It was too expensive for such a thing and besides that, you are supposed to measure it, don’t ya’ know!!  When it came time for the teacher to taste test all the groups’ cookies [not a bad job to have…], guess which ones got the highest praise?  Ha!  Vanilla for the win!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 c. non-hydrogenated soy margarine, softened (1 stick), such as Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c. light olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 3 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar (you can use 2 ½ c., but it’s better with 3)
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no added water)
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk plain or vanilla soy)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional, but it adds extra nutrition and omega 3 fatty acids)
  • 2 c. chocolate chips (more if you want them bursting at the seams)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 4 1/2 c. King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s ‘white’ whole wheat flour (from spring wheat that is sweeter and not as strong in flavor)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.  This step is non-negotiable.  Without it, I cannot be responsible for how awful your cookies look.

With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl, combine margarine, olive or coconut oil, cane juice, molasses, and vanilla.  Thoroughly stir in egg replacer powder.  Add a third of the non-dairy milk, or so, at a time, beating it in completely after each addition.  Keep whipping it until fluffy and creamy.  Tip the bowl some to make it easier.  (You can toss the milk in all at once, but it tends to cause separation and then you have to work harder to whip it together.)  Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.  Stir in flour until no dry spots remain.  Don’t be afraid to add an extra 1-2 T. non-dairy milk at this point if the dough seems crumbly.  You want the dough to just stick together if you press a clump on a spoon, or between your fingers.  The moisture content of whole wheat flour varies causing slight differences each time.  Just don’t add too much extra milk, or your cookies will be very flat and hard.

Drop by tablespoon onto parchment-covered cookie sheets.  (Or roll into balls for perfectly round cookies.)  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Remove to cookie racks to cool.  If you want smaller cookies dropped by teaspoon, reduce the baking time to 8-10 minutes.

Cornbread (muffins or pan)

This recipe has been in my possession for so many years that I didn’t own a printer and it’s handwritten ~ probably didn’t even own a computer and if I did, I doubt it had a word processing program on it!  Yikes.  Some of you may wonder if the world existed then.  The notebook page it’s written on has bent edges, stains, and it needs its 3 holes repaired, causing it to fall out of the notebook regularly.  Originally, it was cut out of a woman’s magazine (who knows which one at this point?) complete with picture.  It was full fat, full milk and eggs, regular degerminated cornmeal, white flour – you name it.  It was pretty bad for you.  The recipe strongly called for cast-iron corn tins – but I didn’t own those, so I substituted the variation provided ~ muffin tins.

Because I wasn’t vegan at that time, I only changed one thing about the recipe – I used whole wheat flour in place of the white.  They were very tasty and everyone was happy when I served them.

Not long afterwards, I had to set the recipe aside.  My children and I were found to have allergies and we all became vegan overnight.  *gulp*  Since I didn’t have such a thing as internet yet to look for new recipes, I needed to learn how to take my much-loved ones and transform them.  (And while I was at it, one son had wheat and corn allergies, so I had to make something work for him, too.  I substituted millet flour for the cornmeal and barley or spelt flour for the wheat and made a small pan for him.  It had a stickier texture – you have to cut back on the liquid a bit – but it was worth it to him to eat something similar to our version.)  After a few attempts and substitutions, the recipe was deemed successful.  Update: I’ve learned that substituting oat flour for the wheat works very well.  It’s a little more fragile than the wheat version, but not terribly so.

This still is a favorite of mine.  I love it with chili, “chicken”-noodle soup, baked beans, and for breakfast with strawberry or raspberry jam and non-dairy milk over it  (Hey, don’t knock it until you try it!  Esp. if you use coconut milk.  Mmmmm….) – or warm for “dessert” with vegan “butter” and maple syrup drizzled over it.

Cornbread

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour or oat flour (whiz rolled oats in blender until floury)
  • 1 c. stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1/4 c. honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/3 c. soy milk
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil (for best texture) or unsweetened applesauce or half and half of each

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray muffin tin or 8”x8” pan with oil.

Combine dry ingredients.  Whisk liquid ingredients in separate bowl; add to dry ingredients and whisk until batter is smooth and just begins to thicken – about 30 seconds.  Spoon into pan.  Bake muffins for 14 minutes or 8”x8” pan for 18-20 minutes, until edges are beginning to slightly brown and center is firm.  (If the edges begin to look too brown, the bottom will already be too dark.)

Variation:  Double and place in a 9”x13” cake pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.

Oatmeal Cookies

Eating cookie dough – I think we all did it growing up!  That is, until Mom learned that raw eggs could contain salmonella and kill us.  Rats.  There went all the fun of “helping” make cookies.  Somehow, though, when her back was turned, I still managed to snitch a taste here and there.  To a little kid’s mind it made no sense whatsoever to one week be allowed to eat the dough and the next to be told it was dangerous.  Once I became a mom, I had to be diligent and depressing and not allow my children to eat it, either when we weren’t yet vegan.  Therefore, it was with great joy that it dawned on me while creating a vegan cookie recipe that there were no eggs in the cookie dough any more.  I could teach my children to eat cookie dough!  (I think I probably created a problem there…ha!)

This recipe probably provides my favorite cookie dough to eat (although chocolate chip is a close second.)  There is something about the chewy oatmeal and the goodies chosen to vary the recipe that make me dip in again and again.  (I guess it might be a little difficult to definitively tell you how many cookies the batch makes!)  🙂

The batch pictured contains a wonderful raisin medley from Trader Joe’s.  It has 3 types of HUGE raisins – white, flame, and regular.  If you are not a raisin fan (like some of my kids – and lo, and behold, my husband!  He refused to eat the cookies when he saw these.  Shocking….simply shocking!  This is the man who is a devourer of cookies…), you can switch them with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (I’ve actually found a dairy- and corn syrup-free kind once!), coconut flakes, etc.  Or combine a whole bunch of things together to make some crazy cookies.

And be forewarned….you may wish you’d  made a double batch when you see how quickly these disappear!  (I guess mine will be around longer since the cookie-monster hubby isn’t involved any more.  But wait…these are my 17-yr. old son, J’s, favorite cookies.  Never mind….they probably are already gone.)

Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) Earth’s Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, softened (these contain no trans fats)
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil (virgin is best) or light olive oil
  • 1 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice
  • 1-2 T. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (white whole wheat is sweetest and lightest)
  • 3 c. oats
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix the first 5 ingredients together until smooth.  Stir in the egg replacer powder.  Stir in soy milk a bit at a time and whip with spoon until fluffier.  Add salt and baking soda into sugar mixture.  Add flour and oats.  Stir thoroughly.

Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  If the cookies seem crumbly after the first pan is baked, press the dough together more before baking.

Makes approximately 42 cookies.  (I tried to estimate just how much dough I snitched to make up the total.)

Variations: Add 1 c. raisins, nuts, chocolate or butterscotch chips, and/or coconut before adding the flour and oats.