Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

I have another sugar cookie recipe on my blog that uses far less fat in it with a cakey texture if that is what you are looking to make. However, if you want a bakery-style, old-fashioned sugar cookie with full flavor and great texture, you simply must try these. I decided to pull out my mom’s recipe and back-track to keep the old richness with the new veganism.

Since we’re all busy this time of the year, I’m going to keep this short and just get you the recipe. Have a wonderful, merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and anything else you celebrate. If you want a frosting recipe, click here.

My new experiment with a cookie stamp.

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, softened
  • 2 T. soy sour cream (or more coconut oil)
  • 2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar) plus more for top of cookies
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 4 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour, or w.w. pastry flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Thoroughly cream margarine, evaporated cane juice, and vanilla.  Add egg replacer powder, stirring thoroughly.  Gradually beat in the milk by hand, or use a mixer and do it all at once.  Continue beating until fluffy and no separation remains.  Stir in salt and baking powder well, then flour immediately afterwards.  Stir until no dry spots remain.  If necessary, add another T. or so of milk.

Roll dough into balls, place on cookie sheets, and flatten with a glass dipped into more of the evaporated cane juice crystals, or a cookie stamp.  (After you have rolled the cookie dough into balls, you may need to rub your hand on the bottom of the glass the first time so that the sugar will stick to it.)  Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Cool slightly and remove to cooling rack.

If you wish to roll cookies out for cut-outs, chill the dough for an hour or more.  Use a metal spatula or dough scraper to gently lift the cookies from the countertop so they keep their shapes.  If you do this, you will not need to flour the countertop at all, which makes a tastier cookie.

Piña Colada Millet Pudding for the Virtual Vegan Potluck

vvpLOGOWelcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck!  I have left you my dish to enjoy (ah, the marvels of technology that allows me to schedule a post days in advance), but I won’t be joining you until tonight or tomorrow.  (I’m a Seventh-day Adventist and we spend the day in worship, rest, and family time from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.  While this kind of potluck is hardly work, it is something that I focus on intently when I wade through the marvelous recipes, ignoring everything and everybody else completely.  Therefore, I’ve chosen to wait until later.)  Have a wonderful time!  🙂

Most of my pudding recipes are made from non-dairy milk, flavorings, and cornstarch/arrowroot.  While they are extremely tasty, they aren’t as nutritious as they are just plain old dessert.  I decided to mess around with a millet pudding that has some whole grain goodness along with dessert properties.  Then I don’t feel as guilty when I eat a large helping!  And my hungry, hungry teens get more nutrients for their vast calorie intakes.

That being said, don’t think that this dessert is so healthy that it doesn’t taste like dessert…it is wonderful!  You can adjust the sweetness as you desire as long as you use a dry type of sweetener.  Increase, decrease – it shouldn’t affect the overall performance.

Pina Colada Pudding smallPiña Colada Pudding

  • 1 c. millet, rinsed and drained
  • 4 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • juice from half a small lemon
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (13.66 oz.)
  • 1 can pineapple in it’s own juice, undrained* (20 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (I have had good success substituting half of this with 1/4 tsp. pure stevia powder ~ and it likely would work with all stevia using 1/2 tsp.)

In a heavy-bottom pan, simmer the millet in the water with the salt for about 30 minutes, turning the heat down as the water begins to be absorbed by the millet.  Cover it with the lid askew to keep it from boiling over.  Keep a close eye on this, because it can all of a sudden scorch – or boil over – if you aren’t turning the heat down soon enough.  If there is any water left after 30 minutes, you will need to continue cooking it for a while.  A lot depends on how hot your simmer is and how heavy your pot is.  If it begins to stick to the bottom, but still seems a bit damp, remove from the heat and cover completely with the lid.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes and it will loosen from the bottom and finish cooking, absorbing the rest of the water.  Let cool with lid on for about 15 minutes so that you aren’t trying to blend super hot ingredients.  (Another option is to cook your millet in the oven, covered, overnight at 200°.  It will be perfectly fluffy in the morning and can be blended after a 15 minute cooling period.)

While the millet is cooking, blend the rest of the ingredients in a large capacity blender (56 oz.)  Add the warm millet and blend until the pudding is smooth.  (This makes for a VERY full blender.  If you have a smaller blender or just want to make sure you have enough room in a large blender, you will need to do this in batches with half of the pineapple/coconut mixture and half of the millet.)  Pour into a serving bowl or individual bowls and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pudding.  Chill thoroughly.

*This makes a soft pudding.  If you like a thicker pudding that is closer to sliceable, drain the pineapple first, but it may take longer to blend this way.

vvp Thanks for coming To visit the blog ~ Healthy Slow Cooking ~ that precedes mine in the Potluck, click here!
~!To visit the blog ~ Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen ~ that follows mine in the Potluck, click here!
To start at the beginning of the Potluck (there are about 170 of us this time!), click here!

IF there are folks who did NOT post for the vegan potluck like they were supposed to, and you cannot find links to the next blog in line, please, please, please, go to the beginning of the potluck (link is just above this paragraph) and you can click on missing links from there so that you don’t miss any of the marvelous recipes of those bloggers who DID post correctly.

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

Peach Cobbler (or Blueberry…or Blackberry…or….) plus a gluten-free option

Years and years ago, when women wrote their recipes more cryptically than they do today (a pinch of this, a dash of that, a slow oven…as in wood-burning stove/oven!), my grandmother crafted a cobbler that was out of this world!  My mother recreated it for a “normal” oven and I grew up adoring cobblers of any kind.  When we lived in Oregon, we picked wild Marion blackberries on the side of the road that were as long as my 7-year-old thumb and thicker – and they had very little seeds, as I recall.  They made the best cobbler I ever can remember.  (I tried to recreate it with frozen Marion blackberries…oh, no.  It was more of a seed-crunch cobbler.   Ick.)

When we became vegan, I figured out what to do with the handed-down cobbler recipe.  I had tried and tried to tweak it to make it healthier…and gave up to a certain extent.  If I was going to eat the cobbler-of-my-childhood/vegan-version, it wasn’t going to be super-duper healthy.  It was going to be dessert…with whole grain flour.  (Hey, I couldn’t give in entirely to unhealthy living!)  🙂

A few days ago a friend dropped off some South Carolina peaches that he brought back from his trip.  They smelled amazing!  I could have crawled in the bag and absorbed that perfume into my skin.  We ate some of the peaches, but when my boys went away for a 5-day camp-out, I knew I was going to have to make something with the fruit before it went bad.  My mouth started to water thinking about cobbler.

And then I remembered…my cobbler recipe is a wheat flour recipe.  And two days ago, I splurged and had some real, live pizza complete with a wheat crust (but vegan cheese…so maybe it’s not truly “real”) ~ and I’m paying for it with an achy body still today.  The last thing I wanted to do was make and eat more wheat ~ especially with my wheat-tolerant, eating-machine boys not there to help devour it.

First I prayed for guidance and then bravely started working on what was hopefully going to be an amazing gluten-free, vegan version of my grandmother’s recipe.  I’m sure she would be astonished.  As I type this, it is in the oven baking…and I am on pins and needles wondering how it will turn out.  I peeked in the oven at the half-way point, and it looks promising!  I’m so excited.  The peaches have sunk down in the batter perfectly!

Meanwhile, let me give you the just-plain vegan version of the recipe.  Then if the gluten-free one turns out, I’ll add that, too.  Remember, this is a special treat with plenty of sweetener and fat.  If you prefer a less sweet dish, cut down on the sweetener in the batter by 1/2 a cup, but I don’t recommend reducing the fat content any more…been there/done that…and it wasn’t pretty.

This makes a 4 quart casserole full as it rises.  It will drop down some as it cools.

Vegan Cobbler

  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder, sieved
  • 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (I prefer white whole wheat – King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. vegan margarine (Earth Balance is great.  I often substitute 1/2 of it with solid coconut oil – refrigerate it if necessary to make it firm up during the summer.)
  • 1 3/4 c. non-dairy milk
  • 4 cups or more of fruit (peach, blueberry, etc.)  This may be frozen or fresh, I’ve used both successfully.  I usually use 6 cups of fruit.
  • 1/4-1 c. sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is – I tend to use 1/4-1/2 c.)
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray baking dish with oil.

Mix dry ingredients (first 4) together in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender.  With the pastry blender, cut in the vegan margarine (and coconut oil if using) into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and has small pea-sized pieces of dough sticking together.  You want to get the fats mixed in with the flour so that it is well distributed throughout the batter.  Stir in the milk just until everything is moist.  The batter will be lumpy and fairly wet.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out to the edges.  (You can click on the picture to see just how lumpy it will look.)  Place the fruit evenly across the batter.  Sprinkle on the 1/4-1 c. sugar.  Pour boiling water over it all.  Bake for 1 hour.

_________Update on the gluten-free cobbler__________

After actually allowing the cobbler to cool (only because I could test the taste and texture better without a burned tongue) I took a nibble of the crust.  Mmmm…it was very good and the texture was spot-on.  But before I really could tell you how it came out, I had to eat a big spoonful of it to know for certain.  (I was willing to go the distance for all of you!  Such a sacrifice!)  Oh, man…was it good.  I would have no problem serving this to anyone.  It has a slightly nutty flavor that the wheat version doesn’t, but it doesn’t detract from the overall dessert.  I think the sweetener could certainly be reduced in the batter.  Without the slight bitterness of the wheat, it doesn’t need as much.  On the other hand, if you want a knock-down, drag-out dessert that will go the distance, leave the sweetener as is!

Gluten-free Vegan Cobbler

  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder, sieved
  • 1 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2-3/4 c. vegan margarine (Earth Balance is great.  I often substitute 1/2 of it with solid coconut oil – refrigerate it if necessary to make it firm up during the summer.)
  • 2 c. non-dairy milk
  • 2 or more pints of fruit (peach, blueberry, etc.)  This may be frozen or fresh
  • 1/4-1 c. sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is – I tend to use 1/4-1/2 c.)
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray baking dish with oil.

Mix dry ingredients (first 8) together in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender.  With the pastry blender, cut in the vegan margarine (and coconut oil if using) into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and has small pea-sized pieces of dough sticking together.  You want to get the fats mixed in with the flour so that it is well distributed throughout the batter.  Stir in the milk just until everything is moist.  The batter will be lumpy and fairly wet.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out to the edges.  Place the fruit evenly across the batter.  Sprinkle on the 1/4-1 c. sugar.  Pour boiling water over it all.  Bake for 1 hour.

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.

Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake

Finding a tasty vegan cheesecake can be hard to do.  Finding a tasty vegan cheesecake that doesn’t contain a bunch of processed products can be even harder.  With a search engine, I went seeking.  I ended up narrowing my search to just images, because if the picture didn’t look appetizing, I wasn’t bothering to read the recipe.  If the pictured cheesecake was thin or runny, I kept going.  If it looked like a stereo-typical vegan dessert (you’ve seen those, haven’t you ~ the ones people wrinkle up their noses at during potlucks and keep going?) then I didn’t click on the picture to see the rest of the info.

I finally found this one.  The picture was mouthwatering!  My stomach growled over it ~ and it didn’t have any funny ingredients.  I printed it out for trial.  However, the mix in the blender was SUPER sour (I always taste new recipes as I go to ensure success.)  I had to add extra stuff just to make it not pucker my whole face!  (I chatted online with the recipe creator who said that was what she was trying to make, because she loves tart things.  So, if that is your taste preference, check out her version.)  Even after extra thickening and sweetening, it had to be partially frozen to be thick enough to slice.  It was certainly edible (and nobody turned down a second piece, except my fussiest eater who only ate 1 bite and surrendered his first piece to ME!), but it wasn’t exactly what I was going for.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?  At least you do if you’ve been reading my blog for very long.  Time for revamping into my own thing!  (I did shamelessly use Kier’s version of the crust ~ thank you…it was too good and didn’t need any changing.)

Now, this was more like it! (Tell me if this makes your mouth water when you see it.  Please…no licking the computer screen.)

Granted, this makes a HUGE cheesecake, so you might want to only make this when company is coming over.  But then again, have you ever wished for less decadent dessert leftovers for later?  Me, either.  I do suggest cutting this into 16 pieces at least.  We cut it into 12 and it was almost too much ~ too rich even for our family of sweet tooths.  (Although, nobody left a morsel behind on their plates…they just held their very full stomachs and laid around the living room like so many inert statues for a while afterwards.)

If you wish to make a smaller version, you can cut the crust in half and the filling into a third, but it won’t come out as thick as pictured above.  It will fit nicely into a 10″ pie plate then.

Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake  ~ 9” x 13”

 Crust ~

  • 2 c. walnuts
  • 1 c. almonds
  • 20 pitted dates
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Filling ~

  • 3 cans of Thai organic coconut milk – full fat, thoroughly chilled ***
  • juice of 3 small lemons (about 8-9 T.)
  • 3/4 c. honey or other liquid sweetener
  • 3 c. raw cashews (may be soaked 4-8 hours)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure stevia powder
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

Topping ~

  • 2 12-oz packages of frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or other sweetener

In food processor, whiz nuts until finely chopped.  Add dates, vanilla, and salt and pulse until well mixed.  This can be a time-consuming process.  If your food processor isn’t very big or isn’t very efficient, try doing half of the recipe at a time.

Press the nut-date mixture on the bottom and up the sides of a 9” x 13” glass pan.  To see if there are any thin places, hold the pan up, tipped toward a window.  Press mixture toward any places that need more coverage.  Set aside.

Carefully spoon out the thickened coconut cream from the top of the cans of chilled coconut milk and place in a high powered blender.  Reserve the liquid for other uses, such as smoothies.  (If you do not have a strong or a big enough blender – 56 oz. – blend in two batches.)  Place remaining filling ingredients into blender in order listed so that the coconut cream turns into a liquid to help blend up the cashews.  Blend until smooth with no tiny pieces of cashew remaining.  Pour into prepared crust, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours.

Pour thawed berries into a glass bowl and sprinkle cane juice crystals over the top.  Mix until the crystals dissolve, breaking up the berries into a saucy topping.  Chill.

Cut and serve the cheesecake, spooning the raspberry sauce over the top of each piece as desired.  Or you may top the whole cheesecake with the berries and serve.

***Addendum:  I made this yet again, because we love it so much.  I used some less expensive, but still organic coconut milk.  It failed!  Well, it wasn’t a total failure, but close enough.  It was grainy, too moist, and not as flavorful.  I most highly recommend Thai organic canned coconut milk for the proper results.