Tuesday, November 14, 2006

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I swear I make things other than desserts. Really. For example, last night I adapted a recipe for polenta sausage mozzarella casserole by making my own polenta (easy and so good) and subbing tofurkey italian sausage for the meat (otherwise the recipe was as written). And last week I made my own seitan (recipe will be next time I make it) and proceeded to make a fake Thanksgiving dinner, seitan gyros and seitan parmesan. So yes, we eat more than cookies and muffins and cakes, but what can possibly be better than cookies and muffins and cakes? Not much, that's what.

Anthony's mom makes the most amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. They are fairly straightforward and involve pudding mix, but they are a treat and I don't make them unless it's a special occasion. Consequently, I've been hunting down oatmeal cookie recipes that are inanely simple and also not that unhealthy. I found this one and tried my hand at it and futzed around with the ingredients. I got rid of the egg and added a bit extra applesauce, and since I was using sucanat I cut the sugar in half and added chocolate chips. I think that I could have used even less sugar and less chocolate chips (crazy words, I know). The batter, as noted in the original post, is insanely good and would be awesome in ice cream. Since it is vegan I think this would be great to make with kids since they (like me) tend to like getting the last bits out of the bowl and off the beaters into their mouths.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sucanat
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

- line 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper
- preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until combined
- add applesauce and vanilla to the sugar and butter mixture and combine until smooth
- stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and chocolate chips
- drop the batter by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough
- bake the cookies for 10 minutes until just golden, cool on the sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack

makes: 24 cookies

Monday, November 13, 2006

zucchini cookies

I adapted this recipe a while ago when I had a massive ammount of zucchini from my csa. I've played with it a bit, sometimes I make it healthier, sometimes I don't. Here is the most recent healthy version I made at the request of Eryn. It is a fairly simple recipe but there are a few things to note. First, I used flax instead of butter. Flax absorbs a lot of liquid and makes things brown a bit faster. To get some more liquid into the recipe I used agave nectar instead of the sugar. Agave has a lower glycemic index so it is better for you than plain sugar, and it is also about 1.5 times sweeter so you can use much less in your recipes.

Overall I think the cookies were good - they are on the cakey side, though. I added a bit extra soymilk at the end because the batter was really stiff, but I think it would have been fine without it.

Zucchini cookies with chocolate chips
1 medium zucchini (with skin)
1.5 cup ground flax
3/4 cup agave
1 egg (substitute with 3 T applesauce to make vegan)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

- preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- grate the zucchini
- in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt
- in a large bowl add the flax and sugar and mix until combined
- add in the egg followed by the zucchini
- add in the flour slowly and mix until almost totally combined
- add the chocolate chips and finish stirring
(optional - if the batter is really thick try adding 1 - 2 T soy milk)
- scoop heaping T of the dough onto cookie sheets and bake for about 12 minutes,
until just golden
- cool cookies on baking sheet for about 2-3 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack
- eat!

makes 18 large cookies or 24 smaller ones, depending on how you scoop the dough.

Friday, November 03, 2006

easiest pie

I had attempted to make apple buttermilk muffins earlier this week and
failed. Miserably. So I've had a container of buttermilk in the fridge and
decided that I needed to use it and I wanted to bake something with chocolate, but not something that was all chocolate. Subtlety, while not usually something I am good at in terms of personality, is something I can achieve through cooking.

I found a recipe for buttermilk pie and adapted it so that it didn't have eggs (I seem to always have bananas going bad on the table) and threw in some chocolate chips for good measure. The crust I used was made in some giant warehouse by the parent company of Jewel, not by my own two hands. The taste was tangy and sweet, with an obvious banana flavor. The chocolate chips sank to the bottom and made a nice layer of chocolate in between the crust and the filling. This is a really good and easy pie, and fairly healthy considering buttermilk is lowfat. I am not sure how this would work if you tried to do the fake buttermilk trick with a non-dairy milk (substitute one tablespoon of fake milk with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup). If you try it let me know.

Buttermilk Banana Chocolate Pie
1 graham cracker crust
1/3 cup sucanat or any unrefined sugar
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 small bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
cinnamon, to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a food processor, combine sugar, flour and salt and pluse a few times.
Add bananas and blend until well combined.
Add vanilla, nutmeg, and buttermilk and process until smooth.
Pour into crust, taking care not to over-fill the pie.
Add in the chocolate chips and stir.

Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until it's set and just jiggles a little bit
in the middle and the top is golden.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

pumpkin bread

The first time I made this it turned out a tasty but soggy mess on the inside.
I tried again, this time not at 6 am but at a more reasonable and less groggy
7 pm and it turned out just fine. I think I added in way too much liquid, but
you should make sure that your batter isn't too thick - if it is goopy and heavy
add in 1-2 T milk. A lot might depend on the pumpkin you use and how thick it is.

I made mine with a combination of dried berries, but as I was eating it this
morning I was wishing I was a bit more decadent and added chocolate chips instead.

Pumpkin Bread with Berries (adapted from Everyday Vegan)

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
2 t baking powder
scant 1 t baking soda
2 heaping t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t allspice
1 t ginger powder
couple pinches sea salt
1 cup pumpkin (canned or baked and pureed)
1 cup soy/rice/almond/dairy milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup raisins/dried berries/chocolate chips
1 t vanilla extract
2 t canola

- preheat oven to 350, lightly oil a loaf pan
- in a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well
- in a smaller bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients except the oil
and stir until smooth
- add wet to dry and as it begins to come together add in the canola oil
- pour into pan and bake for about 45 min, until a tester comes out clean
- let it cool on a rack for at least 10 min, pop it out and eat!