Archive for the 'Cookies' Category



Honey Lavender Hazelnut Cookies

These cookies went so well with the Lavender Coconut Agave Ice Cream I made, that it was slightly ridiculous. We ate them all in one sitting! Mmm. And these cookies couldn’t be easier. In fact, the rich, toasty hazelnut and honey-infused batter is so easy to whip up, you can make them in only five minutes. And if you’re pressed for time, you don’t even really have to bake them, because they are so great raw. So, all it takes is five minutes to mix up the batter, and then however long it takes you to eat them (should really be only a few minutes, if you have a group of hungry party guests). Instant happiness!

Feel free to sub the honey for agave, although you might want to cut down the amount just a tiny bit depending on how sweet you want the cookies to be.

Honey Lavender Hazelnut Cookies Ingredients:

2 cups hazelnut flour (you can grind up whole hazelnuts if you need to)
1 cup honey, or 3/4 cup agave
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. dried lavender

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the hazelnut flour, honey/agave, salt, vanilla, and lavender in a large bowl. Mix until smooth (you can do this by hand or in a food processor).
Eat raw, or roll the dough into 3/4-inch balls and place on pan. Lightly press the down so they get a little flatter.
Bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

A Second Date…

…In case anyone was wondering, I’m still alive. Very much alive. Just totally consumed by teaching 3rd grade, and spending about 12 hours every day in my classroom. And when I stop teaching, planning, thinking about teaching and planning, assessing student work, thinking and re-thinking about every interaction with my students, and realizing that none of it is ever going to “be enough”, I can barely move, let alone think about updating my blog. But I have been finding rare moments to bake (because how could I not??). However, I haven’t been taking as many pictures of my creations as I am used to, so I have less to show for my time than usual. And to boot, as a re-emergence post, this blog entry is a repeat recipe. But a delicious repeat! Remember my Carob Date-Nut Cookies? Well, I recreated them for Talia’s birthday back in September and this time I ground the nuts to a fine powder before mixing them with the other ingredients – this created a much smoother effect and the cookies ended up looking and tasting a little bit different. I’m not sure I recommend one way over the other, they were just different sensations. I’d recommend you go make these cookies right away though, because no matter how you grind the nuts, these cookies are still my favorite snack and hit the spot!

For a gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan decadent birthday celebration, we sandwiched these cookies around homemade Lavender Coconut Agave Ice Cream. Couldn’t have been better; except that I made a second batch of cookies! I whipped up some Honey Lavender Hazelnut Cookies to mix-and-match ice cream sandwich flavors with. Stay tuned for that new recipe, coming soon!

 

Ps. Becky, this post is for you. Thanks for being my #1 fan, and motivating me to update!

Going On The Perfect Date, With A Pecan

A few months ago when I was in New York, I made a variation of these cookies with my friend Marika. We ate so much batter, we couldn’t stand the idea of baking the rest into cookies that night. She met me for yoga the next day, and brought the cookies (freshly baked that morning!) for an after-yoga snack. These are the perfect energizing treat, and without wheat, gluten, refined sugar, and packed chock-full of nuts and dried fruit, they feel healthy. In fact, they are healthy. But, they don’t taste healthy!

So, when Marika visited me in California last month, she brought the recipe with her. I hadn’t had a chance to make them until a few days ago, when Talia and I wanted to whip up some goodies. They are so easy and fast to make – and don’t require specific fancy ingredients! You can use whatever kinds of nuts you have in your house, or leave out the carob chips, or substitute another liquid sweetener (honey instead of brown rice syrup?), or adapt them to whatever your preferences are. Make sure to eat a lot of the batter before baking them, just because.

Carob Date-Nut Cookies Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 2/3 cup pecans (can substitute walnuts)
1 1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
6 Tblsp. olive oil
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained)
1 cup grain-sweetened carob chips


Preheat your oven to 350º F.
Bake the oats and pecans on a baking pan for 10 minutes.
Food process the rice flour and half of the oats till they are thoroughly combined and finely ground. Add half of the toasted pecans to the food processor and grind to a fine meal. Add the rest of the oats and pecans, as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg, and pulse once or twice (leaving some whole oats and chunks of nut).
Mix the wet ingredients together, and add to the dry. Fold in the dates. Pulse in the food processor till fairly smooth.
By hand, stir in the carob chips. If the nuts and oats were still warm when you added them to the batter, the carob chips may melt and be incorporated into the batter – if not, they will stay whole and you will get lovely chunks of carob in each bite of delicious cookie!
Drop tablespoons of the batter onto lightly greased cookie sheets, and top each cookie with a whole pecan.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until browned around the edges.

Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies

This recipe, for rosemary butter cookies, was originally from my Martha Stewart cookie cookbook. I made it vegan, and added lemon. Crispy and sweet, with the herby rosemary taste light on the palate, all I can say is Thank you, Martha.

Rosemary Lemon Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg’s worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer, blended till frothy
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup almond milk (for brushing)

Beat the Earth Balance and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a spoon until pale, light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the rosemary, lemon zest, and flour and mix well.

Divide the dough in half and shape them into logs and place on a piece of parchment paper. roll the logs about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Chill in the fridge or freezer for at least an hour (more is fine).

Preheat the oven to 375º F. take the logs out of the fridge, brush with almond milk and roll in sugar. Cut the logs into 1/4″ slices and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before eating.

Orange Blossom Clouds

My mouth has been watering basically since the exact moment on May 24, 2008, when Dayna posted this recipe on her blog. The page has been bookmarked on my toolbar for as long as I can remember. Why haven’t I made these Whoopie Pie confections until now? I have no idea. They are incredible. The spicy ginger and molasses flavors in the cakey cookies are perfectly paired with the sweet orange blossom aroma of the fluffy icing sandwiched in between. This last week was very busy at school; besides all the normal teaching and homework to do, we had to complete a high-stakes standardized state assessment teaching unit deployed by the State of California for all teaching credential students. In the middle of this crazy week was a dearly beloved and inspiring professor’s birthday, and since I wanted to bring her a treat and wanted to give everyone going through such a draining experience, I added baking cookies to my ever expanding To Do List. This happened to be the one thing that I actually wanted to do. So, of course baking took priority over reading and writing and processing, and I jumped at the opportunity to bake this recipe I’d been waiting to try forever. This was truly what I was looking for: something fruity and different, off the radar of traditional birthday baking surprises and a definite pick-me-up for the rest of us.

Notes from baking: My cookies are not as lightly colored as Dayna’s (I think because I used blackstrap molasses), and I added a little extra orange blossom water to pump up the intensity of the flavors. The cookie batter is more like a cake batter than I would have expected, and you definitely have to scoop the batter with a spoon and dollop it onto your pan. After baking, the cookies have a soft pliable consistency, more like a muffin or cupcake-top than I would have expected – but I’ve also never had a real Whoopie Pie and I think this is what it’s supposed to be like. I personally enjoyed the overall fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth experience of eating them!

If you want to pack the cookies and take them anywhere with you: don’t layer the cookies! Or, if you must, put sheets of wax or parchment paper in between the layers, because these cookies get sticky and smushy and while they still taste delicious, their cute sandwich and easy eatability disappears quickly as they turn into one giant cakey-frostingy-decadent mush. That you might have to eat with a fork, instead of your fingers. That certainly didn’t stop us from devouring the cookies quickly, but word to the wise: bring napkins!

PB&C, My Favorite Combination

Is anyone getting sick of me posting about chocolate and peanut butter combinations? I know I’ve gone a little overboard at times, but they really are my favorite flavors and when combined, totally hit the spot. And can I help it if they also happen to be the favorite flavors of some of my favorite people, too? On Wednesday, my brother came home from nearly two years abroad, and we had a welcome home dinner party for him – he happens to love chocolate and peanut butter, and so did many of our guests (does anyone remember the decadence of Zoe’s birthday cake?). I had been eyeing this recipe from Isa’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and I knew this was the perfect opportunity to make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows. The benefit of making these cookies when you’re about to have a dinner party is you can make them at the last minute, and it becomes a good activity for early-arrivals – you need lots of hands to roll all the little balls of peanut butter batter and cover them in dark chocolate cookie dough. Luckily, I have lovely friends who are happy to help out (and happy to do a lot of tasting along the way!). Make a double batch, and you’ll have enough for the party, the days following, enough to send as a birthday present to a friend out of town, enough for the friend doing the out-of-state delivery, and enough to give as little gifts to special people in your life. There is no end to these cookies…except, sadly, after giving them all away and watching them disappear as your little brother/garbage disposal consumes them in handfuls. Cute.

Mapoodles!

I had a meeting yesterday that was just asking for cookies – so I whipped these Snickerdoodles up. Maple Snickerdoodles (or Maple Doodles, or even Mapoodles) are an old favorite of mine, and I had a recipe that I’ve been using exclusively for the past 7 years, and it never fails to please everyone’s tastebuds! However, when I went to find it yesterday morning, I couldn’t locate it anywhere! I racked my brain for where I could have put it, where it might have been written out or typed up, and I just couldn’t think of where. And for the life of me, I couldn’t think of where the recipe had come from originally. So, I got creative and I made this one up, adding in cream of tartar and corn starch and making maple sugar by hand when I didn’t have any in the cupboard. And you know what? These cookies were just as good as I remembered them being – perhaps even better. Soft and gooey in the center, with a crisp crunchy outside, and perfectly crackling tops…And a subtle maple flavor bursting out from behind the more common cinnamon had me reaching for more and more tastes.

I’ve made more traditional Snickerdoodles and Snickerdoodles with even more radical flavor adaptations, but I think this is my absolute favorite. Everyone at my meeting liked them (I was told “These can’t be vegan!” and that I should share my recipes with Paula Deen). My two-year old step-first-cousin-once-removed (how’s that for a complicated relationship?) was with me while I was baking, and ended up being my first taste-tester. He doesn’t usually like sweets, but he loved them and was reaching for a second cookie before he even finished his first! Isn’t he adorable? Pretty much as sweet as the cookie he’s eating, don’t you think?

Maple Snickerdoodle Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tblsp. corn starch
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
3 Tblsp. real maple syrup
3 Tblsp. warm water
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For rolling your cookies:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
OR:
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. real maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, cream of tartar, and corn starch. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup of white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, water, and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients until just mixed. In a small dish, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup white sugar, maple sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Alternatively, if you don’t have maple sugar on hand, you can make your own version by mixing 1 cup white sugar with about 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (stir together quickly by hand or in a food processor, till texture of sugar is dry but fully covered by the syrup – you want to still be able to roll cookie dough in it, so it should be crumbly enough). Mix this with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl.
Roll your cookie dough into 1-inch balls, and roll the balls in the sugar mixture.
Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. I like mine a little underbaked, so that the centers are perfectly gooey but have a crunchy outer shell. Cookies will be crackly on top and look wet in the middle.
Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Pecan Wedding Cookies

My mom made mixed up a double recipe of the batter for these cookies, and baked only a few of them to take to an event she was attending. She left the rest of the batter in the fridge, waiting to be baked the next day. Completely oblivious to any of this, I arrived home and found the bowl of batter while looking for a snack. I didn’t know what kind of dough it was, and took a tiny taste. Then another tiny taste. I thought to myself, “Mmmm, This is delicious! I probably should stop”, but then again, the dough was so creamy, rich, sweet, delicate at the same time, I couldn’t resist having another bite. I literally had to put the cookie dough back in the fridge, go brush my teeth so I couldn’t taste or be tempted by the deliciousness any more, and close myself off in another room so I didn’t finish off the whole bowl of dough in that one sitting!

We know now that the dough for these cookies is addicting and should definitely not be left alone for too long (translation: I should not be left alone with the dough for too long…). Instead, you should bake the cookies, and you are guaranteed to make a lot of new friends, because the baked cookies taste just as good! I didn’t think they would, but they really do. They have a crumbly, powdered texture that is unique and gives them a melt-in-your-mouth effect. They are simple and quick to make (and use only a few ingredients that you may already have lying around in your cupboards). If you want, you can substitute a different type of nut for the pecans. I suggest almonds or walnuts, or a combination. Enjoy!

Pecan Wedding Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
1/2 cup very fine granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the Earth Balance with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Beat until combined. Beat in the vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in the pecans.
Shape slightly rounded teaspoons of dough into balls the size of large grapes Place balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the bottoms just begin to brown.
While the cookies are still slightly warm, roll them in powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and cool completely.
This recipe makes about 72 cookies.

Sparkling Ginger Cookies for a Happy New Year

Today I started writing in my new 2010 planner. I’ve been putting all my notes, future dates to remember, and appointments on a page at the end of my old organizer, not willing to acknowledge that 2009 is nearly over, and hoping not to let the last few days of the year slip by. However, it’s reached a point where I can’t ignore it anymore, and I think I should welcome the new year in with a good celebration! I’m spontaneously flying to New York to visit dear dear friends, and am so excited to do this. It’s pretty uncharacteristic of me, booking a ticket only a day and a half in advance, but with some wonderful and powerful convincing on their part, my friends got me to buy the tickets and brave the cold weather in New York so that I can snuggle up with them and celebrate! How did they do this? They sent me roses. Seriously, I arrived home at midnight last night and had roses on my doorstep! What sweeties! I can’t wait to step off the plane tomorrow and see them.

Another way to positively bring in the new year, of course (and very typical for me), is to bake! These are the same Ginger Cookies that I made previously, and I told you that we had made them many many times! I just wanted to show you one of the other forms they can take, this time in a sparkly and crunchier form. Well, the middles of the cookies are still chewy, but the coarse sugar coating gives them a super crunchy and sweet outer layer. They are also smaller, nearly bite-sized, so you can justify eating more of them! My mom made these ones, and she used the same recipe as I did before, but she made the balls smaller (about 1/2 – 3/4 inch sized), rolled them in coarse sugar (actually, large clear sugar sprinkles) and stuck a piece of candied ginger on top. Because they are smaller, you can bake them for a minute or two less than described previously (so, only about 8 minutes). These cookies looked really lovely on our holiday platters!

I hope that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, that everyone has a joyful New Years. Be safe, happy, and resolve to be thoughtful to yourself and others this year. Above all else, be celebratory, because why not?

Sweet and Spicy

Looking for a last-minute Christmas cookie? These Ginger Crinkle Cookies are for you! They are fast and easy to make, and fill your house with the scents of the season as they bake. Time your baking right so that you take them out of the oven just before your guests arrive, and you won’t need to do anything else to get them in the holiday spirit. I’ve made these cookies three times in the last couple weeks, because they are so tasty and have been gobbled up in no time flat!

Thanks to the applesauce in the batter, these cookies are soft and chewy in the center, with crisp crunchy edges – perfect for all cookie lovers. The fresh ginger gives them a nice spicy kick, and sets these cookies apart from more traditional gingerbread. Drizzled with a sweetly spiced Lemon Icing, they carry quite a citrus zing!

Ginger Crinkle Cookie Ingredients:

3/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup molasses
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat Earth Balance with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in applesauce and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Put the extra 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl, and roll your dough balls in the sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Makes 48 cookies.

When cookies are cool, fill a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip with Lemon Icing. Pipe icing onto cookies in a zig zag pattern. Or, thin icing with additional lemon juice to make icing of drizzling consistency; use fork tines to drizzle icing over cookies.

Lemon Icing Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1-3 Tblsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Add more lemon juice as necessary to make icing of piping consistency.


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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

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