Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Cookies

I was leafing through a Martha Stewart magazine in the copy room at work and on the last page was the Cookie of the Month: Cinnamon Swirl. They looked so enticing, with nuts and cinnamon and brown sugar swirled with an orange butter cookie, that I tore out the page and stuck it in my pocket. It looked easy enough to veganize, and they're just so cute! I've been biding my time waiting for an opportunity to spring these beauties on the world, but with the price of Earth Balance these days I didn't want to waste them on just any old day. Thus, I made them for the Easter Potluck.

Honestly, they weren't what I was expecting. For one thing, I got about 4 dozen cookies out of half of a recipe that was supposed to make 5 1/2 dozen. I'm very glad I halved it. Second, I was expecting a more tender cookie, where these were actually very crisp and crunchy. Despite that, they grew on me, and I was sad when we ran out. They're definitely a great dipping cooking for tea or cocoa. One change I would make in the original recipe is that I'd add 1/2-1 tsp of vanilla extract to the dough. It only called for orange zest, and I think it really needed the vanilla. A little almond extract might be good too. Ooo.. or hazelnut and use hazelnuts in the filling... Now the wheels are turning. Needless to say, there are many possible variations to the cookie, but the original was pretty good too.

I forgot to actually take a picture of these... so I stole someone else's picture that they took all nestled in next to their white chocolate macadamia friends.

Cinnamon Swirl Cookies
(this is the halved recipe!! I mean, do you really want 8 dozen cookies??)
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup plain soy yogurt

2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Cream together the margarine, sugar and orange zest. Add the yogurt (and vanilla here if you're using some) and mix until thoroughly combined.

2. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until a dough ball is formed.

3. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

** Time passes **

4. In a small bowl (or as I used, your food processor) combine the canola oil, nuts, sugar, and cinnamon.

5. Roll out the cookie dough into a 10 by 12 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the dough, and roll the dough up, starting with the long side (jelly roll style. you want a long thin log, not a short fat one).

6. Wrap the dough log in plastic wrap again, then put it in the fridge for at least one hour to firm it back up again.

7. Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the log into 1/4 inch slices and gently place the cookies on a cookie sheet. (The roll doesn't need to be stuck together exceptionally well as they will get bigger and the sugar will glue it all together once it's baked) Bake for 15-19 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the sheets until you're able to handle them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

Vegan white chocolate is not easy to find. It seems that white = milk to chocolate makers, so white chocolate, which is actually considered chocolate since it doesn't have the cocoa solids just the cocoa butter, generally has dairy in it. Fortunately our Kosher friends have resolved this problem by making dairy free white chocolate chips! I really like the Kosher section of the grocery store for a lot of things that are hard to find dairy-free, like bread crumbs, and things that are gelatin free, like jello-style fruit flavored gelatin-esque "food" (is that food really?). Buyer beware, however... not all "white chocolate" chips are created alike. Some white chips are just "decorator chips" and do not include any cocoa butter at all!!

Tangent aside... we found vegan white chocolate chips, with some pretty pastel white chocolate chips mixed in, at the kosher section of the grocery store and had to make white chocolate macadamia nuts. This is a super special treat both because of the dairy free white chocolate, and the fact that 1 cup of macadamia nuts cost nearly $4 on sale. That said, it is a fantastic, rich, decadent treat, and oh so delicious! This recipe is a mutant form of Betty Crocker's white chocolate macadamia cookie recipe.

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain or vanilla soy yogurt
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. With an electric mixer, cream together the margarine and shortening with the sugars. Add the yogurt and vanilla and mix until fluffy.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and then gradually add to the wet mix.

4. Stir in white chocolate chips and nuts.

5. Drop dough by tbsp 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light brown.

Pineapple Miso Marinade

Let me begin this entry by saying I don't have a pretty picture of this. You can barely even see any tofu for all the veggies, but it was delicious.

I invented this tofu marinade out of things I had around, and my desire to eat tofu in some sort of marinated fashion. This pineapple-miso marinade has some nice sweet and sour action going on. I marinated tofu cubes in it for 24 hrs, then I baked them in about a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or so until they were firm and chewy and golden, then I tossed them in a stir fry made with the leftover marinade, thickened with some cornstarch. Of course you could do whatever you like with the tofu... I won't stop you!

Pineapple Miso Marinade

1 cup hot water
2 tsp miso
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 gloves of garlic, pressed or grated
2 tsp sesame oil

Add the miso to the water and stir until dissolved. Add everything else, and mix it well, then add about 1 lbs of tofu to marinate. The longer the better!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I made 'em extra sloppy

And really, I'm an extra sloppy blogger, aren't I? Well, at least it won't be hard for me to improve.

This past weekend was the Vegan Post-Easter No-Egg-Straviganza Potluck at my house. The food and company were both fantastic. I should have taken more food pics, but I was so busy getting food ready on Saturday that I just didn't. I took off from cooking yesterday, and we had plenty of leftovers anyway, but now I'm back, chained to the stove.

Tonight for dinner I made a slightly altered version of Snobby Joes from Veganomicon, and sweet potato oven fries, and had leftover barley with grilled veggies that I made too much of on Saturday. Now that I've realized that it wasn't the lentils that made me sick when I used to eat lentils, but the fact that people always cook them with ONIONS and onions just don't work for me, I actually really like them. They're quick and easy to cook and make a good ground meat replacer among other things. Of course this recipe also called for onions, hence the alterations I made. I still think it's quite delicious in the end!

Lentil "Snobby" Joes - Megatarian Style
1 cup uncooked/dry green lentils
4 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 rib of celery, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp of salt, or to taste
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp prepared brown mustard
4-6 rolls -- I use whole wheat

1. Combine the lentils and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Drain off any excess water, set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the peppers, carrots, and celery and cook until they're soft; about 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, spices, lentils, and tomato things and stir to combine. I also add about 1 cup of water here if it seems too thick because I like my Joes saucy, not pasty, but you can make that decision for yourself.

4. Cook for another 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, add the syrup and mustard and mix well, then allow to sit for 10 minutes or so to let the flavors combine. Serve on rolls.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

... this is really more of a method than a recipe. I allow 1 potato per person. Wash, peel, and cut the sweet potato into chunky french fry size. Toss with a bit of olive oil and salt, lay on a greased baking sheet (or ungreased silpat) in one layer, and bake in a preheated 425 oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft inside and starting to brown outside. (Time will depend on how big you cut them)