Monday, December 21, 2009

Thumbprint Cookies

I love these cookies. I have no idea why. I even used to eat the ones in the vending machine, at UP, probably with a Diet Pepsi. Classic meal, good grief.

Anyway, most important thing- get a good jam. No one likes crap jam.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon flax with 2 tablespoons water
1 cup WW pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Jelly- your choice...make it good!

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
2. Mix brown sugar, shortening, applesauce, vanilla and flax with water in medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt until dough holds together.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb deeply in center of each.
4. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Fill thumbprints with jelly. (Adapted from my really old Betty Crocker cookbook)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sugar Cookies- Day 6!

Of all the traditional Christmas cookies, this is the one I most remember. My granny makes excellent sugar cookies and her frosting is better than anyone’s. She claims it is nothing special and that she simply follows a recipe, but there is just something really tasty about it. Maybe it’s just because Granny made them.
In any case, I knew I had to include them in the 12 days...what’s Christmas without a plate of stars and bells, frosted in red and green?
Of course, Jena and Maddie immediately jumped on these cookies when I asked for their favs. These girls love anything sweet: doesn’t matter if it’s cookie dough, rice krispie treats or frosting- on top of cookie, cupcake, or in the can. We may or may not have once eaten our combined weights in cupcakes and frosting.
This dough was a little sticky, and frustrated me easily. So, I only made two Christmas trees and said “screw it” and rolled the rest into sugar cookie balls. It’s easy to get lazy when you’re making 12 cookies in 2 weeks...what was I thinking?

I totally just copied the recipe from Happy Herbivore (I love that site!) Only change: I used 1 tablespoon flax with 3 tablespoons of water instead of the ener-g-"egg"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Italian Wedding Cookies

Italian Wedding Cookies
or Mexican Wedding cookies. I have never seen either at a wedding, but I would totally eat them at one..maybe a wedding cookie cake...hmmm.
Mom suggested these a few days ago and since we are always on the same page, I already planned on making them.

Here they are!

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour flour
3/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Earth Balance
2 1/2 T agave syrup
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, ground almonds, confectioners' sugar and salt and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, cream together the margarine with the agave until fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, beating until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in several additions, beating until combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I totally cheated on that part.)
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two large baking sheets with parchment. Roll about 1 T. of the dough at a time into balls, placing each on the prepared baking sheets as you work. Bake until the edges just begin to brown, about 12-14 minutes. (Don't let them brown all over, as they will dry out very quickly!) Transfer the cookies to wire cooling racks to cool for about 15-20 minutes. Roll cookies in confectioners' sugar to coat and return to the wire cooling racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not sure that Chocolate Chip Cookies are very holiday-esque, but at least four people mentioned them. Then, when I asked my dad about his favorite cookie, he said this one. (I was beyond not surprised) My dad is a typical, sports watching, All-American guy and this is an All-American cookie. I was hesitant to add it to my twelve cookies, but when he told me he heard that chocolate chip cookies are the number one holiday cookie, I caved.
Since there are thousands of recipes, I knew I could modify and “healthify” this cookie no problem: so I did...somewhat.
I also added some warm spices to try to make it a little more Christmasy. If you are not vegan, you could add some colored mnms to these, but I don’t think I’m supposed to promote that on a vegan blog- keep your mouth shut.

Adapted from
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
vegan chocolate or carob chips - put in as many as you like
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon vanilla you can use a combo of regular and bourbon vanilla, like I did()
1/4 cup water


In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium size bowl mix vegan sugar applesauce and oil. Mix it well. Add the vanilla and then add the water. Mix it well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it. Add more chips if you need to. Spoon onto cookie sheets- you may need to spray them.

Bake 10 minutes, or until golden and soft.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pecan Sandies

Yesterday I asked Claire, “What’s your favorite holiday cookie?” In typical Claire fashion, she was unsure of the name, but went on to energetically descripe a pecan cookie dipped in powdered sugar. I am unsure if she actually means Italian Wedding Cookies (I will make those later in the week), but Pecan Sandies have powdered sugar too, so that’s what I made.
I don’t think I have ever made these before, but they came out great. I had to add more flour after the batter was complete- they seemed a little too wet. I think it’s because of the water to flax ration, which was added instead of eggs.
The crushed pecans and almond meal give this cookie an excellent texture. And the insane amount of sugar will have you smiling, and running to the gym.

Recipe adapted from
1 cup earth balance
1 cup canola oil
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons flax with 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
I cup almond meal (I found this at Trader Joes...just use another cup of flour if you're pulling your hair out searching)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped (very fine- almost crushed) pecans
1/2 cup raw sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, canola oil, 1 cup raw sugar and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the flax and water, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the pecans. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in remaining white sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven


I am posting day 2 and 3 tonight, due to my lack of post last night...I was too bust baking.

I know I say this with a lot of foods, but I used to hate snickerdoodles. What’s so special about a buttery cookie dipped in cinnamon and sugar? Um, hello...what’s NOT special about a buttery cookie dipped in cinnamon and sugar. I do not know what my problem was.
When I decided to make 12 Christmas cookies, I ran out of ideas fast. So, I enlisted the help of my lovely, and hungry, friends and family to pass along the names of their favorite holiday cookie. A few people ended up mentioning this one, but it was Nicole, who mentioned them first. Unfortunately, Nicole is in San Francisso, but hopefully these keep long enough for her to have some, or I may just have to make another batch for her.
They were easy enough to want to make again. There is nothing unique about this recipe, except for the Bourbon Vanilla I added! And unlike many other things I try to make, these are not healthy...okay the wheat flour is good, but that’s about it.
It’s Christmas time- who wants a healthy cookie?

Recipe adapted from
1/2 cup earth balance, softened
1/2 cup vegetable, non hydrogenated shortening
1 1/3 cups raw sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax w/ 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the flax and vanillas. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 Days of Christmas, desserts.

Peppermint Black bean brownies:
For the next twelve days, I will post a Christmas cookie recipe.
Although, tonight's recipe is not a cookie. It's a brownie. A brownie made with black beans. Stop making a face. I know black beans should be saved for an enchilada accoutrement, or perhaps a soup...I was skeptical too. But, my faithful reader(s)?, these brownies do not taste like black beans.
However, I will admit I am not completely satisfied with my results. I "stole" the recipe from Happy only amendment was the peppermint extract addition. (I added 1/2 tsp.) My brownies were not as thick as hers, even though I did them in the same size dish. I will try to make these again by adding some chocolate chips and maybe 1/4 cup more chocolate powder. try the recipe though- they look fab and look like they taste even better on the HH blog.
Come back tomorrow for another recipe. I am still toying with the next 11 recipes, so if you have suggestions, leave them here, or on my fb page and I will try to deliver.

(No recipe, click the HH link!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mushroom and sun-dried tomato risotto

I love risotto and I don't know why.
It's just rice and rice is boring. But risotto is's magical. Not really, but if you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you will know the episode I am referring to. If not, ask me and I will tell you, so you don't think I am crazy.

The problem with risotto is that it can be time consuming, boring if it's always cooked the same way and totally fattening (which is probably why it's good.) I've slimmed it down and dressed it up. Here's the result:

Mushroom and sun-dried tomato risotto
4 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons water
1 package crimini mushrooms
1/2 yellow onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup soy milk or soy cream
1 jar sun dried tomatoes- rinsed and drained (get rid of the excess oil!)

Add 1 tablespoon water to skillet, and stir in the onion. Cook until slightly soft. Add 1 more tablespoon of water and add rice, cook about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.
In a separate skillet, add last of water and cook mushrooms until hot. Slice sun dried tomatoes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and spices to risotto. Add milk, stir and keep warm. Risotto should be creamy and hot.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A+ Oatmeal raisin cookies

I love school. I love cooking. (I sound like I'm about ready to launch into "I like lamp", from Anchorman.) In any case, when I really, really love a class, I usually show my appreciation for a teacher by cooking something.
Monday night was the last meeting for my favorite grad school class this semester. I have a feeling it may end up being my favorite class in my grad school endeavors, but that has yet to be seen.
A few weeks ago, my professor mentioned that oatmeal raisin cookies are her favorite. I wanted to make her a little treat to show her how much I appreciate her class. It is rare to find a class/teacher as amazing as this one. I think you will agree that when a teacher (or anyone) is truly fabulous, he/she deserves to hear it. Those of you in EDC 171, who read the blog (shout out!) will agree, I hope.
Here is the recipe for these amazing cookies (I promise I am not giving them to her hoping she will give me an A.) Regardless, these cookies are an A+ recipe. I can't believe I didn't use any fat, oil, butter, etc. And the only sugar comes from fruits and maple syrup. You may not believe it until you try it, but please do. These cookies are soft and sweet and, if you're counting, have about 50-60 calories per serving.
I made a batch with raisins and one with chocolate chips (the cal count goes up if you're indulging in chocolate! But who cares?)
P.S. Check back tomorrow for some delish risotto.

1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons ground flax (I know it's a dry ingredient, but keep it with the wet!)
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup raisins and/or 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wet ingredients (not raisins). Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry ingredients. Mix until combined, do not over mix. Add raisins and/or other mix ins.

Spoon onto cookie sheet with spoon or cookie dough dropper (buy one of these!!!) Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Until soft, but firm in the middle. Makes between 24-30 cookies.
Give to a teacher, or eat them all yourself.