Cookies

Never Stop Improving: Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies

We’re in the middle of the fourth nor’easter this month and I’m trapped at home, making it a perfect day for baking cookies. I haven’t made one of my favorites, Trail Mix Cookies, in a long time. As happens quite often in my kitchen, I was missing one ingredient — almond meal. Well, today’s a good day to improve on this recipe. In the original version I processed some of the oats into flour, then added in whole oats and almond meal. For the new, improved recipe I placed all of the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulsed it into a coarse flour. I also added some almond extract which added a subtle flavor that made a big difference. So you might wonder what’s the big improvement in these cookies. I can’t put my finger on it, but my mouth knows. They came out with a better texture than before — kind of chewy and crisp at the same time. I used a larger scoop than usual. Maybe I baked them a little longer. Maybe it’s the extra oats or how I processed them has something to do with it. What I can say for sure is that the method I used eliminated a few steps. I can also say that substituting more oats for the almond flour is certainly a cost saving. Whatever the reason, these not-so-new, yet improved, Trail Mix Cookies are definitely delicious! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Trail Mix Cookies

Wet Ingredients

1 tablespoon ground flax + 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or date syrup)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of one orange (optional)

Dry Ingredients
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, etc.)
6 tablespoons (total) of any type of seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flax

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place wet ingredients in blender container and process until smooth.

Place the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder in food processor. Pulse until the oats are processed into a coarse flour. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well until combined. Drop by rounded spoonful (I use a #14 ice cream scoop that measures about 2 Tablespoons) onto baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake cookies for 15 to 18 minutes until light golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cool. Wrap up and store leftovers on the counter or in the freezer, if desired. Makes about 18 cookies.

21 Mar 2018

Make It Merry: Stroopwafel

Stroopwafel

Stroopwafel

I suspect that most folks go to the liquor store just to “run in” and pick up a bottle or a six pack. Not me. There’s a local store that offers wine tastings on the weekends, so when I go I set aside an hour of my time and make it an event. On a recent shopping trip/wine tasting, I sampled a liqueur calledStroopwafel”. They even offered samples of the cookie that was the inspiration for the beverage. A stroopwafel (literally “syrup waffle”) is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle.It is popular in the Netherlands, where they were first made in the city of Gouda.The cookie is placed on top of a hot cup of coffee or tea so that the caramel softens. Before I stepped away from the tasting table I was already conjuring up this recipe in my head.(I also saw myself sitting by the fire warming my hands around a hot cup of spiked coffee and enjoying a crisp and gooey Stroopwafel.) I’ve made pizzelles before, so all I had to do was come up with a caramel filling. I recalled seeing a recipe for a vegan caramel sauce a few months ago that might work. (I can’t find the original source, so I apologize for not being able to give credit where credit is due.) The original recipe used a combination of oat milk and non-dairy yogurt, but I’ve had success using soy creamer. The recipe looks daunting, but it’s actually quite easy and fun to make. And when you’re done, you can put your feet up and enjoy a hot cup of coffee topped off with a warm Stroopwafel. To make it even merrier you might as well add a splash of the liqueur to your coffee. Make It Merry and make it a Vegi-curious day.

Stroopwafel

You will need a pizzelle maker to make the wafers and a candy thermometer for the caramel.

For the wafers:

1 cup all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon flax meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk, warmed to room temperature
1 tablespoon flax meal
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil

Whisk the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Place milk and flax meal in container of blender and let it sit a few minutes. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, coconut oil and process until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix them until the batter is totally smooth. The batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.

Heat a pizzelle maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Place 1 rounded teaspoon (I like to use a melon ball scoop) of batter on pizzelle maker, close cover and grill until golden (about 1-1/2 minutes). You want the wafers to be a little bigger than the size of your coffee cups. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the caramel:

¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of water
5 tablespoons of soy creamer
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract or butterscotch liqueur

Note: The caramel will bubble fiercely when the creamer is added to the sugar syrup, so you must use a pot deep enough to prevent the caramel from boiling over and be careful to not get burned.

Place the sugar and water into a deep pot and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts and turns a light amber color (355F). Remove from stove and add the creamer, stirring vigorously being careful not to get burned by the bubbling caramel. Let cool just enough to either spread or dip the wafers. The caramel can be re-warmed in the microwave (about 5 seconds at a time) if it gets to thick to spread.

Assembly:

Place a cooling rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet. Take one wafer and dip it into the warm caramel. Place another wafer on top and place on cooling rack. You could alternately use a small spatula to spread the caramel on the wafers. You might run out of caramel before using up all of the pizzelle. You should get about 16 Stroopwafels.

02 Dec 2016

Hey, Who Sat on My Waffles?

 Pumpkin Pizzelle“Hey, who sat on my waffles?”  You might ask yourself this if you never had the pleasure of eating Pizzelle Cookies. Pizzelles are traditional Italian waffle cookies made with eggs, flour, sugar and butter. Thin, slightly sweet and crisp. Without all that butter, sugar and fat from eggs, I thought it would be impossible to make a plant-based version of these little delights that would be crisp and, as equally important, be able to release themselves from the intricate surface of the pizzelle maker. You see, a pizzelle maker is similar to a waffle iron, except that it presses the batter very thinly. Here’s what mine looks like:

Prego-Villaware-3600-NS-Pizzelle-Maker-Cookie-Iron-Baker-Machine

Without all that butter in the batter, I was a little skeptical that I could make a healthy version. I decided to use my recipe for pumpkin pancakes as a starting point. After all, pancakes are close to waffles and pizzelles are waffle-like, so what the heck? I eliminated the baking powder and baking soda, used brown instead of white sugar and added a little more coconut oil. I was happily surprised that the pizzelles released effortlessly. I was even happier when I bit into one and felt that crisp texture that makes a pizzelle so different than any other cookie. If you’re really quick, you can wrap the warm pizzelle around a cone-shaped object to make ice cream cones . . . or around a cylinder to make cannoli shells or . . .  pressed into a small ramekin to make a vessel for mousse, ice cream or any other spoon-able dessert. Straight off the press, pizzelles add a nice touch to a cup of coffee or tea, a shot of espresso, a steaming hot soy latte, or even a dish of vegan ice cream. Bene! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Pumpkin Pizzelle

makes about 30 pizzelle

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tablespoons flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup almond milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract (optional)

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together vigorously the almond milk and apple cider vinegar until the mixture is a little frothy. Mix in the coconut oil, the pumpkin.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them until the batter is totally smooth.

Heat a pizzelle maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Place 1 tablespoon of batter on pizzelle maker, close cover and grill until golden (about 1-1/2 minutes).

 

 

 

16 Sep 2015

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