Italian Pepper Biscuits

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Week Two: International Week

According to the 2000 census, little old Rhode Island is the US state with the largest population of Italian-Americans (measured by percentage, not raw numbers): fully 19% of Rhode Islanders have Italian ancestry. Although I am 0% Italian on either side, I benefited from my Italian neighbors in a big way: the food. Yeah, yeah, sounds cliche and reductive, but it’s true; RI is chock-full of Italian bakeries and restaurants. From zeppoles on St. Joseph’s Day to iced anise cookies on Easter, even my decidedly non-Italian family enjoys — and bakes — Italian treats on the regular.

For the last day of international week, I’m departing from my British Isles theme and sharing a simple Italian treat: pepper biscuits, or biscotti di pepe. These savory treats pack a little kick thanks to black pepper, and they’re a lovely snack alongside a glass of wine or with your antipasto platter. Funnily, I can’t recall a single exact instance of eating these guys, but they’re familiar to me nonetheless; I think they’re sort of ubiquitous at Italian bakeries and on biscuit trays. And they’re naturally vegan (except for a pesky occasional egg wash).

Italian pepper biscuits

For my biscuits, I used the recipe here, because why reinvent the wheel with a time-honored classic? I did have a spectacular fail when adding the liquid to the flour mixture: I followed the ingredients, which had me mix everything on the countertop rather than in a bowl, but I didn’t make a large enough well for the yeast/water mixture and it went spilling all over the place. I also did not find this to be a particular stiff dough as the recipe suggests; in fact, it was remarkably wet and pliant. I added a little extra flour to compensate, but I’m not sure what happened there — I think it calls for too much oil. I also forgot to give them a second rise. So really, I massacred this recipe. But they still came out nice and peppery, with a soft chew and a lovely crumb.

Next time, I think I’d add fennel seeds for a little more complex flavor; many other recipes call for them. I might also try a non-yeasted recipe — they were breadier than I remember, without much crunch. And next time, I think I’ll make them alongside a batch of Italian wine biscuits, a slightly sweet, lightly purple hued biscuit that’s a joy to eat.

Welsh Cakes — Vegan Welsh Griddle Cakes

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Week Two: International Week

After featuring an Irish recipe on Monday and an English recipe on Tuesday, I figured it was incumbent upon me to hit all the nations of the British Isles. Today we go to Wales for a disarmingly simple treat: Welsh cakes. Traditionally baked on a cast-iron griddle over a fire, these subtly sweet biscuits typically feature currants. Given my lack of an open flame (well, other than my living room fireplace!) and dislike for raisins, I opted for dried apricot-filled cakes baked on the stove in a cast-iron pan. Close enough? Close enough.

Vegan Traditional Welsh Cakes // govegga.com

Many traditional recipes also use a smidge of mixed spice, a spice blend not too common in the United States. Since the amount of spice in these recipes is so small (1/4 – 1/2 tsp), I opted instead to use a dash of a few spices. If you’re the type of person who panics when you see “a dash” or “a pinch” in a recipe, use a 1/8 teaspoon and fill it about halfway. If you don’t have all of these spices, again, no worries. Just use what you’ve got.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to Wales — it’s my last UK nation to visit, and trust me, it’s on my list! (Hello, have you seen how beautiful this country is?!) I’ll have to find some vegan Welsh cakes once I get there. In the meantime, here’s how to make vegan Welsh cakes at home.

Vegan Welsh Cakes

Makes 14-16 cakes

  • 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (measured loosely)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch each of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and mace
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 3 T vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used dried apricots, chopped small)
  • 1 Ener-G egg made according to package instructions, then whisked  with scant 1/4 C almond milk

Method

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your clean fingers, rub in the vegan butter and shortening to make a crumbly mixture.

Next, stir in the sugar and dried fruit, then add the egg and milk mixture. Combine to form a stiff dough, kneading with your hands if necessary. Tip onto a clean, floured surface and roll until about 1/4″ thick. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut out cakes that are about 3″ across.

Preheat a cast-iron pan on medium-low and add a small pat of butter. When melted, add 5-7 cakes (depending on the size of your pan) and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until golden-brown. Flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side. Make sure that your cast-iron pan doesn’t get too hot and be sure to adjust the temperature between batches. If the cakes cook too fast on the outside, the middle will still be doughy.

Best eaten piping hot off the pan, with butter and a little sugar drizzled on top.

Notes

  • I opted for a commercial egg replacer (Ener-G) in this recipe because it seemed like a flax egg would be too obtrusive. Feel free to give it a try, though!
  • I used a vegan butter and shortening blend because some Welsh cake recipes require both butter and lard, and I wanted to provide a few different types of fat. (I like Spectrum Naturals shortening.) You can use vegan butter only, if you’d like.
  • Don’t let my personal issue with raisins/currents prevent you from trying the more traditional dried fruit!

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Vegan Traditional Welsh Cakes // govegga.com

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

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Chewy Vegan Coconut Cookies

Let’s not talk about the fact that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, okay? Instead, let’s talk about chewy, melt-in-your-mouth rich vegan coconut cookies. The kind of cookies you could bring to a gathering of even the staunchest omnivores and feel good about. The kind of cookies that you just want to keep on eating and eating and eating, even when your stomach groans in protest.

I’ve made these cookies three times in the past few weeks, twice to share at events, and they haven’t let me down. I’ve basically veganized this recipe, toned down the fat and sugar just a bit, and tweaked a few other things to my taste. I highly recommend using shredded (not flaked!) coconut — it seems to melt into the cookies, providing them with coconutty goodness, without those noticeable flaky bits that might distract from your eating pleasure. (I buy it at Wegmans, but Amazon also carries shredded coconut from Bob’s Red Mill.) Adding the coconut early on helps it soften up and become infused with the creamed sugar and butter. The result is a true delight.

chewy vegan coconut cookies

 

Almost as good as the final product? The fact that this recipe is so, so easy — you can make it in a single bowl, plus a small one for mixing up your flax egg. I use my KitchenAid stand mixer, but a hand mixer or even good old-fashioned elbow grease will do the trick.

If you’re feeling decadent, I bet these would be amazing drizzled with chocolate… but I’ve been too impatient to try that!

Chewy Coconut Cookies
Makes ~18 cookies

  • 6 T Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T warm water)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and have two cookie sheets ready to go. (You can line them with parchment paper if you’d like; it’s not necessary, but if your sheets are finicky, feel free to try it.)

First, make the flax egg by whisking the ground flax with the water until combined. Set aside.

In your stand mixer (or using a hand mixer or your own brute strength), cream together the Earth Balance, sugars, and vanilla until well combined; it should take two to three minutes. Pour in the flax egg and mix for another 15 seconds or so.  Add the shredded coconut and mix on low until it’s folded in to the creamed butter and sugar.

With the stand mixer (if using) off, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. It should take just a minute.

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto your cookie sheet, leaving about 2″ between each cookie. Press down slightly. Bake for 10 minutes, and let cool for another 5 before removing from the cookie sheet.

Enjoy!

chewy vegan coconut cookies

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

A Better Batch Winner!

Hello, all! Just popping in to announce the winner of last week’s cookie giveaway. Thanks for all your comments, but alas — there can be only one. The winner of the box of cookies from A Better Batch is A.J., who said:

Mm the chocolate chip cookies look amazing! Great post!

A.J., I’ll be emailing you shortly to get your mailing address.

Thanks for entering, everyone!

Review, Interview, and Giveaway: A Better Batch

Picture this: You’re sitting in a conference room after a daily hour-long meeting ends, catching up on a few emails and chatting with a couple coworkers. In walks another coworker, Sarah.

“Hey, do you guys want a brownie?” Sarah asks.

Something to note about Sarah: She and her husband Hanes run a vegan baking company.

With that in mind, is your answer going to be anything but a resounding YES? I think not.

You proceed to try the fudgiest, chewiest brownie you’ve had in ages. You tell Sarah how amazing it is.

“Oh, yeah? This was Hanes’ first attempt at a brownie!” she says. “Thanks so much for the feedback! We’re hoping to add it to the line soon.”

Jaw. Drop.

~~~

One of the little perks of my job is getting to meet people like Sarah and Hanes, entrepreneurs who offer quality cruelty-free products to the world. Their company, A Better Batch, sells ready-to-bake vegan cookie dough in three delectable flavors, and they occasionally have fully baked products for sale at events like vegfests. If you’re a VegNews reader, you might’ve seen A Better Batch reviewed in the “Cookie Dough Taste Test” in the April 2016 issue! (Read on for a chance to try them yourself!)

A Better Batch -- Photo by Rebekah Collinsworth

Although A Better Batch is based in Maryland, their cookies are available to anyone in the United States thanks to their unique business model. ABB sends you frozen cookie dough that you can bake in your own kitchen. By shipping the dough quickly and packaging it with dry ice, Hanes and Sarah make sure that it will arrive still frozen and ready to bake.

Right now, ABB offers three flavors: mocha oatmeal, lemon poppy seed, and classic chocolate chip. I can say with no reservations that their Lemon Poppy Seed cookies are the best I’ve ever tasted. Bursting with bright lemon flavor, they’re absolutely fabulous. Hanes and Sarah have managed to distill this flavor combination into a perfectly chewy, moist cookie that’s not to be missed. Mocha oatmeal is probably my second favorite — it’s another beautiful cookie, bursting with chocolatey goodness. Chocolate chip comes last, but not because of any defect — it’s a darn good classic cookie that anyone would enjoy.

A Better Batch -- Photo by Rebekah Collinsworth

But good-tasting cookies aren’t all that ABB offers. What sets A Better Batch apart from its competition is Hanes’ and Sarah’s dedication to providing the best possible products for people, the animals, and the environment. Here’s how:

  • Hanes and Sarah carefully source their ingredients, using fair-trade and organic options whenever possible. And by virtue of being vegan, these cookies are free of cholesterol.
  • Everything is vegan — no animals harmed here!
  • The cookies are shipped in biodegradable packaging instead of styrofoam containers, which we all know are horrible for the planet. And the individual wrappers are recyclable.

I’ve had the pleasure of trying ABB’s cookies a few times, but I wanted to know a little more about their business. So I reached out to Hanes, and he graciously answered all my questions and sent me a box of cookies to sample. Read on for his thoughts!

A Better Batch -- Photo by Rebekah Collinsworth

 

~~~

Kelly: Let me start by saying how much I LOVE your lemon poppy seed cookies — they’re the best! Right now, you only have them and two other flavors available (chocolate chip and mocha oatmeal). I like that you have a few flavors that you do really, really well, but are you planning to expand your products in the future?  
Hanes: I’m glad to hear you love the Lemon Poppy Seed cookies! Yes, we do have plans to add more flavors and possibly different products such as brownies in the future. In fact, we just re-released a Peanut Butter cookie that we featured back in August for a limited time; it was a crowd favorite, so we brought it back!

K: Why vegan cookies? How did you get started?
H: My passion for baking started when I was growing up. I loved helping my Mom in the kitchen, and this carried over into adulthood. On the weekends I would get in the kitchen and make biscuits, cakes, cookies, pancakes etc. from scratch. I enjoyed it and found it to be a great creative outlet for me. About 9 years ago, my wife stumbled upon some information online about factory farms and how we treat animals in the current agricultural system. It was pretty shocking and we were completely ignorant to it before that. She started reading more about the subject and sharing a lot of the practices and statistics with me. Over the following few years we both continued to decrease our consumption of animal products and eventually went vegan.

This created a new challenge for me: how do I continue to bake and enjoy a lot of the comfort foods that I love making so much without animal products like butter and eggs? I got in the kitchen and got to work. I tried lots and lots of different recipes and found that I love vegan baking! I find that the vegan baked goods taste even better than the traditional counterparts, and they’re certainly better for animals, the environment, and even our health. I received rave reviews for my vegan cookies. They were being requested anytime we would go to friends’ houses or events. A couple of years ago, I started A Better Batch to make them available to people seeking amazing plant-based desserts everywhere.

K: What makes your batches better, i.e., what distinguishes your cookies from similar brands? 
H: At A Better Batch, we work hard to make sure that our cookies are the best vegan cookies on the market — not only in flavor but also in all aspects of our decision making. We are constantly seeking the best ingredients, which to us means using organic, GMO-free, and socially responsible products. For example, the coffee we use in our Mocha Oatmeal flavor is made by Brewing Good Coffee Company which is organic, Rainforest Alliance certified, and UTZ certified (a sustainable farming certification that covers farming practices, environmental impact, and social and living conditions). Also, their company donates a portion of proceeds to animal charities each month — how great is that! We refuse to use palm oil because of the devastating impact its production has on orangutan habitat. Our sugar, vanilla, and salt are all fair trade. Our boxes are made of 100% recycled material, and we don’t use Styrofoam in our shipping boxes; instead, we use an eco-friendly, biodegradable insulation. We take the taste of our cookies seriously, and we also take caring for the environment and animals seriously.

K: What’s the process like for developing new products? How long does it take?
H: It usually starts with me wanting a particular flavor and then I try and think about how that would look. Then I get in the kitchen and try to make it happen, which really is the fun part, as I get to eat lots and lots of test cookies. Sometimes it’s a very quick process, as with my Peanut Butter cookies (it was the very first attempt that I ended up going with!). Other times, it takes much longer. I’m currently working on a refrigerated cookie dough that you could either just eat with a spoon or bake; it has taken over 3 dozen attempts so far.

K: If you could select any flavor cookie to magically have developed and ready for production, what would it be? 
H: Salted Caramel! This is a cookie I have worked on before and plan to return to. It has proven tricky. I would like a nice soft sugar cookie that has little bites of gooey caramel with a slight sprinkling of sea salt on top to bring it all home. I’m a huge huge caramel fan!

K: I noticed that all your packaging is eco-friendly — how is that tied to your business as a whole? Does that ethic inform everything you do?
H: We want to be the best vegan goodie, not only in flavor and quality, but also in all the little decisions in between such as the packaging.  It’s important for us to make our products the very best way we can and that includes taking our impact on the environment into consideration.

K: Are you a full-time cookie baker, or do you have a(nother) day job?
H: I work during the week as an accountant. A Better Batch is my passion project, which is what I work on in the evenings and on the weekend. It does create a busy schedule sometimes, but the cookie business doesn’t really feel like work!

~~~

I really appreciate how much thought Hanes put into his answers — and I’m dreaming of the day those salted caramel cookies become a reality! (Not to mention those brownies I tried a few months ago.)

Happily, A Better Batch generously offered to share the vegan goodness with one reader. Just visit the ABB website and let me know in a comment which flavor you want to try! One lucky winner will receive a box of all three flavors (worth about $58 including shipping). Sorry, my international friends — U.S. readers only this time! I’ll randomly select a winner at 5:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

If you don’t win but want to try these yummy cookies anyway, just sign up for the ABB newsletter to receive 15% off your first order. You can also check out ABB on Facebook and Twitter.

~~~

*Disclaimer: After tasting their cookies on a few occasions throughout the past year, I reached out to A Better Batch and asked if they’d like to be profiled here. Although they did provide me with some cookies to taste for this post, all opinions are 100% my own. I enjoy supporting local, vegan-owned businesses and will never promote a company I don’t believe in just for the sake of some free samples.

All photos in this post courtesy Rebekah Collinsworth.

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles

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Day 11: Focus on a nutrient

Today’s prompt was my theme for last year’s VeganMoFo! I focused on the nutrients that omnivores enjoy grilling us vegans about, like protein, calcium, and iron. I’ve got a lot of great, nutrient-rich recipes in that tag, so you should check ’em out!

So given my near-expertise (heh) in matters of vegan nutrition, would it surprise you that I’m sharing a cookie recipe today? It shouldn’t! As I learned last year when I investigated protein and where to get it, my conclusion was that protein is in lots of unexpected places. Like cookies. Especially cookies made with chickpeas and tahini! Enter these dreamy soft-batch Tahini Snickerdoodles. With 4 grams of protein per cookie, they’re a modest but not insubstantial source of natural protein. Each cookie also contains 2 grams of fiber, and since the RDV is 15 grams, you can fulfill nearly 1/3 your daily requirement just by eating two cookies! :D

If you’re worried about putting chickpeas in cookies, here’s what Steven said when I told him about this unexpected ingredient: “Really?! Holy sh*t! You can’t taste it at all!” And Steven is quite discriminating when it comes to “healthy” ingredients in desserts.

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles
Makes 16 cookies

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, shelled/skinned if you’re so inclined (save the liquid!)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 aquafaba (chickpea liquid), whisked briskly for 30 seconds or shaken in an airtight jar for 10 seconds
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 T melted coconut oil
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For rolling

  • 1 1/2 T white or turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 T sesame seeds, white or black

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Prepare a cookie pan by oiling it or lining it with parchment paper.

Using a blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, aquafaba, liquid sweetener, coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Blend for about 30 seconds or until everything is smooth.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (excluding the rolling sugar) to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the wet ingredients and use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to mix. The dough will be very thick, so use that elbow grease to get it all incorporated.

Next, stir the rolling sugar mixture together in a small bowl. Use your hands to roll 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon balls of dough, then roll them in the sugar. Flatten them slightly and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes and allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Notes

  • I’ve become a chickpea-skinning convert. It makes hummus SO much creamier, since the chickpeas are more easily blended without those pesky skins. So now I always skin my chickpeas. It takes a few extra minutes, but it’s an oddly satisfying feeling to have those little skins slip right off in your fingers.
  • Aquafaba! Have you tried it? It’s probably not strictly necessary in this recipe, but it provides a great texture.
  • These are not particularly sweet cookies, so if you have a bigger sweet tooth than I do, add a few tablespoons more brown sugar.

Tahini-Maple Cookies (and, I’m shaving my head!)

While scrolling through my recent blog posts a few days ago, I realized with not a small amount of shock that I haven’t shared a dessert recipe in quite a while. What’s more, my recipe page has a quickly growing collection of savory foods. Time to get back to the sweet stuff starting today, with a cookie recipe I really love. Tahini-Maple Cookies But first, a request. This Saturday, I’m shaving my head. I’m doing it as a fundraiser for children’s cancer research, as part of a St. Baldrick’s event in Baltimore. As someone whose naturally curly hair has elicited hundreds of compliments throughout my life, I’m not sure what it’ll be like to get rid of one of my most defining physical characteristics. But it’s so, so worth it. My extended family has been hit by childhood cancer more than once, and the effects are — needless to say — brutal. So I’m shaving my head in memory of the kids who didn’t have a choice about going bald, and to help fund crucial research. Before looking into St. Baldrick’s, I had no idea that cancer affects children and adults very differently, and that research and treatments are not the same for both groups. Yet, tragically, childhood cancer research is appallingly underfunded. I want to help. I’ve already surpassed my $350 fundraising goal thanks to my wonderfully generous friends, coworkers, and family. And now I’m thinking, maybe I can double it! Even a $5 donation will help. If you can spare it, please donate to my page. Thank you! <3 Okay, request over!

Now to the cookies. I dreamed up these tahini-maple cookies while trying to fall asleep a few nights ago. I wasn’t sure how well the tahini flavor would play in a dessert. Would it be overpowering? Not at all noticeable? Unpleasant?! I shouldn’t have worried: it’s both pronounced and pleasant, any hint of a bitter edge tempered by the caramel-y maple syrup. Tahini lends such a nuanced flavor, deeper than that of other nut butters. These are great grown-up cookies indeed, perfect for a special occasion. (Because, let’s be real, tahini and pure maple syrup aren’t exactly cheap!) They’re also lovely dipped in your afternoon coffee. If you’re feeling especially decadent, go ahead and add some chocolate chips. I prefer them without the chocolate (gasp), but the combination is great. Tahini-Maple Cookies Tahini-Maple Cookies Makes a baker’s doze (13)

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the tahini, maple syrup, oil, 1 tablespoon almond milk, and the vanilla extract. Once the wet ingredients are combined, sift in the dry ingredients (except for the sesame seeds). Using a plastic spatula or wooden spoon, stir to combine all the ingredients. If the dough is still crumbly (i.e. if it doesn’t stick together in a single ball), add the additional tablespoon of almond milk. Fold in the sesame seeds (and chocolate chips, if you’re using them). Once the dough is combined, scoop heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 11 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.

~~~

Note: If you want a lower-fat option, you can replace the oil with 1/4 cup applesauce. Do not add any almond milk until you’ve combined all the other ingredients; the dough will be wetter and might not need it. Bake for 15 minutes instead of 11. These cookies will be puffier and a bit less rich, but still yummy!

Pineapple-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

During a season where pumpkin unquestionably reigns as the queen of all flavors, I’m bucking the trend and turning my attention to another p-fruit: pineapple! Not because of any contrarian desire, however; I just happened to have an open can of crushed pineapple I needed to use. I contemplated pancakes, muffins, quick bread… but they all seemed too predictable. (Well, I suppose pineapple pancakes aren’t predictable… I was just too lazy to make them!) Instead: cookies! Soft, subtly sweet pineapple-coconut oatmeal cookies.

I’m sure I’ve had pineapple cookies at some point, but I couldn’t tell you when. My most recent pineapple memories are of the summer before this past one, when my sister had a small (I believe the word is “intimate” in wedding parlance) wedding on Maui. Her husband’s family vacations at a resort there every summer, and her grandfather-in-law was incredibly gracious and generous, booking rooms for my immediate family to stay so we could make it to the wedding. Every morning, the hotel staff had Pineapple Time, where they’d chop up fresh, sweet pineapple and teach eager tourists something about Hawaiian culture. I can’t think of a better way to start a warm summer day than on the beach with freshly cut pineapple—I feel so relaxed just thinking about it! That was a magical week, easily the most laid-back vacation I’ve ever taken. My travels are usually much more action-packed, but I wholly enjoyed the chance to lay back, relax, and take in the scenery.

I wholly enjoyed these cookies, too. Pineapple and coconut are always a winning pair, and in tandem they offer a refreshing spin on the traditional oatmeal cookie. Like most of my baked goods, these are relatively low in sugar so that I can delude myself into thinking they’re okay to eat for breakfast. ;) If you prefer a sweeter, more dessert-like cookie, feel free to use all brown sugar instead of coconut sugar.

Pineapple-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Pineapple-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 15 cookies

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, with most of the juice strained out (measure after straining)
  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional but recommended)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked dried coconut

Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, cream together the coconut oil, sugar(s), and vanilla extract. (If you’re mixing by hand, you might want to heat the coconut oil just a little bit to soften it—solid coconut oil can be stubborn to work with!) Once the mixture is creamed and a bit fluffy, add the flax and pineapple and continue mixing.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Mix until well combined, then fold in the rolled oats and dried coconut.

Place the dough in the refrigerator and set the oven to 350˚. Prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or spraying it with non-stick cooking spray (coconut oil works great here!).

Once the oven is heated, remove the dough from the refrigerator and use your hands to scoop it into balls; they should have about two tablespoons of dough. Flatten slightly in your hands and placed on the baking pan about 3/4″ apart. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until they begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before eating.

~~~

What’s your favorite pineapple recipe?

Blueberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Welcome to VeganMoFo 2013! This year, I’m focusing on seasonal fruits–basically, any fruit that’s in season in Maryland in September. My first recipe is a bit of a cheat, though. I used dried wild blueberries instead of fresh, but you can substitute fresh wild blueberries if you like.

It’s amusing that slapping the word “breakfast” in front of any kind of baked good automatically lends it an air of healthiness. A cake is usually a sugary treat one consumes at a celebration, but call it a “breakfast cake” and you’ve got the green light to go to town on it at 10:00 in the morning.

Same thing goes for these cookies. A big ol’ scoop of rolled oats, a couple tablespoons of flax, and blueberries + banana make these puffy cookies A-okay for a quick on-the-go breakfast option.

Stacked white plates with two big, puffy, blueberry-studded oatmeal cookies.

With extra dried blueberries on the side.

So on this first day of VeganMoFo 2013, why don’t you bake up a big ol’ batch of oatmeal cookies, brew a pot of coffee, and call it breakfast? It’s Sunday. You deserve it.

Blueberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Makes 13

  • 2 T ground flaxseed + 6 TB warm water
  • 1 C unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • Scant ½ t salt
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1 medium-sized very ripe banana
  • 2 T coconut oil, softened or melted
  • ½ C dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ C nondairy milk of choice
  • 1 ½ C rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • Heaping ⅓ C dried wild blueberries
  • ⅓ C walnut pieces (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside. (You could also use parchment paper.)

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the ground flax and warm water and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except the oats, blueberries, and nuts.

Add the banana to the bowl with the flax mixture and mash it well. The flax and banana mixture should be thick and goopy.  Add the oil, sugar, and milk to the wet mixture and stir well to combine.

Make a well in the bowl with the dry ingredients and add the wet to the dry. Stir to combine, then fold in the oats, blueberries, and walnuts if you’re using them. The dough should be thick and a little sticky. Drop heaping, rounded spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven.

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Blueberry oatmeal breakfast cookies // vegan //govegga.com

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Debate Distraction: Cookie Bites

Orange rectangle with the white fist-shaped Vegan MoFo logo and the text "Vegan Month of Food 2012."

Confession: I have a difficult time watching the presidential debates. The contention and discord make me a little anxious; I have to distract myself and focus some of my attention elsewhere. And how better to distract myself than by baking? During the three presidential and one vice-presidential debates over the last month or so, I’ve baked up lots and lots of delicious sweet treats. Last night, I finally made a recipe that I’ve been drooling over since it showed up on my feed: cookie bites. Chewy, slightly underbaked pillows of chocolate-chip studded cookie goodness? Count me in. I couldn’t find any adorable autumn sprinkles like those used in the original recipe, but S picked up some Halloween-themed sprinkles for me last week, and they were just as good.

Shot of the front of a rectangular platter with round cookie bite balls surrounded by sprinkles shaped like ghosts, pumpkins, and bats.

Doughy bites!

My quick photo doesn’t quite do these treats justice, but you get the idea. The recipe allegedly yields twelve bits, but I must’ve made mine a bit bigger because I only got ten. No matter! They were still perfectly yummy. I used whole-wheat pastry flour instead of the straight whole-wheat flour called for, and I worried that S would find them grainy. Nope! I heard many sounds of gastronomical enjoyment as he munched his way through a few bites. Success!

What recipe have you been meaning to make for a while?