Treat Yourself to Vegan Maple Liqueur

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love maple syrup. Maple is one of my absolute favorite flavors; it balances an undeniable sweetness with a caramel-y complexity you don’t find in straight-up sugar. Which is why I was delighted when Steven gifted me a bottle of this maple liqueur last Christmas. (He knows me so well!) It’s handmade in Vermont, which — as far as I, a born and bred New Englander, am concerned — is the best place in the world for maple syrup. (Canada? Eh, where’s that?)

Maple liqueur // govegga.com

When I brought this bottle home, visions of complicated maple-y cocktails danced in my head… and then I tasted it, and since then, I’ve pretty much solely enjoyed it straight. Unlike some cheaper liqueurs, this is the real deal. Rather than employing artificial flavors to approximate maple, this beautiful beverage relies on pure maple syrup. It’s smooth, rich, and basically an ideal liqueur for a maple-lover. I treat it as a digestif, enjoying it after a meal, but its sweetness and lack of bitter herbs makes it more like a sweet dessert drink. And it looks so beautiful in these antique aperitif glasses we got from Steven’s mom.

Maple liqueur // govegga.com

Sometimes I’ll enjoy it over ice; the cold really brings out this liqueur’s flavor. And I’ve been known to add it to hot chocolate (see: here). But really, straight-up is where it’s at.

And that is why, on this first Friday of Vegan MoFo, I’m treating myself to a little maple tipple. Drink up!

How would you enjoy maple liqueur?

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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.

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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!