Thursday, August 18, 2011

Recent Recipes: Cookies, cupcakes and more

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
These are fantastic! I didn't have tapioca flour, so I substituted cornstarch and it turned out fine. This makes 16 good sized cookies. They taste like typical chocolate chip cookies, a little crispy on the outside but chewy overall. Yum!

½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup almond or nondairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegan chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven 350° F. Lightly grease two large cookie sheets.

2. Combine sugars, oil, nondairy milk, and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, about 2 minutes, until it looks like smooth caramel. There’s a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collides, so blend well. Mix in vanilla.

3. Add 1 cup flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Mix well. Mix in rest of flour. Fold in chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stiff.

4. For 3-inch cookies, roll dough into balls the size of ping pong balls. Flatten to about 2 ½ inches on a cookie sheet. They will spread a little when baked. Then bake for about 8 minutes—no more than 9—until a bit brown around the edges. Bake 8 cookies at a time. (Don’t double up the cookie sheets in the oven.) Let cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I used creamy instead of crunchy PB and didn't frost them. They were fantastic fresh, but got dry after the first day. So moral of the story: eat them all really fast...shouldn't be a problem because they're delicious. I can't find the link to the recipe online, and don't have the cookbook with me, but let me know if you want the recipe. I'll be happy to add it, but really you should just order this book. There are tons of great looking cupcake recipes!

Chickpea Fritters
These were a hit with everyone. Rich ate a few, Lucy had one and I liked them too. They need some sort of sauce for dipping, maybe an herb mayo or garlic aioli....or just plain ketchup. Whatever you like!
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (two 15 oz. cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 t. minced rosemary leaves
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • oil for shallow frying
  • sea salt for finishing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and buzz until you have a fairly uniform mixture, but before it is completely pureed. We want some texture left. You should be able to form it into a ball that holds its shape. It should be neither crumbly nor a batter. Add liquid or breadcrumbs as necessary to find the right moisture level. If you don't mind tasting raw egg, taste a bit and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  2. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over a medium-high flame. Take a golf-ball sized piece of dough, press it in your hands into a flattened 3-inch patty and place in the skillet. Repeat with as many as will fit comfortably. Fry on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Remove to paper towels and finish with a little bit of sea salt.
Vegan (and soy free) Macaroni and "Cheese"
Rich liked this. I was shocked and happy!! It doesn't exactly taste like cheese, but it is waaaaaay better for you and actually tastes good and is rich and creamy. It uses nutritional yeast, which not only tastes yummy but is also very rich in B vitamins.

1/2 cup flour
1 cup nutritional yeast
3/4-1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk like almond, rice, hemp, coconut
3 Tablespoons vegan butter spread, such as Earth Balance (check to make sure it is the soy-free kind if you're dealing with a soy allergy)
12 oz. pasta of choice (we used bowties)

Cook your pasta in salted water until it’s al dente, then drain. In your large pasta pot, whisk together all remaining ingredients. Turn the heat onto medium and whisk frequently to keep things smooth. When you have a thick sauce, toss the pasta back in, and use a large wooden spoon to fold it all together. When the pasta’s thoroughly coated and the sauce is the as thick as you like it, take the pot off the heat, and you’re done! Makes 4 to 6 servings. Easy Cheesy!

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

I loved this but Rich was not a fan at all. Apparently he doesn't like leeks and thinks he might like the dish if made without leeks, so I might try it again but leek-less. Don't let the name fool you, basically this is a veggie pot pie. I would double the biscuits next time. It is a thick and hearty stew that would be perfect on a cool night.

2 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, washed well and sliced thinly
1 small onion, cut into medium size dice
1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 (15 oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed (about 1/2 can)

3/4 cup plain soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening (I got this at Whole Foods)

PREHEAT THE oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, let cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain immediately so that they do not overcook. While they are boiling, you can prep the rest of the veggies and start preparing the biscuits -- the potatoes should definitely be done by the time you are.
Now prepare everything for the biscuits. You are not going to make them yet, but it's good to have everything ready when it comes time to top the stew. Add the vinegar to the soy milk in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium size mixing bowl.

Now leave that alone and start the stew:
Mix the cornstarch into the vegetable stock until dissolved.
Preheat an oven-safe skillet (if you don't have that, just transfer contents to casserole dish), preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute in the oil the leeks, onions, and carrots until very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Keep the heat moderate so they won't burn.
Add the garlic, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and salt, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked potatoes and frozen peas, then pour in the vegetable stock mixture. Raise the heat just a bit; it will take a few minutes but the liquid will start simmering. Once it does, lower the heat again. Let it simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, but no longer than that. If you need more time for the biscuits, then turn off the heat under the stew.

Back to the biscuits:
Add the shortening to the flour in small slivers and work it into the dough with a fork or with your fingers until large crumbs form. You don't want to cream it in; there should be clumps. Drizzle in the soy milk and mix with a fork until everything is moistened (some dry parts are okay).
Wash and dry your hands, then lightly flour them and get them dirty again. Gently knead the dough about ten times right in the bowl, just so that it is holding together and not very sticky. If it seems sticky, as in sticking to your fingers, then gently work in a little more flour. Set that aside and check on your stew.
The stew should be simmering and slightly thickened. Mix in the beans. Now, let's add the biscuits. Pull of chunks of dough that are about slightly larger than golf balls. Gently roll them into balls and flatten a bit; they do not have to be perfectly round. Add them to the top of the stew, placed an inch or so apart.
Transfer the whole megillah to the preheated oven. If you are worried about spillover, place on a rimmed baking sheet, but we've never had that problem. Bake for about 15 minutes. The biscuits should be just slightly browned and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and use a large serving spoon to place some of hte stew and a biscuit in each shallow, individual bowl. Sprinkle with a little chopped, fresh thyme.
Serve at last! Especially yummy when you break up your biscuit and mix it in a bit with your stew.


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