Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oat Crispies

This recipe is adapted from the Monster Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies in Big Vegan. It is not my style of cookie but my group of tasters seemed to really love them. They are very light, airy, crispy and sweet.  They would probably be a great cookie for people who are suspicious of vegetarian/vegan foods. The original recipe also included a cup of raisins and a half cup of chopped walnuts. I just kept it simple.

2 TB ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 to 1 cup chocolate chips

Get out your stand mixer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a couple of cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Beat together the flax seed and water. If you have a little pesonal or Bullet blender, use that and "whiz" for 30 seconds or so. If you don't have one, no worries. Just mix it up and let it sit for several minutes.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat the sugar, oil, vanilla and flax seed mixture until it's rather fluffy. Add the flour and mix. Add the oats and mix. Incorporate the chocolate chips. Don't worry if they don't all mix into the dough. Not a big deal.

Scoop tablespoon size blobs onto cookie sheet. Flatten. An alternative is to make 12 really big cookies; that was the author's original intention. If you have leftover chips, press them in here and there. Bake for 8 minutes and rotate pans. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cranberry Almond-Quinoa Muffins

These are so delectable. Lots of whole wheat goodness with the nutritional punch of quinoa. Everytime I make muffins with cooked quinoa, I marvel at how tasty they are. These are lightly sweetened with maple syrup and chopped Craisins. I'm sure you could use fresh cranberries if you added more sweetener. This recipe is adapted from the Almond-Quinoa Muffins in Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. It is The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook that everyone should have in their collection. It is a well rounded cookbook with lots of "how to" information and plenty of original, tasty recipes. Makes 12 muffins.

1 cup soymilk
1 TB ground flaxseed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup almond meal or flour*
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1-1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped Craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin pan. Combine milk and flax seed, whisk together and let sit for a minute. Add oil, syrup and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix together. Stir in wet ingredients and mix until barely combined. Fold in quinoa and Craisins and stir until just mixed. Do not over mix. Spoon into muffin tin and bake 20-23 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

*Almond meal and/or flour is ridiculously expensive. I just whiz whole almonds in a small blender until it makes a coarse flour. Be sure not to make almond butter!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mixed-Grain Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

This is my nod to Valentines Day. Bake your sweetie a batch of these. Not too sweet and made with healthy oils and a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of hazelnut butter which I've never seen on the shelf and if it was it would be prohibitively expensive. You can substitute with cashew butter or follow my directions below to make your own hazelnut butter. Believe me, it's a whole lot cheaper.

1/3 cup canola or walnut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut or almond butter*
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached, unbromated all-purpose flour
2 TB arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped**
1/3-1/2 cup raspberry spread

Make this easy on yourself and get out your stand mixer. Add the first three ingredients: oil, brown sugar and nut butter. Mix well. Add the milk and extract and mix some more. In another small bowl, have mixed together the flour, arrowroot, salt, and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and let chill in refrigerator for an hour or so. It will be easier to handle that way.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out a tablespoon, roll in a ball, and roll in the chopped nuts, pressing down to flatten. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment and make an indent in each cookie and spoon some raspberry spread into each cookie. Bake for 18 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on rack.

*Make your own hazelnut butter
Put a very generous 1/2 cup of whole hazelnuts into small blender (I like to use a Tribest Personal Blender for this) and blend until it turns into butter (or as close to that as possible).

**Chopped nuts
Use that same small blender and pulse the nuts until finely chopped.