Tag Archives: cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

And  gluten-free, no less! The first time I made these chocolate chippers, I knew that a special place in my plant-based heart had been filled. They were the best. Not the best gluten-free; not the best vegan; but the best chocolate chip cookies I’d ever had, period.

This was my second time making these precious morsels of chewy-crispy-chocolate-vanilla bliss. Being wintertime, canned pumpkin seemed more fitting to me than the applesauce called for in the recipe (it also didn’t hurt that I hadn’t the tiniest dollop of applesauce in my pantry, despite having six – count ’em, six – different types of seaweed in there). So pumpkin it was! It could just be my mind playing tricks on me, but I could swear, it endowed the cookies with an even lovelier golden hue. If the first time around had produced the so-called “best” chocolate chip cookies, then I didn’t even know what to call this batch!

These cookies are crispy and caramelized around the edges and soft and chewy in the center, with that rich, buttery flavor that your mommy’s chippers always had, thanks to a healthy amount of coconut oil. They spread and crinkle perfectly.

So, for the gluten-free child inside you, here’s the recipe for the famousBabycakes Chocolate Chip Cookies, with my adaptation included:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Babycakes)
Makes 36

1 cup coconut oil
6 tablespoons canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven the 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, pumpkin, salt, vanilla, and evaporated cane juice. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum. Using a rubber spatula, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until a grainy dough is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed through the dough.

Using a melon baller, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the portions 1 inch apart. Gently press each with the heel of your hand to help them spread. Bake the cookies on the center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes. The finished cookies will be crisp on the edges and soft in the center.

Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely before covering. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Happy Halloween, Babycakes

I can’t decide which is scarier: Halloween, or how long it’s been since I last posted.

For once, I have a valid excuse though. I’ve only just returned from a two-week long adventure (and I mean adventure) in India – the first trip organized through the cooperation of VegNews and VegVoyages!

Of course, I have an epic Indian food post in the works, but in the meantime, allow me to show you how magical gluten-free vegan bakeries celebrate everyone’s second favorite autumnal holiday. (We’re all on the same page about Thanksgiving, right?!)

Like most of you, I celebrated “All-Hallows-Even” with my friends on Saturday night; I mean, Sunday’s not exactly the most convenient night to have a ghoulishly good time, is it?

Come the evening of true Halloween, I found myself facing a lonely six-hour drive back to Tempe (did I mention that my friends live in LA?). Being the strict observer of holidays that I am, this plan posed a bit of a problem. I wasn’t about to let a long drive get between me and a good time.

So, I did what any self-respecting, gluten-hesitant vegan would do. Donning my baby-pink piggie hat, I headed over to Babycakes NYC in downtown LA to stock up on sugary treats for the road.

A chocolate “cake ball” here…

A powdered blueberry donut there…

And a few spookies (spooky cookies, of course!) to bring home to share…

By now, you probably have an image in your head of me, sitting in my car, wearing a pig hat, and stuffing my face with a dinner’s worth of gluten-free baked goods. That is actually a pretty accurate description of how I spent my 385-mile-long Halloween. I assure you, the irony of the situation was not lost on me.

Oink oink oink.

Happy Belated Earth Day!

Challah!

So, my procrastinatory nature won out, and I’m not making my Earth Day post until, well, now. Earth Day is very special to me not only for the reason it’s special to all of you, but also because it’s my veganversary–my 2-year veganversary to be exact! Yes, April 22nd, 2008, I ditched dead animals, dairy, and eggs (man, I wish eggs started with a “d”) for good, and I’ve never looked back except to turn and laugh at the disgusting omnivorous world I left behind.

Of course, being an Environmental Analysis major (on the verge of graduation!) I also love Earth Day for its own wonderful sake, and look forward to Pomona’s annual Organic Dinner, put on by students. The food is catered by Pitzer College’s student-run café, The Shakedown, and supplemented by produce from Pomona’s organic farm. Oh, and there’s also organic dates donated by a nearby California date farm!

This was the second year I’ve helped out with the 200-person dinner (setting up, serving, baking, etc.), and it’s been a blast both times. After much deliberation, Steph and I decided to bake the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows and Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and my old standby chocolate chippers–the Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vive Le Vegan!

Let me tell you, no matter how kick-ass of a baker you are, it is impossible–impossible, I say!–to make 400 plus cookies in under six hours if you only have one oven. Yes, you heard me right. Steph and I slaved over a hot oven from 9:00 pm to 3:30 am in order to bring Pomona students these stacks of organic vegan goodness!

It’s a good thing we did too, because we kind of ran out of food midway through the dinner (and to be honest the food we had this year was NOT as good as last year’s–overly salted teriyaki tofu in lieu of delicious tempeh curry). So, yeah, these cookies were kind of the saving grace of the dinner; and, if I don’t say so myself, they were pretty darn delicious and gorgeous to boot!

Be back soon with the rest of Nicole and I’s time in LA! :) This was just a scheduled interruption!

Cuckoo for Coconut Peanut Butter!

As you all know, peanut butter is kind of my thang. Although straight up PB will always be my favorite, I do have a soft spot for “special” peanut butter–as long as it’s free of weird additives and oils. I thought I’d pretty much explored the world of specialty peanut butter–and what a wonderful world it is!–with Peanut Butter & Co., Justin’s Nut Butters, and Naturally Nutty, but I found out I was wrong when Tropical Traditions’ Coconut Peanut Butter walked into my life.

Tropical Traditions provided me with a jar to sample, and I’m so grateful that they did. This product contains just what it should and nothing else: organic dried coconut and organic roasted valencia peanuts. That’s it.

Those two ingredients are all it takes to produce a butter that’s so sinfully salty-sweet, you’ll think you’re eating frosting.

So after eating half of the jar with a spoon over the course of a couple weeks, I started thinking about what foods it would go best with. Turns out, coconut peanut butter can pretty much be put on anything you’d put regular peanut butter on, with similar or better results. :)

Like sweet potatoes:

As you can see, coconut peanut butter is much runnier than regular peanut butter. It takes on that thin meltiness of coconut butter more than it does the thick spreadableness of peanut butter. When cooler than room temperature, it’s solid.

Okay, so this next one’s slightly more decadent than a sweet potato, but hey–those peanut butter Newman O’s were asking for it!

And finally, the ever-versatile oat bran. In this case, sweet potato oat bran, topped with coconut peanut butter, and–get ready–sweet potato coconut paste! The paste was from the care package that Jessie at Vegan Minded exchanged with my mom. I stole it from her, hehe. Thanks Jessie!

As you can see, Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter is a fantabulous product; whether you’re a PB lover like myself, or just want to add a unique and healthy product to your diet, you should pick up a jar for yourself!

Babycakes NYC in…LA?!

My friends and I have been making as many vegan field trips into LA as possible the past few weeks because we figure, the deeper into the semester we get, the less feasible such trips will be. And, c’mon, second to New York City, LA definitely has the most vegan restaurants of any US city! (Obviously not talking about the number of vegan restaurants per capita…I think Portland would win that.)

First on our list was Babycakes NYC, which just opened their LA location a few weeks ago!

We went late in the day, so about half of their displays were empty. :( Even so, we didn’t exactly go hungry.

I got a vanilla spelt cupcake with chocolate frosting, but my first bite was a little unnerving. The frosting was sort of salty, and the cupcake was dry with a weird aftertaste. The staff at Babycakes was super sweet though, and immediately allowed me to replace it. I must have gotten a dud. Either way, I don’t mean this to be a negative review because they were so great about getting me a new one as soon as I expressed my discontent.

My second (and much more delicious!) cupcake was a gluten-free banana cupcake.

Although I generally prefer less sweet banana baked goods, like banana bread, this cupcake was still extremely yummy. The cupcake was moist and flavorful, and the frosting was perfect as well–just a little bit tart and cream cheese-y, but still sweet enough to qualify as a cupcake topper.

Still, not even my banana cupcake was as good as the gluten-free chocolate brownie cupcakes that my three friends got. I would definitely opt for that one next time!

Naturally, we had to take a bunch of baked goodies to go–who knows when we’ll be back next? I picked up a cinnamon bun and a chipwich.

Did I say cinnamon bun? I meant Skinny Bun! At least, that’s what Babycakes calls ’em! All I have to say about this spelt bun was that it rocked my breakfast world. A bit crumbly on the inside, but, hey–this was the next day, reheated in a microwave! It wasn’t overly sweet, the raisins were a nice touch, and I loved the buttery mouthfeel provided by the coconut oil!

Don’t worry, I didn’t eat my Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich for breakfast (even I have some discipline). But I did eat it as a snack!

Made with two gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and a gob of vanilla frosting, this guy was even better than its ice cream counterpart that I’ve had in the past. First of all, you don’t have to worry about meltage. Second, this chipwich was just plain good–no explanation needed. Super sweet frosting, check. Crunchy cookies with a bit of salt to complement sweet frosting, check.

Finally, I had a slice of GF Lemon Poppyseed bread that my friend James gave to me. I slathered it with some TJ’s Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam, and called it a morning.

Who knew lemon and strawberry went so well together? (Well, obviously I did, but whatever.)

Whether you’re in NYC or LA, I definitely recommend hitting up your local Babycakes. The worst that can happen is that you get a mediocre cupcake that you’re more than welcome to exchange for another (though I don’t think that’s likely), and the best that can happen is that you’re admitted into wheat-free dessert heaven. Your choice.

Next time, I’m going bright ‘n early though, so I can take my pick from a fully stocked display. I have a hankering for on of their “toasties,” and maybe that GF brownie cupcake. ;)

Cookies for Breakfast

Well, not just cookies (though i don’t have a problem with that either). I’m talking about incorporating cookies into an otherwise balanced breakfast!

I had some Liz Lovely Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies from my package swap with Lindsay at Cooking for a Vegan Lover, and decided that their best use would be to add a little sweetness to my mornings.

I give you: Sweet Potato Smoothie with Ginger Cookie Crumbles!

I just blended up a frozen banana, sweet potato purée, soy milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, a dollop of maple syrup, and some ice cubes, then crumbled half a cookie on top (these are BIG cookies).

I liked the sweet potato/ginger/molasses combination, so I stuck with the same theme for a bowl of oat bran the next day.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran with Ginger Cookie Crumbles!

What a carb fest. In a good way.

What random toppings to you all use for smoothies, oats, and/or soy yogurt? I still have to try the ice cream-topped oat bran that was floating around the blog world a few months ago…

Three Completely Random Eats

So, I know I went a little crazy in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, but my foodie exploits didn’t stop there. You see, I miss cooking and baking so much when I’m at school, that when I finally have a well-stocked kitchen and the entirety of my cookbook library at my disposal every break, I literally can’t stop! It’s my favorite de-stresser, and that’s what breaks are for, no?

As I was sitting in front of my laptop at the kitchen table the Saturday after Thanksgiving, struggling to find a new way to procrastinate on my thesis, a solitary squash on the counter caught my eye. My mom had accidentally purchased an extra butternut squash for T-day, and I had a feeling that if I didn’t take charge, that plump little guy would just languish there until my parents got sick of looking at it and threw it away. Sorry, mom–I know you can roast a squash, but I could just tell that, post-holiday chaos, it wasn’t going to happen.

500 Vegan Recipes to the rescue! I’d just ordered Celine and Joni’s newest book a few weeks before, and had brought it home with me, itching to try it. The butternut’s fate was decided: Curried Butternut Squash Hummus.

Oh my curried God! This hummus was amazing. But what else would you expect when you blend an entire roasted butternut squash with chickpeas, a tablespoon of curry powder, and other yummy things? The sweet & savory combo at its finest! Great texture too–I’m a thick, chunky hummus fan (except for when I’m not, and I want smooth, creamy hummus, but whatever).

I also made another tester recipe for Celine & Joni’s new book, Vegan Substitutions. The ridiculously simple, but according to my mom for whom I made it, equally delicious, Cinnamon French Toast.

Can’t give away the recipe since it’s a tester, but I think it speaks for itself.

Finally, I made the Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for our dear friends, the Hillebrands. I think these are so adorable.

According to someoneee in my family, they’d be better with chocolate, but I disagree. Chocolate and apples? I donno. I mean, I’m sure it’d still be good, but I like them the way they are. Yes, chocolate is possibly the best thing ever in any dessert, but does that mean it should be in every dessert? I don’t think so. Sometimes, we need to let other ingredients shine. :) I’m not a sweetist!