Lemon Cookies with Pomegranate Icing

So mom and I watched a documentary on product placement called The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a couple nights ago.  One of the corporate sponsors was Pom Wonderful, which put a million dollars into the movie.  Lo and behold, advertising works: the next day there was a bottle of the stuff in the fridge.  That settled it, I was baking something pomegranate-y.

Delicious, vegan, lemon pomegranate sugar cookies

Unfortunately, the only successful sugar cookies I’ve made in my life came premade in a refrigerated tube.  Thus, I’m borrowing Vegetarian Times’ vegan sugar cookie recipe, because I’ve never used nor even heard of a bad recipe from Veg Times.  There are a couple things I learned, in the process of making these.  First, always always get organic/whipped Earth Balance.  It’s just so much easier to get out of the tub, and you probably won’t fling any on your shirt (I only had about a half cup, so the other half cup came from a tub of original.  It wasn’t fun).

Earth Balance Original and Organic/Whipped

But actually, get the organic.

Second, don’t label bulk flour with twist ties.  I used no fewer than two, and no more than four, different types of flour in this recipe.  The likely suspects are Organic Whole Wheat Pastry, Organic Whole Wheat, and All-Purpose Unbleached (White Wheat is the likely candidate for number four, but I’m not sure that happened).  This is because a. the twist ties were falling apart and illegible, and b. we were low on flour.

The 4 ambiguously different types of flour that went into making these vegan pomegranate cookies.

Ingredients:

Cookies:
2 ¾ cups misc flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. egg replacer (I used a heaping tsp of soy flour, since I don’t have any Ener-G)
1 ½ cups plus 1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup Earth Balance, softened
2 tsp. lemon extract (you could sub lemon zest)
Juice of half a lemon
Non-dairy milk (optional)

Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 Tbs. Pomegranate Juice
1 tsp arrowroot powder (or other starch)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Combine flour and baking powder in small bowl. Whisk egg replacer with 2 Tbs. water. Set aside.

2. Cream sugar and margarine in bowl with until fluffy. Beat in lemon. Add egg replacer/soy flour, and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture, and beat until soft dough forms.  I had to add a couple tsp milk to get the dough balls soft, though if you use white flour you may not have that problem.

3. Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll one ball to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough ball and scraps.

4. Bake cookies 15 to 17 minutes, or until light brown around edges. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Icing:
1. Beat sugar, starch, pomegranate juice, and vanilla extract in bowl until smooth.

2. Apply icing to cooled cookies

3. If you do 2 without making a huge mess, call me (or comment on this post, I guess?) and let me know how.

Add an additional tsp. soymilk if frosting is too thick. Spread cooled cookies with icing, and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let icing harden before serving or storing.

We ate all but these last two before remembering to take pictures, and that’s why there are no more pictures.

 

I did a lot of work by hand for this vegan sugar cookie recipe.

I couldn’t find the mixer, so I hand-beat the fat.

 

Juicing a lemon for lemon-pom sugar cookies.

Instead of having a citrus juicer I use squeeze the lemon with a fork in the middle and that gets most of the juice out.

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie cookies and other cautionary tales

Simply after reading the title of this post, I imagine most people are going to have a few questions.  So, before the recipe, some FAQs (and a picture):

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This is like two dozen cookies. In a picture below, there are the dozen that I took to Thanksgiving dinner. I ate the difference.

Q: Is it even safe to combine that much delicious all into a single cookie?
A: I had a near burning-myself experience, as I was taking the 19th batch I made out of the oven (seriously, I baked no fewer than 12 batches of these cookies intending to send each off for the food blogger cookie swap.  The first 9 dozen all got eaten by me/family/friends, the final three barely survived into the boxes I mailed them in).

Q: What is the cautionary tale?
A: So I was like “la la la I’m a food blogger I do what I want” and I decided to recreationally make up a recipe from scratch.  And that original recipe involved not having flour, not so much because I was as hubris as to think that my food blogger ness would make chemistry irrelevant, but because I just kind of forgot and I didn’t have a recipe to remind me because I was making the recipe up.  The cautionary tale: put flour in your cookies.

Q: Who likes these cookies?
A: These cookies were like the first time that I had made up food and then been asked for the recipe.  So, uh, everyone I know likes these cookies.

Q: How do you make cookies without butter? (but actually, this was a question I got at my family Thanksgiving dinner when I said I had brought vegan cookies.)
A: There are a bunch of different fats you can use.  In this case, I used earth balance because I had it on hand and it’s solid at decently high temperatures, which adds substance to the batter.  You could also use crisco (though, uh, gross) or coconut oil.  Alternatively, you could use something like canola oil (which I do for most of my cookies, but not these…).

Ingredients for vegan chocolate chip pumpkin oatmeal cookies

All of the ingredients. Also some coconut milk because I was thirsty.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup earth balance
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg
1 cup quickoats
1/2 cup flour

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Cream the brown sugar and the earth balance
3. Mix in the all the other ingredients, in the order they’re on the ingredients list in.
4. Drop ~3/2 inch globs of batter onto greased baking sheets.  You don’t have to worry too much about them spreading out.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they start to brown.
6. Let ’em cool and enjoy!

An action shot (oh my god fancy!) of the oatmeal being added to the batter.

An action shot (oh my god fancy!) of the oatmeal being added to the batter.

batter for easy vegan pumpkin pie cookies

Delicious, delicious batter that I ate waaay to much of.

The cookies that managed to survive me being around them long enough to make it to my family Thanksgiving.

The cookies that managed to survive me being around them long enough to make it to my family Thanksgiving.

What is this Math Doing in my Food? A Post About Thinking

The other day, I thought to myself: why don’t I try baking something sweet with nutritional yeast?  So I started looking for recipes that I thought could use a bit more umami cheesy flavor in them, and thinking about sweet baked goods which would do well with cheese added.

Then I realized, this is exactly the thought process that I use to figure out how to solve difficult Foundations of Math (the first math class here that requires proving things) problems.  And this is exactly how I work out complicated algorithms to solve CompSci homework problems, too.  I ended up deciding to make jam bars with nutritional yeast, feeling perhaps a little too cocky after reading a recipe for cheddar cheese jam bars (basically it was a pie-esque crust, with jam smeared on top, then baked). Continue reading

Blackberry, Peanut Butter, and Banana Breakfast Cake!

Wild blackberries: if you live in Western Washington you need to stop reading this, go outside, and pick some because they are everywhere and they are deliciously ripe. So ripe that there’s no sour/bitter left in them – I didn’t even know blackberries did that! I promised my mom that I would be making her breakfast sometime before I went back to college, and since then I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do that without waking up at 5am. This cake is that: it’s a reasonably healthy (via just having a little sugar, using whole wheat flour, and having a lot more fruit than your average cake), super delicious breakfast. And despite what my mom will tell you, it was totally worth having the oven on when it was 75 Fahrenheit outside.

This batter is thicker, richer, and more delicious than any of the nonvegan things I can remember cooking up before I was vegan – the combination of the peanut butter and coconut milk, I think, is a winner. The final taste comes out just faintly peanut butter-y, and it really works well with the blackberries (I had been sort of nervous, when I was making up the recipe. Molly told me she had enjoyed something that combined blueberries and peanut butter, a while back, and I decided to give this a shot).  I’d eat it in the morning, with coffee; after lunch, with (non dairy) milk; or after dinner with tea. It’s good.

FAQs about this picture: why is the coconut milk in a glass mug? Where is the lemon juice that’s called for in the recipe?

Ingredients:

½ cup sugar
1 cup 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

½ cup earth balance
3 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
½ cup milk, or coconut milk
1 mashed banana
½ a lemon’s juice (or 1/8 cup bottled)
1 tbsp water

1 heaping cup blackberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix thoroughly the dry ingredients
  3. Add the wet ingredients (I highly recommend you mash the banana before you add it to the bowl), and mix thoroughly
  4. Add the blackberries. Now, most recipes would say something like “gently fold the blackberries in” – if you can manage to fold your blackberries in without damaging them in any way, I will take off my hat to you. I tried “gently folding” and my blackberries sort of disintegrated into the individual, uh, bits. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.
  5. Grease an 8×8 baking dish and pour the batter in.
  6. Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean (if you use a different size dish, make sure to adjust the cooking time!)

Careful to let it cool, after it comes out of the oven. I didn’t wait, and burnt my tongue a little bit (but that’s okay because it was yummy).

Happy phone

I have a smartphone.  It’s a Samsung Galaxy S™ II, Epic™ 4G Touch, in the color Vortex Black (no but really, I think their naming schemes are almost too concise…).  I use it a lot for GPS navigation, which it’s actually pretty good at.  If I get everything set up before I’m driving (and therefore not using my phone because that’s dangerous) it’ll even tell me which way is fastest based on traffic.

I had this problem with Google Navigation (the GPS app), though: it sort of pissed me off.  Hearing it demand that I “turn left onto South 18th Street” was all good and well, until I was at, say, a complicated intersection where there were two or three different possible lefts I could make.  In that situation it felt as if my phone was as anxious (or more anxious) to get where I was going than I was, and making this stressful demand on me so it wouldn’t be late to meet my friend’s phones. Continue reading

Egg Pasta? Last night’s dinner!

So I have a confession to make. I use Flipboard. I feel like this is something that I ought to be embarrassed about. Here’s the story: I downloaded the app when it first came out and was super cool and fancy and on Android and stuff. And as I was flipping through stuff, I found this article. Its been love with Flipboard ever since. I didn’t have green garlic on hand so I made this up instead.

Ingredients (serves two, though it could be easily doubled or more):

1/4 pound spaghetti

One massive stalk of green onion (see how big it was below), or stalks of mass-market grocery store green onions; chopped

Two eggs

2 + 1 tbsp Olive oil

Five cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (cloves into two or three chunks each)

And cue the peanut gallery: but wait, Ashok, aren’t you a vegan? You can’t eat eggs! Well, yes, that’s what you’d think. But like most things, my food ethics don’t fit on a t-shirt – I just call myself vegan because it’s the most accurate, simple descriptor. If and when available, I happily (joyously, even) consume locally grown, ethical animal products. Otherwise, I obstain from animal products. Continue reading

The Farmer’s Market Challenge, AKA Eggplant It’s-not-parm

Finally, finally, I’m home again in beautiful Western Washington where 100 degree heat is cause for panic and I can comfortably wear jeans all the time. Life is good. It’s also quiet, which is why I came up with a new game called Farmer’s Market: you go to the Farmer’s Market and menu plan there. It’s sort of like the Iron Chef in that you can use other things too, but if you shy away too much from the original task the judges (aka myself) will glare judgmentally at you before docking points.

As it so happens, eggplant is in season during summer, and doesn’t complain much about the 50 Fahrenheit nights we’ve been having. Done, done, and sold: the person who I ended up buying the tomatoes, onion, and eggplants from even gave me an especially ripe eggplant he’d been hanging onto in back (or under the table, since this was a farmer’s market). Continue reading

Hello, Paella!

This recipe was created in my ongoing quest for quick, easy, nutritious, and delicious meals to make for myself at college.  It only calls for two fresh ingredients – garlic and onion – everything else is either canned, frozen, or preserved in some other way.  I mixed brown and white rice together after a comment Molly made to me about how common it is to do so in Thailand (she just got back from a trip there).  It creates a very nice texture to do so.  It should be noted that I went on quite the quest to find non-alcoholic wine to make this with.  If you make it with real wine (and are therefore, of course, of the legal drinking age in your place of residence) please please do not use cheap college wine.  This is your dinner, not someone you’re macking on at a party.  It’s also vegan friendly – no animals were harmed in the making of this meal.

Continue reading