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).

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