I hosted a vegan cookie swap this past weekend and since I knew there would be tons of sugary pastries on hand, I wanted to make something that wouldn’t be too sweet. These cookies fit the bill. They aren’t overtly sweet and the flavors of almond and sesame complement each other perfectly, making them a great dessert option for a heavy holiday dinner. The recipe is loosely based on a cookie recipe in Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowtiz and Terry Hope Romero.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup black and white sesame seeds, mixed together in a shallow dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the margarine and brown sugar with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Add the almond butter, soy milk, almond extract and vanilla extract and mix for about 4 more minutes, until creamy.
Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the dry mixture until a dough forms.
Roll the dough into 1-inch sized balls and then roll in the sesame seeds. Place on cookie sheet and slightly flatten the balls. Leave about an 1 1/2″ space between cookies.
Bake for 14 minutes, remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Last week Montclair Vegans had a Christmas cookie swap at my house. Cookie swaps are always a fun way to gather with friends at the holidays, and they’re a good excuse to hit the kitchen and start baking. Last year about 14 people came to my cookie swap, and I was expecting the same amount of people this year, but to my surprise 22 people showed up! That’s a lot of cookies! Everyone sat around drinking tea, munching cookies, chatting with each other and watching my cats try to climb my Christmas tree. People took home containers of cookies at the end of the party, but there was quite a lot leftover for me. I delivered them to my vet’s office, my hair dresser, my building’s super, the staff at Veggie Heaven and some friends who couldn’t make it to the swap. Here are pictures of just some of the cookies we had:
Today is Dennis’s birthday! I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it does suck to be born on Christmas Eve. It also kind of sucks to the partner of someone born on Christmas Eve, because people born on Christmas Eve tend to hate both their birthday and Christmas. Dennis and I have created our own birthday and Christmas traditions, and he has slightly warmed to both occasions. For his birthday, I always make a big brunchy breakfast, we go to the movies, and then we have dinner at Veggie Heaven. The people at Veggie Heaven have grown accustomed to our tradition, and they usually have a gift waiting for him when we arrive.
This year my plan was to make Puttanesca Scramble and Potato Spinach Squares from Vegan Brunch. I woke up early to start cooking so that breakfast would be ready when he got up. I starting prepping ingredients and was ready to start cooking when I realized that we didn’t have any potatoes. No potatoes! And I really didn’t feel like running out to the store with bedhead in my pajamas to get some. What to do, what to do? I ended up making the puttanesca tofu scramble anyway, and I dumbed the frozen spinach that I had defrosted for the squares into it. I also added some nutritional yeast and a little lemon juice, and I melted a little Daiya over the top of it all when I was done. Dennis said the smell of the food woke him up. He had no idea what I had planned for breakfast, so he wasn’t disappointed that it wasn’t what I had planned. He really, really liked it, and when I told him about the mess-up, he said my mess-ups are always delicious.
And speaking of mess-ups, instead of making a cake, I decided to make Dennis birthday cookies. My friend Deana brought cookies that I knew would be perfect for Dennis to my cookie swap so I asked her for the recipe. I either used the wrong shortening or let the cookies sit out too long before putting them in the oven (or both), because they came out as a big flat mess. I was able to salvage a few bits that resembled cookies from the disaster, and miraculously, they tasted really good.
So the moral of today’s story is that even when you mess up a dish or don’t have the correct ingredients, just use what you have and make something anyway. Don’t be afraid to get into the kitchen and experiment!
The recipe is from Manifest Vegan. I doubled the recipe, because it says it makes about 20 cookies, but I ended up with about 75 cookies and only about half were eaten, so that wasn’t necessary. I used 4 bags of chocolate chips to dip the cookies in. Dipping the cookies in the chocolate created a huge mess! I made the mistake of placing the cookies back on the cookie sheet since I don’t have cooling racks. The chocolate cemented the cookies firmly to the sheets, and I had to get Dennis to help pull them off. (Note to self: Next time use parchment paper!) Most of the cookies ended up losing their bottoms, but it didn’t take away from their taste at all. These cookies are GOOD. They’re really intense, so you only need one to satisfy any chocolate/peanut butter cravings. They were a big hit at the party!
I thought I’d put aside my elimination diet for the evening since I knew there would be tasty chocolatey baked treats at the party, but I didn’t cheat too badly. I had some hot chocolate made with almond milk which was amazingly good, a few chocolate cover cashews, one rum ball that did contain some wheat, and a piece of extremely rich fudge. I don’t know what the fudge was made with, but I’m guessing there was some soy in it. It was so rich that it ruined me for the rest of the evening and I couldn’t eat anything else, which was a good thing because there were lots of cookies, brownies and cupcakes. I did wake up with some digestive problems this morning which I find crazy, because I ate such small amounts of offending foods yesterday. But now I know for next time!