Double Ginger Shortbread: A Recipe

I had every intention of posting this recipe yesterday, but decided to spend time in the kitchen preparing homemade gifts for friends instead.

Ginger Shortbread 02December Photo Project 2012: Day #19

I ended up making double ginger shortbread, hazelnut brittle, and crunchy peanut butter cups. My kitchen was a mess, but the results were worth the clean-up that had to happen later.

My favorite of the three was definitely the shortbread. The recipe is so simple and you don’t need many ingredients. It makes the perfect amount for gifting to a couple of friends. The key is to handle the dough as little as possible to obtain a light texture.

Double Ginger Shortbread 

Makes however many cookie you prefer

Scant 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
2 tablespoons roughly chopped crystallized ginger

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, first measure of sugar, ginger powder, and salt.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute. Add in the flour mixture and beat at low speed until crumbly. Add in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms. You may not need both tablespoons of water. The dough shouldn’t be sticky or wet, but more like a cut-out cookie dough.

3. Gently shape the dough into a small round and place in a large ziplock bag. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. I rolled mine out into a circle about a 1/2″ thick. Sprinkle the dough with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and press lightly so it adheres to the dough. Score the dough into 8+ wedges, but don’t cut all the way through. Put a few pieces of crystallized ginger onto each wedge and press down lightly.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until just turning light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for several minutes before cutting through the score lines. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will firm up nicely as they cool.

Enjoy!!!

Tonight I am going to a holiday dinner with co-workers so hopefully I’ll be back with a photograph of something fun and/or interesting!

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Bake Sale Crazy

On Saturday, I spent nearly eight hours in my kitchen baking treats for Portland’s Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. It was a gorgeous sunny day, but that didn’t stop me from laboring away amidst clouds of flour and scoops of sugar. In fact, it only motivated me further since I could open the windows and listen to melodic, chirping birds.

One of my favorite tips for making big baking sprees go more smoothly is to prepare your workspace first:

I like to put all of my ingredients, mixing bowls, utensils, and recipes out on my table before I start. Eventually the rows of jars become a scattered mess, but at least I don’t have to run back and forth between my cupboards and work counter.

Here is what I ended up making:

Pizza rolls filled with bell peppers, spinach, marinara, and Follow Your Heart mozzarella;

Lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd and frosted with lemon cream cheese frosting;

Hello Vegan Bars (recipe in Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton) – oaty/coconutty cookie crust with caramel, chocolate, pecans, and coconut;

Biscochitos – a snickerdoodle with crushed anise seeds in the dough (recipe also from Let Them Eat Vegan);

Double chocolate mint chip cookies and ginger cookies

Tim and I dropped everything off at the bake sale Sunday morning. Unfortunately, I was so concerned about transporting the cupcakes safely that I forgot my camera. There was  an absolutely gorgeous array of baked goods to choose from; we ended up with one of Kittee’s pretzel dogs, a cupcake from Dovetail Bakery, and a s’mores brownie. Everything was hit-the-spot delicious. And, the sale raised over $2,400!!! Success!

Pistachio Lime Cookies

I seriously considered not baking cookies this holiday season because my sugar intake has been creeping closer (and closer) to the over-the-limit line. But, since I am a serious cookie muncher, withholding treats would inevitably lead to unpleasant moods. Nobody wants to spend time with a cookie deprived Amy. Trust me.

The recipe I am sharing today was one of my submissions for the VegNews 2011 Holiday Cookie Contest. I didn’t win (congratulations to those who did – I can’t wait to bake up the prized recipes!) but these cookies still deserve some love. While they may look like tropical cookies from the ingredient list, these Pistachio Lime Cookies are just as festive as any other holiday-themed cookie, especially with their green-flecked interior and sparkly, sugar dusted exterior.

Pistachio Lime Cookies

1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1/2 cup unrefined granulated sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon lime extract*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely ground
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unrefined granulated sugar, for coating cookies

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add in milk, extracts, and lime zest. Beat until well mixed.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, pistachios, coconut, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Transfer cookie dough to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour before proceeding with the recipe.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Using a small cookie scoop (or two spoons), drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Place the 2 tablespoons of sugar on a plate and gently flatten the top of each dough ball in the sugar. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

*If you cannot find lime extract, I am sure that a tablespoon of lime juice would work nicely. Or, turn  these into Pistachio Lemon Cookies by replacing the lime extract and lime zest with lemon extract and lemon zest!

I’ll be back soon with some fun giveaways, so don’t stray too far!

Chocovado Chip Cookies

I woke up this morning with a desire to bake cookies and immediately did some inventory control in my kitchen. I didn’t have any Earth Balance. I didn’t have any canola oil. I didn’t have any applesauce. But, I really wanted cookies. So, I did what any swift-minded vegan baker would do, I used an avocado! And guess what? It worked wonderfully. You can’t taste the avocado in the cookies, I promise! Just make sure to use a ripe avocado because an unripe avocado would not taste very good. These cookies remind me of a fudgy brownie. They puff up a bit and have a slightly crunchy exterior with a gooey, chocolatly interior. Perfect for breakfast!

Chocovado Chip Cookies

Makes about 15 cookies (more or less depending on the size of your cookie scoop)

1/2 cup ripe avocado
1/2 cup unrefined granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 T tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Generous 1/2 cup  chocolate chips (please use organic, fair trade)
Extra granulated sugar for sprinkling, optional

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer), beat the avocado until creamy, about 1 minute.
3. Add in the sugars and cream until fluffy.
4. Add in the cocoa powder and beat on low speed until fully incorporated.
5. Add in the vanilla extract and nondairy milk (start with 1 Tablespoon of milk and add more if the dough seems to dry, I used 2 Tablespoons) and beat until everything is well mixed, about a minute. The dough will be a bit stiff, like brownie batter – that’s what you want!
6. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the chocolate mixture and beat until mixed.
7. Add the chocolate chips and stir them into the batter with a spoon to evenly distribute them in the cookie dough.
8. Using a cookie scoop, drop  2 rounded Tablespoons of dough per cookie onto your prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with damp palms and sprinkle with a bit of granulated sugar. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes or until puffy. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

These are best enjoyed warm!

Just Another Cookie Recipe

I am pretty sure we all have our favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies, right? My favorite is one Tim and I created years ago in an attempt to replicate a cookie brand we loved in New Zealand. While they didn’t turn out exactly the same, they were close and pleased us immensely. When I veganized the recipe, they were even better; imagine that!

The other night Tim requested chocolate chip cookies (big surprise!). It was late, I was lazy, and I didn’t feel like following a recipe. My solution was to toss ingredients into my mixing bowl and hope for the best. Who needs baking science?

The result was a delicious, chewy, chocolate chip cookie with a subtle hint of coconut.

A few notes about this recipe: I am pretty sure you could reduce the sugar amounts to 1/3 cup each and still have excellent results. Also, I used light coconut milk but it was very thick, and that is essential for this recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

yield: about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic, unrefined sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup organic chocolate chips
2 T unsweetened shredded coconut, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Mix in the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
6. Stir in the chocolate chips and coconut.
7. Use a cookie scoop (or spoon) to distribute dough onto prepared baking sheets.
8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are slightly golden. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Enjoy!