3, 2, 1… Sushi!

Yesterday was spent baking heaps and heaps of cookies, brownies, cake, and cinnamon rolls for Vegan Omaha’s bake sale for Japan: Goodies for Good. The bake sale is this afternoon and I am so excited to see all the wonderful baked goods lined up on tables and ready to fill hungry tummies!

White Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies and Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies.

We also made regular chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate walnut cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, ginger cookies, cookies-n-cream brownies, double chocolate gluten-free brownies, and coconut raisin cinnamon rolls!!

Isa and I made a massive mess in her kitchen that progressively worsened as the hours passed:

In between emptying bags of flour and sugar some delicious food was consumed:

Lunch = Veggie Sandwich w/ Side Salad from Daily Grub in Omaha, NE

This sandwich consisted of pepita spread, sauteed red pepper, roasted sweet potato and fresh avocado inside a toasted baguette. I really enjoyed this sandwich! The baguette was chewy and the fillings paired well with one another. I am thinking about recreating this when I get back to Portland so I can remember Omaha with fondness!

Inside the Daily Grub – clean and simple with a chalkboard menu.

Would you believe that up until last night I had never tried sushi? It’s true! Growing up as a picky eater is partly to blame, but it’s mostly because I thought it would be gross. Why did I wait so long?!!

It’s quite possible that a sushi addiction may have blossomed after devouring the above beauties!

Let’s hope that today’s bake sale raises a lot of money for Japan! Keep your fingers crossed please!

Stuffing Cookies

Today I spent a majority of my time in the kitchen baking cookies (and bread). My birthday cupcakes haven’t disappeared and neither has the delicious vegan fudge spread Tim’s mom sent me. It seems as though a sugar palace exists in my apartment! I am not fretting too much though because Tim loves treats and can eat them before I overindulge. The cookies I baked today are a test recipe for Kittee’s forthcoming vegan and gluten-free cookzine. She is a gluten-deleting wonder!

The recipe is for Marshmallow Stuffed Cookies. They have three simple steps: bake the cookies, add the marshmallows (Dandies, in this case), and coat in a chocolaty glaze (therefore encasing the marshmallows). Here are the cookies before being glazed:

They look like cookie faces, don’t they?

And after:

In my clumsiness, I managed to sweep my fingers through the glazed tops of at least half the cookies. I need a vegan robot buddy to help me transport cookies from a cooling rack to a plate.

These cookies are sweet, delicious, fun to make, and even more fun to eat. If you don’t tell people there is a marshmallow surprise hiding under the glaze, they will be delighted when they bite into their cookie(s)!

“H” is for Hazelnut Shortbread (Chocolate Dipped!)

Did you know that the hazelnut (also called the filbert) is Oregon’s state nut? It’s true! In fact, Oregon grows 99% of the commercial hazelnut crop produced in the US. Impressive, huh? Hazelnuts are at the top of my “Most Favorite Nuts” list, especially when they are freshly roasted. I figured since I love hazelnuts, cookies, and chocolate I should feature a recipe that uses all three ingredients in my post today. Sound good? Good!

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies (Chocolate Dipped)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
1/2 cup pulverized unrefined sugar (I dumped a bunch of evaporated cane juice in my spice grinder and pulverized it until it was a fine powder)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
scant 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup finely chopped, roasted hazelnuts
3 ounces dark chocolate, preferably organic, melted (for dipping cookies)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, cream non-dairy butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Sift flours into the same bowl and stir well to combine.
3. Add in chopped hazelnuts and stir to evenly incorporate.
4. Roll dough into a log approximately 8″ long by 1 1/2″ in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
6. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into 1/2″ rounds. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet and prick with a fork. You can make your cookies thicker or thinner – make sure to adjust your baking time though. Cookies will spread a little as they bake.
7. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cookies will crisp up as they cool.
8. If desired, dip half of each cookie in melted chocolate. You could even sprinkle additional chopped hazelnuts on the chocolate if you are crazy for nuts! Place dipped cookies in the freezer to set the chocolate.

Enjoy with a cold glass of non-dairy milk and you’re good to go!

“A” is for Amaranth

Happy second day of Vegan MoFo 2010! I had trouble falling asleep last night because I couldn’t think of an “A” food that wasn’t boring (apples are yummy and all, but I wanted more excitement). It wasn’t until the wee hours of this morning that I thought of the jar of amaranth grains in my pantry. Perfect! That was enough motivation to lure me from the cozy depths of my bed and into the kitchen for a creative experiment:

Jam-A-Print Cookies! [Recipe follows]

Yes, thumbprint cookies have been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth, but I doubt those cookies were made with amaranth grains! Wait, what the heck is amaranth? Here are some fun facts for you:

1. Amaranth is a plant that grows as a weed. The seeds produced are harvested for grain (and some varieties are harvested for greens!).
2. Amaranth is gluten-free!
3. Amaranth has unusually high amounts of protein.
4. Amaranth is high in iron.
5. Amaranth, unlike most other grains, contains lysine, an essential amino acid.

What’s not to like? For such a tiny little grain, amaranth is pretty powerful! The cookies pictured above are mighty healthy, and can be made sugar-free depending on the jam you use. They can also be made gluten-free if you dare to experiment with flours!

Jam-A-Print Cookies (the “A” stands for Amaranth!)

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups amaranth grain
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
scant 1/2 cup coconut oil (already melted)
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
scant 1/2 cup water
About 1/3 cup jam of your choice (I used Ginger-Fig Jam* and Strawberry Jam)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment or a non-stick baking mat.
2. In a spice grinder, working in small batches, process the amaranth grain until it resembles coarse flour. Some whole grain pieces are preferable. Measure out 1 1/4 cups of flour and set the rest aside for another use.
3. In a large bowl, stir together amaranth flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, oat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a small bowl, stir together coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Don’t add the water yet.
5. Add your wet ingredients (minus the water) to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. The mixture should seem a bit coconut-oily, but don’t fret that will soon change!
6. Gradually add the water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until a nice dough forms. It will be tacky to the touch, but should hold together nicely when rolled (or scooped) into balls. If your dough is too dry, add more water.
7. Using about 2 teaspoons of dough per cookie, form balls by rolling (or do what I did and use a cookie scoop) the dough between your palms. Place balls on prepared cookie sheet.
8. Using your thumb, or any finger, gently make an indent in each cookie. Fill each indent with jam (amount will vary depending on the size of your indent – probably about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon).
9. Bake in your oven for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly golden and cookies are firm to the touch. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

*Ginger-Fig Jam? Why yes! My friend and I spent Monday afternoon creating lots of wonderful yummies in her kitchen and Ginger-Fig Jam was the final masterpiece. Stay tuned for my “F is for…” post because it just might feature the jam and a recipe! Ooooooh!!!

Giveaway Winner and 4-Season Cookies

Hello! It’s time to announce the winner of my giveaway! I used random number generator and the lucky recipient is… Kelly, who was commenter #4. Kelly’s answer to “What is your favorite vegan food item?” was: “Hmm. I’m glad veganism has introduced me to Larabars & homemade variations of Larabars. They’re such a perfect snack, nutritious and so yummy!” Congratulations Kelly!!! And, guess what? There might just be some Larabar samples in your prize packet!!! I will contact you via e-mail to arrange the shipping.

On to other exciting things: it’s finally, officially fall! Today the weather is cloudy, rainy, and cool in Portland. Do you know what that means? It’s time to bake cookies! One of my favorite cookies that can be baked and eaten no matter what season it is are plain and simple ginger cookies. I’ve posted about these treats before and always turn to them when I want a sweet fix. You can find the recipe for my favorite ginger cookies by visiting the aforementioned post. The recipe is pretty versatile. Lately I have been using a flax mixture instead of Ener’G Egg Replacer and it works wonderfully. You can add all forms of ginger to these cookies: powdered, freshly grated, crystalized, whatever pleases you most. I have been making mine huge, at least 5″ in diameter!!! Try them and embrace the season(s)!