Wednesday, January 29, 2014

S'mores Cookies

The winter always seems to bring out the worst in me. It inflates all my fears and self doubts. It makes me less motivated, tired, less social. It's too cold to spend time outside and too dark to convince myself otherwise. I have been trying to fight the winter blues for a few weeks now. I'm trying to remind myself to keep my chin up. There's only a few more months until it will be warm again, and the days are already starting to get longer. I've been trying to convince myself that it's ok to stay in my bed on my days off and write letters and drink endless cups of tea. But it's hard to not get weighed down by a lack of "productivity" this time of year. This is a cookie that came about because I have drank too much hot chocolate and wanted to use the rest of my mini marshmallows in something new. These cookies came about because our house was too cold and I needed an excuse to keep the oven on for an hour or two. So I could stand in front of it and place my hands on the sides to finally warm them up without taking another bath. The overflowing plate of cookies was a good excuse to pile under blankets and watch a movie marathon. The empty plate was a good reason to go to sleep, comfy and happy. Sometimes winter isn't too terrible.

leaves and flours vegan S'mores Cookies

Vegan S'mores Cookies

1 tbl Ener-G powder
3 tbl water
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbl vegan "honey" syrup or brown rice syrup
1 1/4 cup graham flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Dandies mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350. Combine Ener-G and water and allow to thicken. Cream Earth Balance and sugars. Add egg replacer, syrup & vanilla. Slowly mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips & mini marshmallows. Scoop cookies, slightly flatten tops, and chill dough for at least two hours to keep from spreading. Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges of the cookies are slightly browned. Some of the marshmallows not fully inside the cookie dough might expand and get bubbly. They look a little silly, but still taste great.

leaves and flours vegan S'mores Cookies

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It is as Easy as Vegan Pie

In the never ending slew of arbitrary holidays, like national donut day, squirrel appreciation day, and bring your daughter to work day, I finally remember that's it's national pie day! Normally I would celebrate pie day in March, but hey, this arbitrary holiday finally works in my favor. I was offered a review copy of Hannah Kaminsky's newest cookbook Easy As Vegan Pie back in October. The holidays came and I got all sorts of bogged down, and three months later I am finally done baking three of the pies so I can give you a complete opinion!
leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

I made the speculoos pumpkin pie first thing. It was October, and I was set on trying a new kind of pumpkin pie. The speculoos filling sounded like it would make the typical pumpkin pie heavy and maybe a teeny bit too rich, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much lighter it was than I expected. It was creamy and gently spiced. A delightful new twist on an old favorite. I over-baked mine a teeny bit so the top cracked, but it was nothing some coconut whip and coconut whip beating with additional speculoos spread couldn't fix. If I hadn't been so set on trying Hannah's perfect pie crust recipe, I would have probably tried it with a speculoos cookie crust too.

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

The cannoli pie was next on my to-bake list. Made from a rich cashew mascaparone and an ice cream cone crust, you can't go wrong. It was rich and satisfying. The cannoli pie recipe was unlike anything I have ever made before, which is something I have come to expect from Hannah's books. She has a knack for twisting classics into something new & refreshing.
I made the Greek silk pie just after New Years. Made with containers of Greek style coconut or almond yogurt, it was a much healthier twist on silk pie. While much more resolution friendly than you average pie, I felt the need to top it with more whip and an extra dusting of cocoa powder to fully indulge my sweet tooth.

leaves and flours vegan
There are so many more recipes I plan on working my way through. Hello snickerdoodle pie, we'll be officially meeting before the end of winter. Her lemon chia seed meringue is first on my list for the spring, and the Southern girl in me was thrilled about the chess pie! Aside from the phenomenal recipes, there's beautiful photographs to accompany each pie and all sorts of phenomenal sides & toppings to further enhance your baking like coconut bacon, vegan honey syrup, & speculoos cookies.
For the gluten free folks Hannah has provided a great tart shell recipe, and for those inclined towards the savory side there's all sorts of quiche, tarts, & even a wasabi pea pie! If you haven't added Easy As Vegan Pie to your bookshelf yet, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


leaves and flours vegan challah

I am normally the sort of person who gets things done quickly and efficiently. But lately all the things that need to do are purely self motivated and without deadline. So I have been putting them off for longer & longer. I have still been baking. I have about seven things baked and photographed, but I haven't made a single peep on this little space in two weeks for no real reason other than I haven't sat down & told myself that it was time to make it happen.
I got a pretty gross flu type thing, and for the last week while I laid in bed for hours on end, I kept thinking that I would magically write a new blog post. But that never happened. Instead I read six young adult books. Because teen fiction is really my main drive at this point in the winter. It keeps me from growing stir crazy at work on my lunch breaks or rolling out endless cinnamon buns, and it keeps me pedaling the stationary bike at the gym. It has also been winding it's way into my dreams. I keep waiting to find out that I am truly a witch or that I can overcome the government in a post-apocalyptic society. I re-read one of my favorite books, the Golden Compass. I read all three books of the Infernal Devices (which is infinitely better than the Mortal Instruments). I read Divergent & Insurgent, and am currently the 89th hold on the last book in the trilogy. I just checked out three more random young adult books today, A Great & Terrible Beauty, Legend, and Daughter of Smoke & Bone. So forgive me if things are a little quiet around here. I just keep hoping to grow into my magical powers that will help me break this spell of winter.

leaves and flours vegan challah

I can't remember when I made this challah. I had promised Greg numerous times that I would make it, and I finally kept my promises. It's Isa's recipe from the PPK. The bread was wonderfully soft and fluffy and a beautiful shade of yellow. I felt like the banana flavor was a little too strong for me, so next time I might try to use either pumpkin puree or applesauce or some other sort of mixture to replace it. I forgot how much I love braiding bread. It's been so long since I was on a bread kick. There was a time where I was making the the yeast braid from Seitan is my Motor once a month or more.
Also in the last week I have learned that it is very difficult, but not impossible, to cook & eat dinner with a book in your hand. If you are right handed you probably want to save that hand for the stirring and what not, but you can set the book down on the edges of the stove that aren't hot and turn the pages with your right hand when needed. Also, it's best if it's a book that you bought so you don't smear pasta sauce or soup all over the pages before you return it to the library & sadden an actual teen. They have volatile emotions, so it could cause an uproar. And they might be a witch or a fairy or demon hunter, so it could turn out badly for you. Consider yourself forewarned.