Friday, October 17, 2008

I Hate Cookies

I'm not generally a fan of cookies.  I find those frisbees in jars on the counter of coffee shops totally unappealing, and there are few things in life that I get less excited about than the combo platters of chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, white chocolate and macadamia nut, and oatmeal raisin cookies that come with catered lunches at everyone's office.  There're all too greasy, too sweet, too something.  So when my mom told me she was making cookies for me during my last visit home, I was touched but less than enthused.  When she told me they were vegan cookies, my enthusiasm level plummeted.

Why vegan you may ask?  Well, my dear sister has been a devoted and strict vegan for many years.  Her extreme discipline allows her to live in a way that is perfectly consistent with her world view, whereas my distinct lack of discipline (I gave up red meat once in eighth grade, but capitulated almost immediately to a particularly fragrant Italian sausage) means that I am more of a rationalizer:  I feel that we as a country eat too much meat, which encourages the production of cheap meat, which in turn encourages inhumane practices in the meat and poultry business.  Therefore I try to keep my consumption on the low side, and buy meat and poultry products from yuppie stores in the hopes that the noble beasts that grace my plate have lived idyllic lives romping through bucolic clover fields and met their end in blissful ignorance.

But I digress.  As my parents are of the unfailingly supportive, "do what makes you happy" school of parenting, my mom occasionally buys vegan cookbooks to show solidarity with Robin.  Her latest discovery?  The Joy of Vegan Baking:  The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.  It is from this tome that the recipe for the greatest cookie in the world originates (and I do not use "cookie" as a pejorative here, these are really excellent).  So go forth, make these delightful morsels, and enjoy the fact that no poor cows have had to have their udders tweaked simply for your gustatory enjoyment.

Oatmeal Raising Cookies
From The Joy of Vegan Baking:  The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets

2 tablespoons (30 g) ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons (90 ml) water
1 cup (225 g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, softened (I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, which are available at Whole Foods)
1 1/2 cups (340 g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (220 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 g) oat bran
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups (240 g) rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup (145 g) raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly oil 3 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  In a blender or food processor, whip together the flaxseed and water until thick and creamy.  the consistency will be somewhat gelatinous.  By hand or using an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and flaxseed mixture, until well blended.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, oat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add to the butter mixture and mix until well blended and smooth.  Stir in the rolled oats and raisins until thoroughly combined.

Use a tablespoon to scoop up some dough and, with lightly greased hands, lightly press the cookies to form 1/2-inch thick rounds.  Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow the cookies to firm up for a few minutes while still on the cookie sheet.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  3 1/2 dozen cookies

Note:  I have found that these cookies tend to dry out a bit quicker than those made with butter, so if you do not plan to eat them with a day or two (probably best not to eat 40 cookies in a day or two actually), freeze them to maintain freshness.  

Also, an interesting thing I learned from this recipe is that one egg can be replaced by one tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water (so this recipe would have the equivalent of 2 eggs).  So if you're cooking, find that you're out of eggs but happen to have ground flaxseed sitting around, you're in luck!


Unknown said...

I'm on your blog! I'm famous!

Another note on egg replacement: you can also use a few tablespoons of yogurt, either soy or cow juice, which I use when I make scones. You can also use some soft tofu, but knowing your feelings on tofu ...

You may want to check out Celine on 'have cake, will travel', a fabulous vegan baking site, which will at least inspire you in spirit. She had a post a while back on egg replacements (she, like I, have found the dried 'egg replacer' on sale in markets to be unsatisfactory

Vegan Dad said...

I'm just here for moral support for Robin. Woot woot for vegan baking!

Laura said...

Love it! Welcome to the blog, can't believe I've got an international following!

Anonymous said...

n.b. You can overcome the problem of drying out (which we seldom have because they get eaten so fast) by freezing the ones you don't intend to eat immediately. This also helps out the diet, since frozen cookies are not so much fun for instant gratification.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone explained how sugar is filtered? Beef bones. This recipe has sugar and is not vegan by any stretch of the imagination.

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