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There was no post yesterday courtesy of Holiday festivities which I’m sure everyone can relate to. There are never enough hours in the day during the holiday season!

So, let’s talk Tangerine Butter Cookies. When compiling the list of cookies I was planning on making, I had to make a conscious effort not to make all chocolate cookies. Especially chocolate peppermint. I think at one point I had 4 chocolate peppermint cookies on my list. Not exactly an exciting selection. So here is my attempt to diversify!

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Tangerine Butter Cookies

Veganized from Better Homes and Garden

makes about 5 dozen cookies; potential 30 minutes of chilling required depending on dough.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 tsp finely shredded tangerine peel or orange peel
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (white was suggested but I had yellow on hand and the cookies turned out fine)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

In a very large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs, tangerine peel, vanilla, and orange extract until combined. Gradually beat in oil until smooth. Beat in cornmeal. Beat in flour. If the dough becomes too thick for your mixer, stir remaining flour in by hand (I did not have this problem). If necessary, cover and chill for 30 to 60 minutes or until dough is easy to handle. (Again, I did not have to do this).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, press an “X” into each ball of dough. I did mine lightly since I would be redoing the “X” when the cookies were removed from the oven.
Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until tops are set. This will result in a cookie with a crunchy outside and a chewy inside. If you prefer an entirely crunchy cookie, cook until just starting to turn light brown. While warm, lightly press again with wooden skewer to make deeper “X” indentations. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

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This seemed like a good cookie for those non-chocolate folks out there. You see a lot of lemon cookies so I liked how these were a little unusual. If you brought them to a holiday party, I think they would stand out amongst the gingerbread and chocolate peppermint cookies.

 

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Oooooh man! The universe is testing my dedication to this cookie challenge. First it was the peanut butter cups yesterday that turned out not to be vegan and now it’s the disappearance of my memory card reader. Well you know what Universe? Challenge accepted!

This whole post will be done on my phone. So take that!

Today’s recipe is my vegan take on a Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie. I thought peanut butter cookies were good but ‘Nutella’ cookies may have trumped them.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
veganized from American Heritage Cooking;
makes approximately 20 cookies; 2 hour chilling required

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance, softened
  • heaping 1/3 cup Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut spread
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life morsels)

*For those of you new to vegan baking, you can find Ener-G egg here or I have found it at Whole Foods and Stop and Shop. It’s becoming pretty common. Don’t be put off by the price. It will last you forever! I bake a lot and have had mine for over a year. Earth Balance butter can also be found at most grocery store chains now.

** For non-vegans, you can substitute real butter, eggs and chocolate chips in place  vegan version at a 1:1 ratio across the board.

Instructions

  1. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat together butter, Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut spread, sugars, egg, and vanilla on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well combined, about 4 minutes, scrapping down the sides of necessary.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until well combined, scraping down the sides if necessary.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° . Roll into 1 inch balls and place dough 1 inch apart on a parchment line baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until the edges are set and the tops have just started to brown.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool.

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I was a little worried about this recipe and that the Justin’s would produce a drier cookie then those made with Nutella. I did not have any problem at all, though. These cookies are moist and fluffy with just a hint of hazelnut. Definitely a nice change from a traditional chocolate cookies.

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Today I learned a very important lesson about veganism that I should have learned long ago- Read food labels closely. In an attempt to make this cookie challenge fun, I wanted to try lots of new recipes with new ingredients. I had had my mind set on using these mini peanut butter cups that Justin’s recently released. I had tried them as a free sample at Whole Foods one day (after I checked with those handing them out that they were vegan).  So, when I made my list of cookies I wanted to make, peanut butter cookies stuffed with peanut butter cups were high on my list.

I decided to give a peanut butter cookies recipe a whirl this afternoon. As the dough was chilling and I was unwrapping a million Justin’s mini peanut butter cups, I happened to glance at the ingredients list and smiled. No dairy listed. Oh wait, what is that note at the bottom? “Contains: peanuts, soy and milk”? Well, crap.

And that wasn’t even the first time I did that during this challenge. I had found a recipe for chocolate peppermint cookies that sounded delicious but it had chocolate pudding in it. I had my heart set on a chocolate peppermint recipe so I started poking around to find a dry vegan chocolate pudding mix. Come to find out, Jello Chocolate pudding is in fact vegan, if I just took the time to read the ingredients. I know right?! No dairy or gelatin! Much like Oreos, which are always accidentally vegan, it’s mostly just chemicals and sugar. Not exactly something you want to eat on the regular but makes for a great once-a-year holiday cookie.

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Chocolate Peppermint Pudding Cookies
veganized from Chef-in-Training

  • ¾ cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 small package (3.9 oz) Jello Chocolate instant pudding mix, dry (or any other dry pudding, such as European Gourmet Bakery Pudding which is a bit more natural then Jello and also vegan)
  • Ener-G eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 cup Wilton Sprinkles Peppermint Crunch . I found mine at Target.(of if you aren’t a vegan, you can use Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips, which can also be found at Target)
  • 1 cup Vegan Chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life)

*For those of you new to vegan baking, you can find Ener-G egg here or I have found it at Whole Foods and Stop and Shop. It’s becoming pretty common. Don’t be put off by the price. It will last you forever! I bake a lot and have had mine for over a year. Earth Balance butter can also be found at most grocery store chains now.

** For non-vegans, you can substitute real milk, butter, eggs and chocolate chips in place  vegan version at a 1:1 ratio across the board. As mentioned above, the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips can be used in place of the Peppermint Sprinkles)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Beat in dry instant pudding mix.
  3. Add Ener-G eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
  4. Add baking soda and flour and beat until well incorporated.
  5. Stir in Peppermint Crunch and semi-sweet chocolate chunks.
  6. Roll into 1″ balls and place on a greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will firm up when they cool so don’t over cook them. Cook until the centers are set.

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Chocolate and peppermint aren’t my normal go-to but it’s just so perfect during the holidays. These cookies are  fudgy  with just the right amount of peppermint. They would be perfect with hot chocolate, coffee or for Santa on Christmas morning!

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I discovered today that when it comes to Christmas shopping, I am in severe denial. About the whole process. After much consideration (aka: procrastination), I determined that Wednesday, or today, would be the best day to go Christmas Shopping. I was thinking people would take off a Monday or a Friday to avoid the holiday crowds that descend on all shopping areas during December but a Wednesday? Less likely. Also, anymore procrastination was going to result in a panic attack. I just needed to get it done!

So, ever the optimist, I gave myself four hours. I’d be up and out of the house by 9, at the mall nice and early, and be outta there before rush hour and home in time to post Day 2 of Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies well before dinner.

Reality was more like- leave an hour and a half later than planned, circle around the mall parking lot flinging curses at all the people who did get their early and stole my parking space, wandering the mall aimlessly, finally deciding on something and finding it’s not in the size I need, waiting in a mile long lines to order the size I need which takes forever and earns me numerous nasty looks from those waiting behind you (that’s right old man behind me grumbling because he had to wait around while holding sexy lingerie. Maybe you should have ordered in online!), more wandering, more waiting in line, more ordering and more nasty looks, until I finally crawled into Starbucks for a hit of caffeine. Honestly, I really would have preferred a margarita. I mean, the guy with the lingerie was really old. I really, really hope it was for a much younger mistress.

But, after all that, my Christmas shopping is done (ok, like 99.99% done) and I can finally get around to posting todays cookies recipe!

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COWBOY COOKIES
veganized from Averie Cooks
m
akes approximately 20 cookies; Requires 2 hours of chilling time in the fridge

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned whole-rolled oats (not quick-cook or instant)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup Cornflakes or Special K cereal (or a similar cereal. I used Special K)
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

*For those of you new to vegan baking, you can find Ener-G egg here or I have found it at Whole Foods and Stop and Shop. It’s becoming pretty common. Don’t be put off by the price. It will last you forever! I bake a lot and have had mine for over a year.

** For non-vegans, you can substitute real milk, butter and eggs for the vegan version at a 1:1 ratio across the board.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) add the egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined.
  2. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and beat on low-speed until just combined.
  3. Add the chocolate chips, Cornflakes, coconut, pecans, and beat on low-speed until just combined.
  4. Using a cookie scoop or 1/4 measuring cup form approximately equal-sized mounds of dough. I used a standard cookie scoop and got approximately 20 cookies.
  5. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until edges have set and tops are just set.  Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
  7. A note from Avery Cooks, which I did not try: Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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I’m a huge fan of these cookies. They are so hearty and full of texture. I was especially excited to cook with Special K, which I had never tried in cookies before! You could definitely still get a crunch from them, which I didn’t expect at all.

Anyways, now that this blog is up and Christmas shopping is behind be, about that margarita…

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I’m going to be honest with you- I was a little on the fence about these cookies. I made them after a batch of Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, which were AH-Mazing (recipe coming soon) and hard to top. I put them toward the back of my mind debating what I should do with them. “Then why did you put them as your very first cookie”, you may be wondering? Because I did not give them a fair shake! My brain was clouded with thoughts of chocolate when I first tasted them. It’s would be like comparing a chocolate fudge cake with blueberry pie. Two different desserts but both equally good when your in the mood for them, you know?

When I revisited these cookies, I became obsessed! The maple frosting is the best part, hands down. Trust me when I say, don’t skimp on the frosting!! I originally made a half batch of the frosting because I feel like there is always extra you don’t know what to do with but that was a huge mistake. I ended up having to leave a few unfrosted and it was a borderline travesty.

Plus, these got thumb-up from more then a few non-vegans. My roommates raved about them. I guarantee no one will know they are vegan at your next Christmas party and you will be guaranteed at least one vegan dessert. Just make sure you put some aside for yourself because they will go fast!
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Cinnamon Sugar Cookies with Maple Frosting
veganized from Minimalist Baker
makes roughly 36 cookies; Requires 30 minutes of chilling time in the fridge

COOKIES

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Ener-G egg*
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I used Unsweetened Original Almond Milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), softened
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp maple extract (I found mine at Target)
  • 2-4 Tbsp almond milk, or to desired consistency

*For those of you new to vegan baking, you can find Ener-G egg here or I have found it at Whole Foods and Stop and Shop. It’s becoming pretty common. Don’t be put off by the price. It will last you forever! I bake a lot and have had mine for over a year.

** For non-vegans, you can substitute real milk, butter and eggs for the vegan version at a 1:1 ratio across the board.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cream sugar and vegan butter with mixer; add Ener-G egg and beat until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3.  Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture while mixing. Then add vanilla and stir.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Roll out on floured surface, cut into squares and bake for 10-11 minutes.
  7. To make the frosting, cream softened vegan butter with 1 cup of the powdered sugar and then slowly add in the rest.
  8. Add maple extract and almond milk, and stir. The consistency you’re looking for is thick and spreadable.
  9. Frost cookies, sprinkle with cinnamon or holiday sprinkles and enjoy!

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What are some holiday cookies that you are making this year??

Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Oh Christmas time. If you have read my blog previously, you know that Christmas is not my favorite time of year- Christmas carols playing in every single store you visit; Really, really lame Christmas movies on TV; not being able to find parking in my preferred area of the mall; the stress of Christmas shopping. I tend to find my Christmas spirit the week of Christmas. That’s when I really start to get pumped for the holiday.

This year I started a bit early, though. I’ve had more free time on my hands then ever before and have been able to do things that I never had time for during Christmas- making my own Christmas cards and presents, having more time to shop and most importantly, more time to make holiday cookies. Oh yes. Christmas cookies are hands down my favorite part of the holidays! Last year, I tried to do Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies for you but wasn’t able to make it through because of how busy I was at work. This year, though, this year I will be completing my Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies, gosh darn it, and it’s going to be awesome!!

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Pecan Pie Cookie

To kick off the cookie baking season, here is a round up of my some of my favorite cookies to date:

Chai Spiced Cookies with Pumpkin

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Healthy Cookie Dough Bites

Holiday Ginger cookies

Lemon Thumbprint Cookie with Vanilla Blueberry Chia Jam

Mocha Macaroons

Peanut Butter Triple Chocolate Cookies

Pecan Pie Cookie

Pinwheel Sugar Cookie

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tune in tomorrow for the first new cookies recipe of the season!

Wicked Vegan Lentil Loaf 7

Aww. My poor, neglected blog! 2015 has not been a blog productive year for me. No matter what is going on in my life though, when there is a holiday around the corner, I feel the pull of Wicked Vegan. I love sharing seasonal vegan recipes around the holidays. It makes me feel festive and creative.

I am currently at my parent’s house for the week to help out for Thanksgiving. I am so spoiled having the house to myself all day long. I was able to spread my laundry out all over the laundry room and divide them as a I like instead of throwing everything in one load so I don’t have to pay more then I have to. I’ve been working on much neglected crafts, some for Christmas, some for me. And I’ve been able to rock out to the Taking Back Sunday pandora station on full blast, belting out embarrassing songs from my high school years while cooking in a kitchen that is MUCH larger then mine without annoying a single soul. It is FANTASTIC.

One of those dishes being cooked while dancing around to New Found Glory is this puff pastry wrapped Lentil Loaf. My parents have realized having me around all day is advantageous because I can make them dinner! So I made this one night thinking it would also be a perfect main dish for Thanksgiving. It’s hearty, really pretty and as my meat eating parents stated, “doesn’t have anything weird in it”. lol! It true that I have a bit of a different palette from them but I think this is a dish that could be passed off to most people without raising any eyebrows. I mean, as much as I love Tofurkey, especially for Thanksgiving sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving, there ain’t no way I’m going to be able to pass that off to my relatives!

Wicked Vegan Lentil Loaf Collage

PUFF PASTRY WRAPPED LENTIL LOAF
Prep time:  50 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  1 hour 30 mins
Serves: Makes two loaves, serves 8
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Sheets of Puff Pastry, Thawed (Check to make sure they are vegan, most brands are)
  • 1 Cup uncooked Lentils (I used green but red or brown can also be used)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • ½ Cup Pecans
  • ½ Cup Walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Flax
  • 1/3 Cup Warm Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 1- 8 oz. Tub (around 3 1/2 cups) of Mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • ½ teaspoons Salt (or more to taste)
  • Several Grinds of Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne
  • ¾ Cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ Cup Flour
  • Couple Tablespoons of Non-Dairy Milk to brush on the pastry (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
  2. Rinse the lentils, then add the rinsed lentils to a pot with the vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a simmer and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes until liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft, even mushy.
  3. Take an immersion blender or potato masher and mash the lentils until about two thirds of the lentils are mush.
  4. In the meantime, chop the nuts and put them in a dry pan over medium heat. Toast them, keeping an eye on them for about 10 minutes until they are all toasty and fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the flax and warm water and set aside to thicken.
  6. Chop up the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat, then sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they begin to soften up, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes until the mushrooms have shrunken and become juicy. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne and sauté about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  8. In a large bowl, mix everything together- the lentils, toasted nuts, veggies, flax mixture, the oats and the flour. *Up to this point, you can do everything a head of time. I made the lentil mixture 4 days before using and did not have any problems with it. Just cover it really well and pop it into your fridge until you are ready to use it. If you were doing this for Thanksgiving, I would make the mixture  and put the puff pastry in the fridge the night before. The next morning, you just have to do the below steps and it will come together nice and quickly*
  9. On a lightly floured surface roll out one of the puff pastry sheets until you get a rectangle that is about 10 inches by 14 inches. Transfer the pastry sheet to parchment paper. At this point you have two options:
    1. Just roll up your lentil loaf in the puff pastry.  Take half of the lentil mixture and form a loaf shape down the middle of the puff pastry, leaving a bit of room at both ends. Use your hands to pat the mixture into a firm log. Wrap up the loaf any way you see fit.
    2. Go for the WOW factory with the weave texture shown in the picture. Use the back of a knife to make a guide dividing the pastry into three even sections. Then cut angled strips down each side about 1 inch wide. Cut off the top two and bottom two strips so that you have two end flaps. Place half of the lentil mixture down the centre of the dough and using your hands, pat into a firm loaf shape. Now fold up the top flap over the end, then take the top right strip and fold over the loaf. Take the top left strip, and fold that over, making an x. Do this all the way down the crossing alternative strips. Try to keep the strips close together leaving only small gaps. Once you get near the bottom, fold the bottom flap up, then finish braiding the last strips tucking the ends into anywhere they look good. (see the above picture for a visual).
  10. Repeat with the remaining pastry and lentil mixture so you have two loaves.
  11. Optional: Brush the top with non-dairy milk and move to a baking sheet. I did not do this and I thought my puff pastry still came out nicely.
  12. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes checking every now and then until it’s all golden brown and gorgeous. Serve with gravy, BBQ sauce, ketchup or cranberry sauce.

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This recipe reheats nicely as well. I will usually pop it back in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 and let it reheat. The pastry stays flaky and doesn’t get soggy.

What are you making for the Thanksgiving holiday? What are you most looking forward to? I can’t wait to get my hands on some stuff and some green bean casserole!!

If you are in need of some inspiration, check out last year’s Thanksgiving Round Up . I have a green bean casserole recipe on there from a few years back that was so good I was eating it out of the pan.