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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 don’t like pie.  I’m not a pie kinda gal. When given the option, I will pretty much choose any dessert except pie. The only pie that I’ve even attempted to make is a chocolate silk pie and that’s sort of cheating since it’s a pre-made graham cracker crust and chocolate pudding.

BUT, when you make a pie into a cookie, I’m totally on board! My mom made these cookies last year and pretty much hasn’t stopped talking about them. I knew they had to make the cut when I was making my list for my cookie-a-thon.

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Pecan Pie Cookies
makes 24; I’m no sure where this recipe came from as it was emailed to me. If you know the source, please feel free to send it to me.

Cookie

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Filling

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (not lite)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all cookie ingredients except flour and baking powder in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking powder. Beat until well mixed.

Shape dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in each cookie with thumb; rotate thumb to hollow out slightly.

Combine all filling ingredients in small bowl; fill each cookie with 1 rounded teaspoon filling. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

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These cookies are SO good. With all the brown sugar that is packed into these babies, they are definitely sweet but the filling is so yummy! And they are just the perfect combo of two holiday favorites.

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Wicked Vegan- Mocha Macaroons1

Today, I flipped my countdown calendar and there was 7 days until Christmas. 7 DAYS!! I panicked. Then I doubly panicked when two of the gifts I ordered were cancelled or suddenly backordered. What is happening with the world when people are cancelling Christmas orders a week before Christmas?!

It just really hasn’t been a good day for Christmas cheer. On the plus side, I got some excellent Christmas movie suggestions from a bunch of you.

  1. Elf
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life
  3. Muppet Christmas Carol
  4. A Wish For Wings That Work
  5. Love Actually
  6. The Holiday
  7. The Family Stone
  8. Edward Scissorhands
  9. The Vicar of Dibley episodes when she marries Richard Armitage
  10. How I Met Your Mother Christmas episodes
  11. The Night They Saved Christmas
  12. Holiday Inn

I’ve never even heard of some of these! I started with Love Actually last night but promise I will attempt to see them all before Christmas. I love the challenge of working through a list!

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Today’s cookie combines my two favorite things- Coffee and Chocolate. God knows I will need coffee in whatever form I can get it in if I’m going to get everything done before Christmas. If it happens it come with a side of chocolate, even better!!

Mocha Macaroons
from Chocolate Covered Katie

  • 1 tbsp flour of choice (or protein powder)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder (wv note: I didn’t have instant coffee so I used regular coffee ground really, really fine and it was fine)
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • just over 1/16 tsp salt
  • melted chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a tall dish. If using a microwave, heat two minutes. Stir, then microwave one more minute or until firm enough to scoop out into ball shapes. (Or cook on the stovetop until it’s firm enough to scoop out.) Scoop into balls on a cookie tray—I used a cookie scoop. Cook at 360 F for 14-16 minutes. Let cool before removing from tray.

Line a plate with wax paper. Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, place on the wax paper, and let set (you can refrigerate or freeze them if you need them to set faster)  Makes 12-22 cookies, depending on the size cookie scoop you use.

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I’m a fan of these. I love coconut macaroons, I love chocolate/coffee and I love how easy they come together. Just dump everything in a bowl and bake. If you are looking for something more festive for a holiday party, you could add seasonal sprinkles before the chocolate dries. As I am normally not a Christmas girl, I have amount a million halloween sprinkles and zero Christmas ones. But definitely go crazy with the Christmas cheer!

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some serious Christmas movie watching to do!

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Yesterday there was no Day 4 of 12 Days of (vegan) Christmas cookies and here’s why- Procrastination failed me for the first time ever.

See, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Procrastination and I go way back, like Middle School days. I had to write a paper for DARE, waited until the night before and won an award. It was all down hill after that. Making an entire Civil War scrapbook for high school, complete with tea stained pages? Done the night before. Got an A++ (yeah, I was that girl). Final papers in college that were an obscene amount of my grade? Done the night before, hopped up on instant vanilla cappuccinos for the machine. Still got A’s and B’s.

All of these instances turned out great. So when I went to photograph pictures for the carrot cake cookies at the last moment because I didn’t get a chance to photograph them over the weekend, I totally thought I could make it work! Turns out, no natural light and a poorly lit apartment are more powerful than my relationship with procrastination. These are the pictures I got:

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Gah! Bad. Is that corn in there? What is happening? Who would want to eat that?

So I have learned my lesson and will do my best not to procrastinate. And here are some lemon thumbprint cookies that look about a thousand times more edible than that cookie up there.

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Lemon Thumbprint Cookies with Vanilla Blueberry Chia Jam
makes approximately 30 cookies

Jam:
from Oh She Glows

  • 3 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cookies:
veganized from The Foodie Affair

 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter, like Earth Balance, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Ener-G eggs (if you are making this non-vegan, The Foodie Affair used 2 egg yolks)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour

 

For the jam:

  • Add frozen blueberries and maple syrup into a medium pot and bring to a simmer.
  • After 5 minutes or so, stir in the chia seeds.
  • Continue to cook down the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours to thicken it up even more.

You can serve it as is or if you want it smoother, mash it with a potato masher or use an immersion blender. I used an immersion blender as I don’t like chunky jam. Also, this recipe makes a lot so you will have leftovers. It is great on toast, ice cream, etc.

For the cookies:

  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • With a mixer, beat Earth Balance and sugar together in a large bowl until well combined. Beat in Ener-G eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.
  • On low-speed, beat in flour just until large moist clumps form. You may need to use your hands at this point to form one large ball. (WV note: I did not have this problem which could be because I used vegan ingredients. I want to leave it in incase it does occur to your recipe or you are making this non-vegan)
  • Roll tablespoons of dough into balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Make a deep indentation in center of each ball.
  • Fill the indentations with your blueberry jam.
  • Bake cookies until firm and lightly golden on bottom, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can wait to fill your cookies after you bake them. Just make your indentation as noted above and bake like that for 18-20 minutes. I preferred baking the jam in the cookie because I found that it helped thicken the jam further, keeping it on the cookie; that it provided a moisture cookie; and when the cookies are baked without the jam, the indentations kind of disappear a bit. But you can make them however you prefer.


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These cookies are definitely an ode to my mom, who loves all things lemon. When I was making my cookie list, my initial list had 12 chocolate cookies with minor variations- chocolate and peanut butter, chocolate and mint, chocolate and chocolate… I realized that I wasn’t exactly providing a wide variety of options so I spiced things up a bit and made sure I included a cookie for the non-chocolate lovers.

Now, I’m thinking of pulling an all-nighter, College style, to complete my Christmas cards for tomorrows. Leave me your suggestions on your favorite holiday movies to get me in the spirit and keep me going through those long hours of gluing.

 

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Living with roommates is hard. Like, really hard. Sometimes, they fill the sink with dirty dishes and take forever to clean them. Sometimes, they don’t do their portion of the chores and the bathroom ends up going weeks without being cleaned. Seriously, three girls with longish hair and one tiny bathroom? I assure you, it gets nasty. Sometimes, they don’t replace commonly use items as quickly as you’d like and you just need olive oil, damnit!! How am I suppose to make popcorn without olive oil!!
Yeap. Living with roommates can be hard.
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Know what can help? Taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that you being the only person in the house putting the toilet on the roll is not the end of the world. You gotta pick your battles, you know?
And if things are still tense in the house? Make cookies. No seriously, make cookies and then share them with your roomies when they’re still warm. Because who can seriously be mad while they are eating soft cookies with gooey chocolate?
Just, you know, make sure you clean up your dishes after you’re done baking.
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The Fluffiest, Softest Chocolate Chip Cookies 
veganized from Apple A Day
makes approximately 20 with a standard cookie scoop
Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
1 Ener-G egg 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. vegan chocolate, I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (see my original post on alternatives and where to find vegan chocolate)
 
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add Ener-G egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (do NOT cook longer then 10 minutes. The tops won’t brown and they may look slightly undercooked but that’s ok. They will continue to cook on the pan.)
5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.
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I can not express how much I love these cookies. They are hands down one of the best chocolate chip cookies to come out of my kitchen, second only to the mint chocolate chip cookies my mom and I make. The chocolate chunks are really a must. They elevate the cookie from a 10 to an 11. In fact, when faced with making a bunch of new cookies for the coming week, I really just wanted to make these again. And then hoard them all. And not share any.
Seriously, go make these cookies and report back to me so we can gush about how good they are.

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