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Posts Tagged ‘pecans’

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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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Two weekends ago, Melinda and Amelia came over for a dessert baking party. Wine was opened, chocolate was melted and these bars were inhaled. I’m not exaggerating. Melinda wouldn’t even wait for them to set! The pan of Trail Mix Seven layer bars was passed around between all of us on the couch (including two of my roommates) and we ate them directly from the pan.

With our hands.

I wish I was kidding.

I wish we could say we were stoned to at least excuse our behavior but nope! They were just delicious and that’s the only excuse we had!

I woke up the next morning to find a tiny little corner piece was all that remained. The five of us ate almost the whole pan! Clearly, a photograph was not taken and even if it was, I don’t think any of us want us unceremoniously shoving trail mix bars into our faces with our hands to be available on the internet!

Either way, I was forced to make them again for you so I could actually get a picture.

Trail Mix Seven Layer Bars
inspired by Vegan Baking

Crust:

  • 9 cinnamon graham crackers (one packet in Honey Graham Set)*
  • 5 TBSP of coconut oil, melted
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup apple juice infused dried cherries (or regular dried cherries)
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 cup condensed milk (recipe here. I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk this time)

Prepare the condensed milk ahead of time.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.

Put the graham crackers in a large ziploc baggy and crush until the graham cracker are roughly the texture of sand. (You can use a food processor but honestly, why lug it out and then have to wash the whole darn thing when crushing them works just as easily??).  Add coconut oil, water and salt to  your crushed graham crackers, seal up the bag and mush it all around until everything is well incorporated.

Dump the graham cracker crumbs into your 8×8 pan. Spread evenly. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press down on the crumbs until they are tightly packed together.

Cover the graham crackers with the toppings. Pour the condensed milk over the toppings.

Bake for 35 minutes.  Once removed from the oven, allow to cool completely before cutting into it. I would recommend putting it in the fridge overnight. If you don’t let it cool, it will just be a crumbly mess of ingredients. I mean, it will still be delicious! But it won’t hold together in bar form. Trust me…the crumbly mess is what we ate the first go around because we were impatient.

*I know graham crackers often have honey in them. I could not find honey-less graham crackers when I was at Whole Foods but I don’t have an issue with honey so I went ahead and used them. Also, the Honey Graham brand and Whole Food’s 365 brand had mostly the same ingredients. If you are looking for a honey-less, more all-natural version, I would recommend trying to make these and swap out the honey for agave syrup or maple syrup. These have been on my ‘to-make’ list forever but this recipe wasn’t the time to try it.

The idea for these came about because my cafetaria at work always has seven layer bars and they are sooo good. and sooo not vegan. This was my vegan version. It’s a little heartier with all the fruit and nuts. The great thing about these is, like trail mix, you can customize it to your liking. You could swap out the cherries for raisin (eww, please don’t) or dried blueberries. You could swap out the almonds and pecans for different types of nuts. And you could use any time of non-dairy milk for the condensed milk.

Now seriously, go make these. And maybe have a fork ready so you don’t end up eating them with your hands. Though…I hear all the cool kids are doing that…just sayin’.

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In case you haven’t realized yet, I go through phases where I’m obsessed with something, can’t live without it, then am over it a week later.

Past obsessions:

Fun.- We are Young. I listened to this over and over again until I was sick of it. Then I went out and bought the CD. It’s not too bad!

–  Strawberry margaritas. Seriously, I couldn’t make another batch of strawberry simple syrup or I would be certifiably a lush!

– avocados. I’m. Still. Obsessed! I may even have another avocado recipe for you in a week or so if I ever stop shoveling my new favorite meal in my mouth and take a picture of it!

Current obsessions:

This song. I don’t know why-I don’t even really like Pop music. It just gets stuck in my head and I need to listen to it. My roommate actually caught me listening to it really, really loudly and dancing around the kitchen while making peanut butter cookie dough cups. He’s a music major…I’m pretty sure he was judging my music choice.

– Cranberry Blood Orange tea by Republic of Tea. I gave up coffee for lent and pretty much had two cups of this tea every. single. day to help me get through. Now, I can’t say I miss coffee too much (as I sit drinking a cup…)

– I know I’ve mentioned this before but- Pineapple Chipotle Salsa from Stonewall Kitchen. Get yourself a jar…or barrel, and LOTS of chips. There’s nothing worse then running out of chips and having this jar of salsa taunting you in the fridge… which is my current life. 

– Dried cherries infused with apple juice. Best. Dried Fruit. Ever. I love how chewy and a little sour they are. Dare I say, they are like the healthier, adult  version of sour patch kids? I bought them on a whim at Whole Foods and…it led to this recipe:

Whole Wheat Cherry Pecan Cookies
adapted from Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) earth balance, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 flax seed “eggs” (2 TBSP ground flax seed, 6 TBSP water)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix up your flaxseed eggs and set aside for 10 minutes.

Mix your flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cream the Earth balance, white sugar and sucanat together. Add the flaxseed eggs and mix until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Fold in the cherries, pecans, and chocolate chips. Drop by TBSP onto the prepared baking sheet (no need to roll them into balls). Bake for 9-11 minutes.** Let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes then move them to a cooling rack.

* I subbed out the brown sugar for sucanat because that’s what I had in my cabinet and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Because sucanat has bigger granuales then white sugar and definitely bigger then traditional brown sugar which you usually pack into measuring cups, my cookie was less sweet. It worked well with the whole flour, nuts and dried fruit them. It made for a healthier tasting cookie.

** I like my cookies undercooked so I pulled these out after 9 minutes and then let the sit on the baking sheet for another 9 or 10 minutes. They continue to cook a bit and firm up but the center still stays soft. I love them like that! If you want yours a little more cooked, just keep them in for a little longer.

I was pleasantly surprised by these cookies! I’m not usually big into dried fruits in my baked goods but I love those dried cherries so much that I couldn’t resist trying them in a cookie! Like I said above, the combination of the whole flour, nuts, fruits and sucanat resulted in a less sweet, a little bit heartier feeling cookie. Plus, you can use whatever is in your cabinet for this recipe- almonds instead of pecans, raisins or craisins instead of cherries, etc. I should have just called this “the whatever is in my cabinet” cookie. =)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put on Call Me, Maybe…again…and pretend I’m Selena Gomez. Dont judge…

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So, its Monday- again. Poor Monday. Does anyone really like waking up after a too short weekend to find that they have arrived at Monday? I’m thinking no.

Lucky for you, I have an amazing cookie recipe for you! So these came about at the request of the Premium Billing Department at my place of employment.  See, the weekly Monday baked goods began as something I did for my floor. It has kind of escalated to the point where I have an emailing list that stretches across three departments. Despite this, I still manage to miss people and those people always seem to be in the Premium Billing Department. Because, for whatever reason, no one shares the knowledge that there are homemade cookies available to their fellow employees. Or, as I found out Friday, they hoard them/ration them out as they deem fit and it seems PBD are the ones that are often shafted.

Or so they say. I suspect they just may be the most vocal =)

Regardless, after getting two more people to add to my emailing list in the PBD, they asked what I was bring Monday and I couldn’t tell them. No seriously, I had no ideas. I had a laundry list of things to do this weekend floating around in my head and what I was making for work wasn’t even on there. So they suggested dark chocolate craisins. Actually, they first requested no peanut butter (to which I concluded they were insane) and then they requested dark chocolate craisins.

So I mulled it over. I could do a standard chocolate chip cookie with craisins but where’s the pizzazz? Where’s the excitement?? Then it occurred to me…Hersey’s Dark Cocoa Powder! I’ve been DYING to try this product. It’s been popping up all over my baking blogs and I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Good thing I was right across the street from the brand new Wegmans in Mass this weekend. They were well stocked!!

Double Dark Chocolate Craisin Cookies (with pecans)
adapted from Toll House’s Double Chocolate Cookies and a White Chocolate Craisin cookie recipe

2 cups all purpose flour

¾ cup of Hersey’s Dark Cocoa baking powder

1 tsp of baking soda

½ tsp of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) of Earth Balance vegan butter, softened

2/3 cup white sugar

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2 Ener-G “eggs”

¾ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks (I used Bakers. They were huge though. I think next time I’d used the 365 Semi-Sweet mini chocolate chunks)

1 cup of craisins

¼ cup of pecans, finely chopped (Optional)

½ tsp of white sugar (optional)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until creamy. Add “eggs” one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Gradually add in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and craisins.

Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the pecans and ½ tsp of white sugar. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into balls. Press one side into the pecan mixture. This works best if the pecans are very finely chopped. Since the dough is cold, larger peaces had a hard time sticking. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes. The dough will not spread out but they will crack letting you know they are done. Let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

If you do not have the time to chill these, you can make these into drop cookies. Just mix the pecans in with the chocolate chunks and craisin, drop rounded TBSP onto greased cookie sheet and bake for around 9 minutes. I opted to put the pecans on the outside because I was only doing half the batter with nuts as some people are allergic/don’t like them.  

Plus, I thought it’d look cool =)

These cooks are very rich but they aren’t too sweet. If I’m not making them for others, I think I would add the pecans to the mixture since I like them and it cuts the richness of the chocolate. Also, the craisins get a little overwhelmed with all the chocolate but I like the idea that they are there.

I think if these cookies should probably be called the PMS cookies because I’m pretty sure they would hit the spot for those chocolate cravings!!

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