The Twelve Days of Vegan Cookies: Days 3 & 4: Easy Chewy Vegan Molasses Cookies and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.

My work week was super busy, so I made two very easy recipes Wednesday and today for days 3 and 4. In the kitchen, I move slowly. I enjoy baking and don’t rush, cleaning as I go. Both of these recipes took about fifteen minutes to prepare (not including baking time), so there’s really no excuse NOT to makes them. (Except maybe diabetes.)

Easy Chewy Vegan Molasses Cookies from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

I didn’t know if I’d like these, but I had molasses in the pantry. (I can’t even remember why I bought it–it was unopened.) It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is a great resource for newer vegans (and lazy vegans like me). When they say a recipe is easy, it really is. This one is no exception. One bowl, fifteen minutes, and you’re ready to bake cookies that taste like they took two hours. The texture is perfect–a little crispy outside and chewy inside–and the flavor is complex. I love ginger, but if you don’t, you should reduce or omit it. It’s very distinct in this recipe. (I often eyeball measurements, but for these posts I have been measuring exactly.) “Fancy” molasses are called for, but my molasses were not fancy. For the vegan butter, I used Earth Balance Original (there are like ten kinds now!).


Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Nora Cooks

First of all, about a third of the new recipes I try are from Nora. She knows what I like. Quickbreads are a staple in my house, and the zucchini bread and banana bread I bake most often are her recipes. My other go-to vegan recipe sites include The Simple Veganista, Minimalist Baker, and Isa Chandra’s The Post Punk Kitchen. A coworker recently introduced me to Rabbit and Wolves, and I am OBSESSED. (Make the Sticky Lemon Tofu and thank me later.)

Back to the cookies. Like the molasses cookies, these are incredibly easy to make. Also just one bowl and fifteen minutes! I substituted one serving (one tablespoon) Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer for the ground flax. For the non-dairy milk I used Minor Figures Oat Milk, which I get with my produce delivery from Misfits Market (get 25% off here) as an add-on for $2.19. I would normally use melted coconut oil, but I was out, so I used regular old supermarket brand canola oil. Nora suggests you use a sifter or a fine mesh strainer because cocoa powder has a tendency to clump. This was a good call on her part. The most challenging task is putting together the balls of dough before rolling them in the powdered sugar. I kept getting a lot of dough stuck to my hands, so I started rinsing them between every 3 or 4 cookies. Problem solved. The recipe says they will look underdone when they come out of the oven, and they will. Do not cook them longer. Let them set for 15 minutes or so. That underdone-seemingness is why they end up so soft and delicious.

They come out looking very pretty, encrusted with powdered sugar. The flavor is chocolatey and just the right amount of sweet. The texture is light. So light that I ate five before I realized I had spoiled my dinner.

The Twelve Days of Vegan Cookies: Day 2, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip

If you love soft-baked chocolate chip cookies as I do, this recipe from The Viet Vegan is a clever variation on a classic–there’s just enough pumpkin flavor to make them taste a little different, but it’s definitely not overwhelming. My dogs were beyond thrilled when they realized I wasn’t using the whole can of pumpkin puree–pumpkin and sweet potato are among their favorite treats.

Making the dough is super easy and can be accomplished with just one bowl for easy clean-up, too. I only made one change to the recipe as written–I substituted Enjoy Life Mega Chocolate Chunks for regular-sized chocolate chips. There’s almost nothing better than cookies almost straight out of the oven, and the chocolate chunks made it a delightfully messy experience.

Difficulty Level: Super easy

Time in the kitchen: About 30 minutes

Omnivore rating: “These are vegan?”

The Twelve Days of Vegan Cookies: Day 1, Peanut Butter Thumbprints

My favorite thing about the holidays is even more sweet treats than usual. So I’ve decided to bake twelve kinds of holiday cookies between now and the end of the year. I love baking, and it’s easy to find a recipe for a vegan version of your favorite holiday cookies. If not, I can probably veganize it. (Hit me up if you have one you want to make.)

Day 1, Dec. 11: Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

I hadn’t planned to make these first, but I can’t resist fulfilling the wishes of my favorite guy, so I made them first. I’m a flavor-over-presentation baker, but these are both pretty and delicious. As a starting point, I used Purely Kaylie’s Plant-Based Recipes’ Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms recipe.

I made a few adjustments:

  1. I don’t fuck around with making flax eggs when Bob’s Red Mill has already made the most perfect and easy Egg Replacer. So out with the flax egg and in with one serving of this.
  2. I did not use a hand mixer to cream the Earth Balance (butter) and sugars together–I have always done it by hand with a wooden spoon, no problem.
  3. A bit more brown sugar, closer to 3/4 cup rather than 1/2 cup. (I have a serious sweet tooth.)

I expected they’d be tasty–and they were perfect–but I did not expect for them to be so pretty, too.

Tip: If you haven’t the time or inclination to make your own chocolate kisses (also easy), just stick some Enjoy Life Mega Chocolate Chunks or half of a Lily’s peanut butter cup (they come in both dark and “milk” chocolate) on top.

Difficulty Level: Easy-ish

Time in the kitchen: About 45 minutes

Omnivore rating: “Yum.”

Mama’s Lean Times Tomato Cabbage Soup

Note: This was originally posted on my yoga teaching website, www.nicolemarkyoga.net, in June 2012. I made a few edits to the recipe thanks to some experimentation in the kitchen. I wanted to re-post this because it’s a favorite, and because I’ve been cooking at home a lot more on a much tighter budget than I’ve worked with in a while. This nourishing meal will give you dinner for two plus lunch for at least two more days, and winter is a great time to enjoy a hearty soup.

For most of our childhoods, my brother, sister, and I had it really, really good. We lived in lovely homes in suburban Baltimore County, Maryland and Central Florida, traveled extensively and were loved dearly. Of the meals my dear Mother prepared at home, I never remember meeting one I didn’t like. (Some of you may be surprised to know–and some not at all surprised–that as a tot, my favorite meal was my Mom’s homemade, gourmet-as-any-restaurant boeuf bourguignon).

There were some lean times, financially speaking, that I never knew about until my early adulthood.  During these times, my Mother kept us well-fed and blissfully ignorant of the family finances. One of my favorite meals she prepared then, and a real comfort food for me now, is this super-easy-to-make and super cheap tomato cabbage soup. Since I am experiencing some lean times of my own and I’m comforted by this nostalgic meal, I decided to make it. It’s the perfect meal for the person with every excuse not to cook: it’s fast, easy, cheap, tasty, and healthy. Vegan? Got you covered. Don’t use butter.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • One cabbage (I got a medium-sized local Florida one at Whole Foods Market last week, and it was more than enough)
  • One 64-ounce bottle V-8 or other vegetable juice cocktail
  • One 16-ounce bag mixed vegetables (I used 365 organic ones. There are a number of new frozen vegetable blends available now–I plan to experiment soon.)
  • Seasonings of your choice to taste (in the past, I’ve added fresh minced garlic, Mrs. Dash, and black pepper, but this week I tossed in just a teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • Butter (the good shit, like Kerrygold or another European butter) OR vegetable oil such as olive oil, canola oil, or whatever other vegetable oil you have on hand that won’t clash with the other flavors (sesame oil or coconut oil would probably not be good choices)
  • Parmesan, Romano, or a blend of the two cheeses for sprinkling atop your soup. (Don’t know the difference between the two? Here you go.)

Directions:

Boil salted water in a very large pot or Dutch oven situation. While the water is boiling, coarsely chop the cabbage. Toss the chopped cabbage into the boiling water and cook until tender (al dente-ish). Drain the cabbage.

In the same pot, heat the butter or oil in a soup-sized pot. Add garlic if using. Add chopped cabbage and toss for a few minutes. The idea here is to give the cabbage a little braised flavor. Pour in veg juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then add frozen veggies. Simmer until hot. Season to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan or romano if desired. Eat.