Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I found this recipe in The Happy Herbivore cookbook. But as I didn’t notate that information, I’m not for sure. 🙂 I certainly cannot take credit for these. While these aren’t your typical melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies, they are good and a great healthy treat, with no added fat and not too much sugar. Plus, the are gluten-free! They have become our go-to dessert when we need a little sweet fix. Within 30 minutes you can enjoy warm cookies from the oven!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
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1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. non-dairy milk
1 c. gluten-free all purpose flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and milk. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Pour dry ingredients into wet in three batches, stirring to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Makes 15 cookies.

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Grandma’s Molasses Crinkles

This is perhaps one of my favorite cookies ever. It brings back many memories of family gatherings and shared meals. While I mostly remember my aunt and my mom making them, the recipe originated with my grandma and so I always think of her. I searched through her recipe box and found it written in her hand with a tiny note that this is a good recipe. Love that.

These are the perfect texture, the perfect combination of spices, perfectly sweet but not too sweet, and perfectly formed with “crinkles” on top. They are delicious warm or cooled. Stephanie even had these as favors at her wedding. Yes, I think it’s fair to say these are a family tradition.

Molasses Crinkles would be a great addition to your Superbowl Party (along with many of other appetizer and snack recipes!) but they would also be good just about any other day. Perfection.

GRANDMA’S MOLASSES CRINKLES
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3/4 c. shortening (trust me on this one)
1/4 c. molasses
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream shortening, molasses, sugar, and egg together until fully combined and creamy. Add flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix until fully combined.

Scoop dough and roll into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until crinkled on top and lightly golden. Makes about 3 dozen.

Grandma’s “Forget Me” Cookies

These cookies spend at least 8 hours in the oven, thus they are “forget me” cookies. And I actually did forget about mine for a few hours. 🙂

I had some trouble with my egg whites beating to stiff peaks. At first I thought possibly my bowl wasn’t completely grease-free. But then, after making a second batch in a different bowl, I decided it was because the recipe didn’t use any cream of tartar. So, I’m adding that to the recipe below and you should be set.

These are delicious–light with plenty of chocolate chips and pecans studding each cookie (Grandma was fond of that combination!). They aren’t terribly pretty, but they certainly taste great!

GRANDMA’S “FORGET ME” COOKIES
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2 egg whites, set out for 30 minutes before whipping
dash of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a grease-free bowl beat egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one teaspoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (or aluminum foil with the dull side facing up). Place in the oven and immediately turn off the heat. Do Not open the oven door for at least 8 hours.

Makes 3 dozen.

Flour-less Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know the flurry of holiday baking is behind us and we’re looking to tighten our belts and say “no” to sweets. But sometimes you just need a sweet fix. Or perhaps you need a  little something to share with company or to bring to a gathering. How about five-ingredient flour-less cookies?! Not only are these quick to mix up, but they are awfully tasty as well. We are fans of peanut butter and chocolate around here, so one night when we “needed” an after dinner sweet treat, I made these. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I found this recipe in the October issue of Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine. In keeping with how I approach dessert recipes, I cut back on the sugar by 1/3 of a cup. I thought the cookies were perfectly sweet that way, allowing the peanut butter and chocolate flavors to shine through. But, feel free to up the sugar if you like your sweets super sweet. Additionally, I’ve made these egg-free by making a flax gel to replace the egg (1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp hot water whisked together and set aside for a few minutes to gel). The texture was slightly different with the flax gel in place of the egg, but the flavor was just as good.

FLOUR-LESS PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(from Every Day With Rachael Ray, Oct. 2011)
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1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Beat first 4 ingredients with a mixer. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded Tablesoons of dough 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Let cool on pan.

Makes 16 cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies

We enjoyed having friends over to decorate giant gingerbread people – candy, icing, sprinkles, the works! It was much less work than houses for our age group.

So I was in search of the perfect gingerbread cookie recipe and I think this one is pretty close! The recipe I adapted it from received great reviews but after reading them and reading the recipe, I adjusted the spices. So, this is my version of gingerbread.

I rolled these out but I’m also thinking you could form them into balls, dip the bottom of a cup in sugar and flatten the cookies before baking. If you do the latter, I think the refrigeration time would matter less.

These make your house smell wonderful and they are truly delicious – not too sweet. It was so fun making memories with my kids and their friends as they decorated their people. Their cookies were be-decked with candy – too cute! My examples are not nearly as cute. 🙂

GINGERBREAD COOKIES
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3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground allspice
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp/ salt
1/4 tsp. freshly milled black pepper
2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2/3 c. unsulfured molasses
1 large egg

Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In a large mixer, beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined, about 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg.  Gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough.  Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until chilled – at least 3 hours.  (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

To roll out the cookies, work with one disk at a time, keeping the other disk refrigerated.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. (If the dough has been chilled for longer than 3 hours, it may need a few more minutes.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour.  Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick, being sure that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface (run a long meal spatula or knife under the dough occasionally just to be sure, and dust the surface with more flour, if needed).  For softer cookies, roll out slightly thicker (about 1/4 inch or a little less).  Using cookie cutters (or these templates – I printed the large boy and girl on cardstock and cut around them), cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart.  Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk.  Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling if it is sticking and then cut out more cookies.

Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.  (The cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.) Makes about 3 dozen depending on size of the cookies.

Cocoa Thumbprints

Welcome to our week-long Christmas treats extravaganza! Our focus will be on chocolate, but we might sneak something else in as well. We hope you find plenty of inspiration for your holiday baking!

I enjoy a good jam-filled thumbprint cookie. Last year I made lovely little butter thumbprint cookies. This year I was imagining a chocolate cookie base with a berry jam center. And what do I find in the December issue of Food Network Magazine? That’s right, Cocoa Thumbprints!

I tinkered with the recipe a bit to make them gluten-free. I cut-back on the sugar by a couple of Tablespoonfuls. And I used a slightly sweet, four-fruit jam as the center. Oh my, these are tasty!

As usual, if you are not gluten-free, feel free to substitute all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.

COCOA THUMBPRINTS
(slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine, Dec. 2011)
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1 1/2 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour
scant 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar (for rolling)
1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling)
favorite jam (for filling)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, scant 3/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Add the melted butter and eggs and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the confectioner’s sugar and the granulated sugar in two separate bowls. Roll scant Tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Roll each in granulated sugar and then in confectioner’s sugar. Place 1-inch apart on baking sheets.

Make a deep indentation with thumb in each cookie. Place 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the indentation. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and slightly cracked. Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Pumpkin Cranberry Spice Cookies

Do you have pumpkin and cranberries leftover after your Thanksgiving festivities? If so, these cookies are a perfect way to use them up. I brought these cookies to a movie night with some friends. They were very well received.

Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you. These come together easily and while the pumpkin cream cheese frosting is an extra step, it takes the cookies to the next level of deliciousness! As usual, these are gluten-free. However, if you can eat regular wheat flour, then just use that in place of the gluten-free flour, and omit the xanthan gum.

Because these cookies have a soft, cakey texture, they are best enjoyed within a couple of days of baking. Otherwise, pop the extras in the freezer to enjoy another time.

PUMPKIN CRANBERRY SPICE COOKIES
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2 1/4 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. plain yogurt
2/3 c. chopped fresh of frozen cranberries

Icing
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 – 2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
3/4 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash each of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, spices, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugars and butter and using a mixer, beat until fluffy and lightened in color. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mixing completely between each. Stir in the vanilla.

To the pumpkin mixture, add the flour mixture alternating with the yogurt. Mix between each addition. Stir in the cranberries.

Drop by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took the full 12 minutes) or until edges are golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the icing: Heat the butter in a saucepan until lightly browned, but not burned, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream and vanilla. Add some powdered sugar to make a paste. Then add the remaining powdered sugar slowly, whisking until fully combined (add powdered sugar until icing is desired consistency). Stir in spices and the pumpkin puree.

Baker’s Delight: Cherry Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Do they have a long enough name? 🙂 These are from the wonderful Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook. I adapted them based on the ingredients I had but they were delicious! I’m going to go ahead an include the recipe as written in the book because I would totally make them exactly as written.

Cookies are one of my favorite desserts – they are perfect for picnics and pitch-ins, most of them freeze very well, and they are usually fairly easy to put together. They are also one of my favorite things to bake!

CHERRY-CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES
Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook
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1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. plus 2 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. dried tart cherries
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

Position racks in center and top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in egg and both extracts. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips, cherries and almonds.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies 12 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 6 minutes longer. Cool cookies on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool). (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Weekend Fare: Lemon Coconut Bars

Okay, seriously, these are delicious! Citrus and coconut – how can you go wrong? The creamy, sweet, and tart were just the perfect balance. These would make a wonderful contribution for a pitch-in or for a light dessert.

LEMON COCONUT BARS
(Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook)
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Crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted, cooled
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Butter foil. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add coconut and butter; process until mixture resembles fine meal and begins to clump together. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden at edges, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare filling:
Combine 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon peel, flour, baking powder, and salt in processor. Blend filling until smooth.

Remove crust from oven. Pour filling evenly over hot crust. Return to oven and bake until filling begins to brown at edges and is just set and springy to touch in center, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to rack; cool lemon bars completely.

Using foil as aid, transfer lemon bars to work surface. Flatten foil edges. Cut into 16 bars. Sift powdered sugar over. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight in single layer in refrigerator.)

Baker’s Delight: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are pleased to welcome back Sarah Pulliam Bailey with this guest post! These would be great for you weekend and summer picnicking!

Chocolate chip cookies provide the ultimate comfort food. If you’re serving chocoholics, consider baking double chocolate chip cookies, which offers a rich, moist, chewy dessert.

The cookies did not turn out terribly even because I was in a hurry and grabbed rounded spoonfuls of dough, which made them puffier. If you prefer more uniform, flattened cookies, you could roll the dough up on parchment paper in a log, refrigerate for two hours, and cut individual cookies. You could also substitute white chocolate chips for peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts. Some of the reviews suggested using 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of baking powder, so consider experimenting. The recipe takes about 30 minutes and makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
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1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks (12 oz. bag)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir the mixture into the other bowl. Fold in white chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect in my oven). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. If you have a smaller kitchen, consider investing in a tiered cooling rack.