Sunbutter Oatmeal Chewies – Vegan Mofo

Sunbutter Cookies - V GF SF PF

Cookies. Lately in my busy single-mama, working-gal, super-hero-teacher world, I just haven’t had the time for cookies (sadly). I tend to throw the batter into a parchment-lined baking dish, call it a bar, and move along to the next task. But we were craving a good-n-chewy oatmeal cookie. So, I took the “extra” time for these, grabbed my cookie scoop, and dropped the dough like there was no tomorrow. Thankfully there was, and we enjoyed these cookies for at least a day after they were baked until we gobbled them all up.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Peanut-free, Soy-free Sunbutter Oatmeal Chewies  - http://ransomcakes.com

These cookies are chewy, with almost a granola bar texture. The sunbutter gives them a great nut-like flavor that is reminiscent of peanut butter. Pack them up into your kiddo’s lunch box for a delicious allergy-free treat. Or, if you have a minute to yourself, with a glass of cold vanilla almond milk and plenty of good Vegan Mofo blogs to catch up on.

Sunbutter Oatmeal Chewies
yield: 28 cookies

2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons organic brown sugar, packed
1/2 tablespoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup enjoy life brand mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small dish, combine the flax seed meal with the almond milk, stir and set aside. In a large bowl using a strong wire whisk, whisk together the sunflower seed butter with the maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla until very smooth. Add the tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and combine. Add the flax-almond milk mixture and whisk together. Fold in the oats, and then the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, or a greased tablespoon, drop the cookies on the parchment lined pan leaving about 2 inches space between them. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, checking after 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely on the baking pans.

Tip: wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap for storage, otherwise cookies may stick together a little bit (but not too bad). Nom away!

Vegan, Gluten-free Oatmeal Sunflower Seed Butter Cookiesveganmofo2013

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

May I present, a soft-baked, orange-kissed, almond butter cookie with a touch of sweet cinnamon. I’m calling these Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles, and they are just perfect (I swear). Soft, chewy, with a hint of orange in their almond-buttery goodness, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and coconut sugar. These cookies are very versatile, great for toddler hands to hold and nibble, or to pack into lunches, or to serve with tea or coffee.

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

On my quest to make delicious, allergy-free goodies for my son, this recipe was born. We had bought (and loved) the Enjoy Life brand of cookies and I wanted to make a homemade version with a similar texture. The store-bought cookies do not contain tree nuts, so if you do have an allergy to tree nuts, try substituting the almond butter with sunflower seed butter, or tahini – and the almond flour with cornmeal. These cookies are for everyone. I promise, no one will be able to tell they are gluten-free and vegan, and making them homemade will save you a nickel or two.

Soft-Baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles
Yield: 24 cookies

1/2 cup organic raw agave nectar
1/3 cup organic canola oil
1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
1/4 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest (about 1/2 of a large organic orange)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or sucanat (larger crystal sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, oil and almond butter until smooth and creamy. To this, add the almond milk, ground flaxseed, vanilla and almond extracts, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the almond, sorghum and rice flours with the xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet about 1/3 cup at a time and mix very gently until the dough comes together. Chill the dough for 15 minutes. In a small dish, stir together the cinnamon and sugar, set aside. Remove dough from fridge. Using a cookie scoop (or lightly oiled tablespoon), drop the dough on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about two inches in between cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops of cookies are slightly cracked and sides are very light brown. Leave on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes after baking, then transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.  Store any leftover cookies in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

My lil’ hawk loved these cookies! They are refined-sugar-free, and full of protein and fiber, so I don’t feel so bad about letting him have one for a snack.  Let me know in the comments if you make this recipe. I’d love to hear from you!

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

©mama et de bébé hawk ©Ashley Kizer 2013

Cherry Almond Biscotti

CherryBiscotti

I love biscotti (see other biscotti post here to prove this love). To me, they are the perfect cookie, breakfast and dessert all-in-one. The best way to have them is in the morning, dunked in a cup of hot coffee. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of making biscotti; they are easy to make, and really nice to have on hand.

Cherry Almond Biscotti

These biscotti are of the cherry almond variety, with a handful of shredded coconut for good measure. The coconut is subtle, but adds a really lovely flavor. I used a good amount of almond flour in these, which adds a great texture as well as a nice healthy dose of protein. If you can’t find almond flour, take almonds and wizz them around in the food processor until they are finely chopped like flour, but not for too long or you’ll end up with almond butter.

biscotti

Cherry Almond Biscotti
makes 14-16 biscotti cookies

1 1/2 cup unbleached cake flour (I used King Arthur unbleached cake flour)
2-3 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup non-gmo canola oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw, sliced almonds

biscottibakesteps

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and line a large baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, use a wire whisk to beat together the sugar, oil, almond milk, extracts, and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients: flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Very gently fold in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. When the dough just starts to come together, add the cherries, sliced almonds and coconut and fold into the dough. Form the dough  into a long rectangle (log)and pat it down very lightly with clean, damp hands. Bake it for 30 minutes. The dough should be slightly puffed up, with a few little cracks in it. Turn off the oven, remove from oven and let cool for about one hour. Then, preheat the oven again to 325 degrees Farenheit. Carefully slice the baked dough into long slices about 1/2 inch to an inch thick. No need to turn these on their sides, as they will be fragile, but if you can slide them apart a little with the knife you used to cut them with so they have some room to get crisp. Bake for another 30 minutes until crisp. Allow the biscotti to cool for a half hour.

Vegan Biscotti Recipe

These biscotti have a really lovely flavor profile. The almond, cherry and coconut marry nicely. They would also taste good with a drizzle of chocolate over them. Or serve them with hot chocolate instead of coffee! It’s my opinion that biscotti make a beautiful gift, so why not make these as a Valentines Day gift? Wrap them up in red ribbon and you’re all set.

Vegan Cherry Almond Biscotti

vegan cherry almond biscotti

mamabebehawk

Orange-scented Sugar Cookies

Orange-Scented Sugar Cookie Cutouts

The sugar cookie is the ultimate holiday cookie – it’s timeless, and traditional. We made sugar cookies for Christmas almost every year during my childhood. Usually, only half the batch would turn out edible. For some reason, sugar cookies are tricky cookies. The dough must be perfect: not too wet, nor too dry; and bake them a second too long and they will be too well done. I’ve finally made the best sugar cookie (and they’re vegan)! These cookies are really good. A subtle taste of orange, a perfect balance of vanilla and sugar. The icing is a vegan royal icing that dries hard, which makes them perfect for stacking and gift-giving.

I made them to take with to a holiday party, but I’m sure Santa would love them if you made them, and left them out for him on Christmas Eve.

Orange-Scented Sugar Cookie Cutouts

A few things I’ve learned about making sugar cookies: 1. Always use parchment paper (for all cookies really). You won’t have to grease your pan, saving you product, energy and clean-up. 2. Have lots of patience. Don’t plan on making the cookies in 30 minutes. You will need to make the dough, chill it, roll it, cut it, bake it, and let the cookies cool before you decorate them. 3. Have fun with your decorations. I’ve always been a messy-kind-of artist at most of my crafts (and food is no exception).

Vegan Sugar Cookie Cutouts

I made these cookies while my son was sleeping, and while I was icing them, I kept imagining us making and decorating sugar cookies together next year. The baby stage was a lot of fun, and toddlerhood is so-far-so good. I can’t wait to teach him how to bake and make cookies; and all the other things we will do together.

stack2textVegan Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Orange-scented Sugar Cookie Cutouts
makes about 40-cookies

6 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan butter (I used earth balance), at room temperature
1 cup vegan shortening (I used earth balance), at room temperature
2 cups natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
grated zest from 1 organic orange

In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal with the water, put in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes until ready to use. In a large bowl, or with a stand-mixer, cream together the vegan butter, shortening and sugar for about 5 minutes, until fluffy. Add the flax mixture and whip until pale and fluffy. Next add the vanilla and orange zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt until combined. Slowly add the flour to the wet mixture cup-by-cup, mixing gently (towards the end, I used my hands to knead together the dough). Divide the dough into 4 balls, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to overnight (you can also freeze the dough at this point).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Place parchment on 2 (to 4) large baking trays. Flour a clean surface and a rolling-pin. Unwrap one of the dough discs, and with a floured rolling-pin, roll it out flat, about 1/4 inch thick or so. Use cookie cutters to make shapes. Use a floured, flat metal spatula to transfer cookie cutouts to a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes (my cookies were perfect at 13 minutes). Allow cookies to cool completely before icing and decorating them.

Vegan Royal Icing Recipe
this icing dries hard and glossy, for a lovely and stackable decorated holiday cookie.

2 cups powdered sugar
4-6 teaspoons vanilla soy (or almond) milk
4-6 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
natural food colorings (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and soymilk until smooth. Then add the corn syrup and extracts until the icing is smooth and glossy. If the icing is too thick, add a little more soymilk and corn syrup (1/2 teaspoon at a time). Divide icing into smaller bowls, and dye with food coloring if using. Paint icing on cookies (I used the flat end of a fork to spread the icing on) and add sprinkles when icing is still wet. Allow icing to dry for at least 1 hour before stacking or storing.

Vegan Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Make these holiday cookies to share at a holiday party! They go great with a cold mug o’ Nog -or- (as I enjoyed them) with a glass of Moscato.

Vegan Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Happy Holiday Baking to All!

Vegan Sugar Cookie Cutouts

(Classic) Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve found the best, softest, chewiest and most-reminiscent-of-childhood chocolate chip cookie ever. I just made them and they are so good!  There are so many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, why make my recipe? Because they are amazing, that’s why, and I don’t know how else to put it. Besides, who doesn’t need another chocolate chip cookie recipe to add to their arsenal of recipes? These are the kind of cookies you make and give to a friend to cheer them up, or to a neighbor to say “thank you,” or to bring to work to show your co-workers how badass of a baker you are. They are perfect milk-n-cookies-kind-of-cookies, too.

It’s a blessing and a curse that these cookies are no longer in my kitchen. Oh well, I can always still look at the pictures.

How about that recipe?

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 3 dozen small-size cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup vegan butter (I used earth balance buttery sticks), softened
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup granulated natural cane sugar
1 flax “egg” (1 Tablespoon flaxmeal mixed with 3 Tbsp. vanilla soymilk)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan mini chocolate chips (Ghirardelli semi-sweet mini chocolate chips are vegan)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line 3 baking pans with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, cream together the vegan butter and sugars. Add the flax “egg” and vanilla extract and whip until fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Gently combine the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, use a rubber spatula to fold together. It will appear that the mixture is too dry, but after a few stirs, it will magically start to come together. At this point, add the chocolate chips. I used my hands to gently knead the chocolate chips into the dough – and it worked well – otherwise, use a rubber spatula.

Use a tablespoon (or a cookie scoop if you have one – I don’t) to scoop out the dough. Roll the tablespoons of dough into little balls. Place them on a baking sheet/parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Repeat until dough is finished. Wet your fingers with a little cool water, and gently pat down the tops of the dough balls just a little (not completely flat). Bake cookies for 10 minutes and not a minute longer! If your oven only fits 2 baking pans, put the 3rd in the fridge -or- in a cool spot until you’re ready for it. After baking, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes or as long as needed to cool before storing or packing for gift-giving.

These really are spectacular cookies. I should say that the making of this recipe was inspired by my sister’s chocolate chip cookies. She’s also a fantastic baker. These cookies would be perfect for tying up into pretty bags and giving as gifts. I know I would love to receive a gift of cookies!

Yum.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ah, biscotti… how I love you. I usually make biscotti cookies for gift giving, because if someone was going to give me a gift of baked goodies, I would want biscotti cookies. They are perfect to wrap up in a festive bag, tie up with some yarn or twine, and they look great. I think people assume that making biscotti is difficult or labor intensive. Well, I’d like to keep that mystery going, but I have to be honest… they’re so easy to make! For me, it’s one of the best and greatest recipes to make when you’re the mama of a little one. Much like yeasted bread, you can start the biscotti, walk away and come back to it when you have the time. Let’s face it, I have to do this a lot with my cooking and baking because I have a (almost) one year old who is basically attached to my hip (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

For these cookies, I premixed the dry ingredients and the wet the night before (which is a great tip if you’re looking to save time on baking day). The next morning while Baby Hawk was napping, I pulled out the wet mixture from the fridge, and let it come to room temperature while I preheated the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and lined my baking pan with parchment paper. I gave the wet mixture a quick stir before very gently folding in the dry ingredients and then the chocolate chips. Then, I formed the dough into a long rectangle and patted it down very lightly with clean, damp hands. Pop it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes. The dough should be slightly puffed up, with a few little cracks in it. Turn off the oven, remove from oven and let cool for about one hour. When you come back, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. Carefully slice into long slices about 1/2 inch to an inch thick, and turn the biscotti’s on their sides. Bake for another 20-25 minutes until crisp but not too browned. Allow the biscotti to cool before eating for best flavor and crunch. I love to eat these cookies with strong [decaf] espresso.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscotti
makes about 16 biscotti cookies

Ingredients
1/3 c. + 2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. organic, non-gmo canola oil
2/3 c. natural sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. powdered lemon peel (or fresh lemon zest)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (Ghirardelli semi-sweet mini-chips are vegan!)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and line a large baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, use a wire whisk to beat together the pumpkin, oil, molasses, sugar, flaxseed meal, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients: flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, lemon peel, baking powder, and salt. Very gently fold in the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. When the dough just starts to come together, add the chocolate chips. Form the dough  into a long rectangle and pat it down very lightly with clean, damp hands. Bake it for 30 minutes. The dough should be slightly puffed up, with a few little cracks in it. Turn off the oven, remove from oven and let cool for about one hour. Then, preheat the oven again to 300 degrees Farenheit. Carefully slice the baked dough into long slices about 1/2 inch to an inch thick, and turn the biscotti’s on their sides. Bake for another 20-25 minutes until crisp. Allow the biscotti to cool at least 10 minutes.

I have to give props to my biscotti-making teachers, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, from their cookbook Veganomicon. They made biscotti making easy, fun and a tradition of mine for the last 5 years at least. Definitely buy their cookbooks! And, if you’re thinking, “How many pumpkin recipes can this blog handle?” The answer is, a lot. Obviously. It’s no secret that I love pumpkin, and especially pumpkin desserts. This is yet another gem to add to the pumpkin recipe archive of mine. I’m quite proud of these! They really are the perfect biscotti, and extremely delicious. Make them as a festive fall treat; package two or three in a bag and deliver them with a hot latte to brighten someone’s day. I know I’d love that!

I’d also like to thank my little Baby Hawk for napping for most of this blog post! We’re practicing and preparing for our first ever time participating in VeganMoFo next month. I’m excited, I have a whole list of new and great recipes to share!