It’s been five months since both my husband and my daughter decided to give the vegan diet a try. So, how have we been faring as a part-vegan family?
My older son happily went off to university, where, by all accounts, he spends his time scarfing down a load of fast food.
And my younger son remains a “pastararian”; a few months ago he added smoked salmon to his dinner options, which gave us a whole lot of hope, but he is still, obstinately and primarily, a pastararian.
As for me, I’m quite liking my husband’s vegan cooking so far (especially since he’s flexible and always willing to cook me up some meat, poultry or fish dish if I happen to feel like it). I’ve always loved tofu, which is a good thing, since tofu tends to play a large role in the vegan diet. And because my husband likes to cook, we haven’t been resorting to much packaged and processed vegan foods; everything is usually freshly made from scratch.
I suspect most of the time, people wouldn’t even think the food we’re eating is vegan, unless we told them.
This is especially so with the cookies my husband has been baking; a few months ago, we borrowed a copy of the Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, from the library and we loved it so much, we ended up buying our own copy.
Because of this little book, my husband decided he really liked baking, so for much of December, he was up most nights baking the most delicious cookies. Cookies you wouldn’t guess were vegan: shortbread, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate fudgy oatmeal cookies, espresso chip oatmeal cookies, tahini lime cookies … there are a whole lot of cookies in this delightful little book, and we’ve tried several of the recipes now. (The links are to the recipes my husband has already blogged at his food blog, Sensei Cooks.)
My absolute favorite? Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows. These delicious cookies are the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter – and I’m not the only one who put them at the top of the favorites list. At each of our Christmas gatherings we’d set out a platter of homemade vegan cookies, and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows were always the first to go.
Personally, I think whether you’re vegan or not, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar is a great little cookie cookbook. And, since every recipe in it is dairy-free, it’s also perfect for people with milk or other dairy allergies. But most important of all, every recipe we’ve tried so far has been delicious.
And really, when it comes to cookbooks, that’s really what counts!
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE PILLOWS
From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Makes 2 dozen cookies
For the chocolate dough:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp nondairy milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsps black unsweetened cocoa powder or more regular unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
3/4 cup natural salted peanut butter, crunchy or creamy style
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tbsp soy creamer or nondairy milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, maple syrup, nondairy milk, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Sift in Flour, cocoa powder, black cocoa powder if using, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form a moist dough.
2. Make the peanut butter filling: In another mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together peanut butter, powdered sugar, 2 tbsp of the soy creamer, and vanilla to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is dry and crumbly, stir in the remaining tbsp of nondairy milk. If dough is too wet, knead in a little extra powdered sugar.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Shape the cookies: Create the centers of the cookies by rolling the peanut butter dough into twenty-four balls (try dividing dough in half, then each part in half again and roll each portion into six balls). Scoop a generous tablespoon of chocolate dough, flatten into a thin disc, and place a peanut butter ball in the center. Fold the sides of the chocolate dough up and around the peanut butter center and roll into a smooth ball between your palms. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and repeat with remaining dough. If desired, gently flatten cookies slightly, but this is not necessary.
5. Place the dough balls on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the cookies stand for 5 minutes before moving them to wire racks to complete cooling. Store cookies in tightly covered container. If desired, warm cookies in a microwave for 10 to 12 seconds before serving.
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