Sometimes, it’s Sweets Time.
I don’t know about you guys, but one thing that really helps me get through a tough time is homemade baked goods. There really is nothing like a fresh batch of cookies emerging from your oven, making your living space smell like heaven on a cracker, and then sitting down with 3 (or 6) delicious morsels and a glass of cold soymilk (or almond milk). I know that it’s not necessarily super healthy to drown your sorrows in food, and I’m not advocating that, but a little comfort in your mouth never hurt anyone. Everything in moderation, of course. So I went on a bit of a baking spree last month. Those of you who read regularly know that this is pretty rare…I can usually not be bothered to bake up a bunch of cookies or a cake, mostly because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth since going vegan. But! Not only is the end result comforting, the actual act of cooking (and, yes, baking) is incredibly comforting to me. So here before you are some of the emotional bandaids I whipped up recently.
I purchased Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar this summer and finally gave it a trial run. I’ve only made drop cookies from it, because, again, I am a crazy lazy baker. So far. I have my eyes on some of the more complicated ones, probably for the holidays. Anyway, this book is really great for me because if I am going to bake something, 9 times out of 10 it’s going to be a cookie. I just love them. Handheld discs of pure joy. (The 10th time is a muffin, in case you were curious.) These are the Blackstrap Gingersnaps. I made these because my mom makes these amazing (non-vegan…! [Mom! Make me a vegan version!]) molasses crinkle cookies that are my absolute favorite cookie ever. Ever ever ever. They’re so wonderful: soft, molasses-y, buttery, not overly sweet… Sigh. Anyway, I was hoping that these gingersnaps would be a close version, and they’re really not anything like my mom’s cookies, but they’re still pretty good. The flavor is nice and light, not too much ginger, but they kind of were really crumbly. I ended up eating most of these crumbled up over vanilla soy ice cream, which redeemed them quite a bit. They were rad that way.
So there’s this recipe in that book called Mocha Mamas which sounds totally awesome to me, but I didn’t have all the ingredients (something about coffee extract possibly, I can’t remember right now). Also, that doesn’t matter, because the omnivore boyfriend (who, by the way, has been eating mostly vegan for, like, 2 weeks! So awesome!) doesn’t like coffee, and I wanted to make sure he would eat some (most) of these. He’s the one with the real sweet tooth between us, so to make something sweet that he doesn’t like would be rather cruel. We do both like coconut and chocolate mixed together, though, so I modified the recipe a bit by replacing the coffee extract with coconut extract and adding some unsweetened coconut flakes to the dough. Success! These were seriously so delicious. Oh-so-chocolatey and mouth wateringly moist. They didn’t last long in our house. I still want to try the original recipe (I love coffee and chocolate), but another time, perhaps.
Oh, that’s what heaven/utopia/Narnia tastes like. Chocolate chip cookies. Got it. Guess what? I hadn’t had chocolate chip cookies in, like, 5 years. No kidding. I know, it’s a total travesty. And they’re not something I would make often, because holy cow, these were rich. Melt in your mouth rich. But they were a wonderful treat. I brought some to work and they loved them there, as well. I was a little worried when I made them because the batter was definitely more like batter and not like dough, like the recipe said it should be. I could not ‘roll’ the dough into balls. Basically, I just scooped big, wet spoonfuls onto the baking sheets and hoped for the best. They ended up taking longer to bake, but the results were just what I was expecting. One thing, and believe me when I tell you that I hate criticizing this almost-perfect cookie, but next time I will reduce the amount of vanilla by half. The vanilla flavor was just a little too strong for me. No one else noticed or minded, but little things like that bother me. Make a batch of these, for sure, but share them with your friends. They’re too dangerous to keep around the house.
I know! I never make cake! Cakes make me totally nervous! But this pineapple upside-down cake was for the omnivore boyfriend’s birthday. It’s his favorite, and he totally loved it. I probably had 1 slice of this thing. (I’m not super down with fruity cakes, though.) I made another one for my grandma’s birthday, and my whole family got to enjoy it, and they loved it too. Hooray for delicious vegan baked goods making people’s tummies happy! Also, my mom made some vegan strawberry ice cream that day, which was perfect and delicious. Has anyone else ever been able to find commercial strawberry ice cream? It seems like I have seen every flavor but that one! Anyway, I didn’t make either of those cakes for healing purposes, but for happy occasions. Either way, this summer was full of lots of tasty sweets. And yes, I realize that 3 batches of cookies and 2 cakes over the course of 2 months isn’t really a ‘spree’ for some people, but for me it was!
Not pictured are pumpkin cookies made by the wonderful Erika and strawberry muffins + banana bread baked by the terrific Emily. My friends are the best friends.