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from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c oat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
a handful of shelled pumpkin seeds for garnish (I opted for chunky sea salt instead)

First, reduce the pumpkin. Place it in a saucepan over medium heat for about 45 minutes. Keep the heat low enough that it doesn’t boil, but it should appear to be steaming. Stir often. After about 30 minutes, spoon the pumpkin into a liquid measuring cup to check on how much it has reduced. It should be down to around 2/3 cup at this point. Return the pumpkin to pot and cook until it has reduced to 1/2 cup. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the cooled pumpkin and vanilla.

Sift in all remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Spoon onto cookie sheets in rounded tablespoons of dough, flattening the tops with your hand. Arrange a few pumpkin seeds in the centers, if you like (or just give them a sprinkle of big salt chunks, if you prefer, like I did. NOM!).

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Pumpkin is something that my pantry is never without. So when I decided to make cookies on a whim one morning, these were an obvious choice. And the fact that I had to spend some time reducing the pumpkin meant that there would be no cookie dough for my mid-morning snack. I don’t know if I’d quite sell my soul for this cookie though. Maybe the intro for the recipe just built up my hopes so high that they were impossible to fulfill, but there just wasn’t enough pumpkin to them. I was hoping for something a bit more autumnal, really… and I think throwing some molasses in there somewhere might have given me what I was looking for. As far as cookies go, yes, they’re really good, especially with the delicate salting I gave them to bring out the sweet. They texture- firm, and not crumbly at all, is what really made this cookie win for me. I might have enjoyed just a bit more chew (hello, molasses?). But really, tasty little bites of yumminess, these were. About the reducing business- it actually took more like an hour for me to get to the desired half cup. But, perhaps I was being a bit conservative with the heat on the stove, as I didn’t want to come back from chasing my toddler around to find scorched pumpkin. The rest of the can of pumpkin made for a delish snack for the two of us, sprinkled with cinnamon. Another win for VCIYCJ!
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Hi there. Oh! You two haven’t met? This here is my favorite cookie in the entire world:

Candy Cane Cookies

adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, First Edition

1/2 c Earth Balance vegan margarine, at room temperature
1/2 c shortening
1 c confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill egg substitute, mixed with 3 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
6-8 drops red food color, optional (I didn’t use a natural food dye here, but by all means, go for it if you’d rather!)
1/2 c crushed peppermint candy

Heat oven to 375F. Place parchment paper on your cookie sheet. Mix thoroughly margarine, shortening, confectioner’s sugar, egg substitute, and flavorings. Blend in flour and salt. Blend in food color, then crushed peppermint candy.

Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, then flatten into discs. Place on the prepared cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. They don’t spread much, if at all. Bake about 9 minutes, or until set and very light brown (check the underside of one). Once the cookies have cooled on the sheet for a few minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

One of my favorite food memories is associated with this cookie. My mom made them for Christmas when I was in Kindergarten, and she packed one in my lunch. I don’t think I’d had them before because I remember falling in love with a cookie for the first time during a sunny recess in that California schoolyard. I was lost in the almondy goodness, the density that is almost like shortbread, with that hint of salt taking the edge off the sweet. I was a changed person.
Originally this cookie is supposed to be shaped like a candy cane- with only half of the dough getting the red food dye- then you twist two 4-inch ropes together, and curve them to shape them like canes. However 1) I lack the patience for this, 2) My candy canes would continue to grow larger as I made them, 3) They would always be burned on the ends or raw in the middle- and in the case of the larger ones in the end of the batch- a dreadful combo of raw AND burned. I had to adjust. Plus, spending that much time working with dough meant more opportunity for me to consume said dough. As heavenly as the dough is… it’s not meant to be.
This is one of those cookies that people seem to either really love, or they’ll simply tolerate. I always make a double batch in case I find myself surrounded by a group of people that fall into the former category. Plus, they’re a nice cookie to have on a platter at a party- they offer some contrast if you have a lot of darker cookies and fruitcake bars, like I did this year. They refuse to go unnoticed!  I also tried a new (to me) recipe from this book:

Peppernuts

1/2 c shortening
3/4 c brown sugar (packed)
1 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, mixed with 3 tbsp warm water
1/2 c molasses
1/2 tsp anise extract
1 tbsp hot water
3 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper

Heat oven to 350F. Mix thoroughly shortening, sugar, egg replacer, molasses, anise extract, and water. Blend in remaining ingredients. Knead dough until of right consistency for molding.

Using a melon baller, scoop dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, or until golden brown on bottom. Store in airtight container.

These were so-so. I had hoped for something spicier! They were also a little dense and dry, but the recipe suggested storing them with a slice of apple for softer cookies. That’s something I should have tried, but the only apple I had was one that I wouldn’t be slicing until I made my apple cake for Christmas dinner- and that wasn’t happening for a few more days! Still, these are a nice cookie when you’re looking for one that isn’t as sweet. I will make these again, mostly because I’m curious about what they would be like with more anise extract (the original recipe calls for 3 drops of anise oil, not available in my store- I don’t know how it would compare to the extract so I used a modest amount), and I’d use more white pepper. I’d also make the cookies a bit bigger- in hopes of finding a softer center! The cookies were good, they all disappeared, and baby girl loved them. I just want them to be divine.
Also on my cookie platter this year: Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, and Fruitcake Bars, both from this, my favorite cookie book. I also made a whopping SIX batches of these Spicy Maple Glazed Walnuts from Shutterbean to give along with my cookies to neighbors and as stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. Spicy and sweet and very well received.

from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1 c nonhydrogenated margarine, at room temperature
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the molasses and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls spaced a little over 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until ever so slightly browned. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

This here is the dough that you would stir into your soy ice cream to make the perfect cookie dough ice cream, veganized (wait, that sounds familiar. I might have said that about another cookie dough… at least I’m conisistent!). It’s really good. I ate way too much of it. And still ended up with 4 dozen cookies, which leads me to believe that our dear author meant that we should drop the cookies by tablespoonfuls. The cookies were pretty small, and didn’t need that 2 inches between them on the cookie sheets. They were a really nice few bite- size, with two cookies being a perfect serving. I did end up baking them for almost 12 minutes though, so maybe teaspoonfuls is what she meant indeed. I don’t know. I’m not complaining! Just keep an eye on them as you get to the end of your baking time! Also, the dough seemed a bit crumblier than I’m used to, but using my melon baller to shape the cookies worked like a charm.
I fed these to my non-vegan aunt and uncle, and mom and dad when they visited, and they seemed pleased with them- so much that a pretty significant number had disappeared by the time they left. I think they tasted even better the day after I made them, though nothing beats a chocolate chip still melty from the oven. Another win for Isa!

adapted from a bottle of philosophy shower gel

18.25-oz package lemon cake mix
substitute for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
1/3 c olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 c confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in egg substitute, oil, and lemon juice until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl containing the confectioners’ sugar. Roll them around until they are lightly covered with sugar. Once sugared, put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6-9 minutes.

Please stop laughing at me, you’re hurting my feelings! My friend bought me a set of these “cookie” shower gels for Christmas, and this one had me craving lemon cookies like crazy every time I used it. Plus, I was super intrigued by the olive oil in it. I figured if they tasted half as good as this goo smells, then we’re in luck. And they do! Due to the fact that I was unwilling to buy the typical cake mix that comes in the 18.25-oz box, with all of its partially hydrogenated nastiness, and list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce… I used a Dr. Oetker mix. It was a 16.5-oz  box, so I figured I’d be close enough, and I totally was! The cookies took closer to the 9 minutes to bake, and they really spread out. I’d recommend a second cookie sheet, as well as a layer of parchment paper to keep from getting the super crusty (but super tasty) mess I ended up with! I loved that these cookies were a) easy, b) quick, c) crispy, in addition to d) chewy!

from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
2/3 c canola oil
1/4 c unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite nondairy milk)(I used vanilla soy)
1 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease two large baking sheets.

Combine sugars, oil, almond milk, and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until the mixture resembles smooth caramel. There is a chemical reaction when the sugar and oil collide (who knew?), so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stiff, so use your hands to really work the chips in.

For 3-inch cookies, roll the dough into balls the size of Ping-Pong balls. Flatten them out in your hands to about 2 1/2 inches. As they cook, they will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes- no more than 9- until they are just a little browned around the edges. We usually get 16 out of these so we do two rounds of eight cookies. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks.

For two dozen 2-inch cookies roll dough into walnut-size balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches and bake for only 6 minutes.

If you are looking for the perfect cookie dough recipe, this is it. I pictured little chunks of this stuff suspended in vegan ice cream as I was cleaning off my hands after using them to incorporate the chocolate chips. I swear, Isa and Terry made me do it! I was golden up until then- not sampling the dough at all, but this gooing that took place in the name of good mixing proved too much for me. I used light brown sugar, as it’s all I had, but longed for darker, to give it more of that caramelesque flavor that chocolate chip cookies often have. I still got rave reviews on these- from the friend that stopped by and saved me from my potentially fatal dough binge, as well as from Mike. And as the authors put it, this is a one bowl cookie recipe. Thank you! I will definitely be making this classic cookie again. I used an ice cream scoop sprayed with a bit of cooking spray for quick release to plop these suckers onto the pan, and it was so nice. I did end up with bigger cookies, which needed to bake for closer to 11 minutes! They were about 4 inches from edge to beautiful edge.

from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

For the Topping:
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the Cookies:
1/2 c canola oil
1 c sugar
1/4 c pure maple syrup
3 tbsp nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate) (I used more vanilla)
1 2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder (regular, not Dutch)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the topping ingredients together on a large dinner plate. Set aside.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together the oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in the extracts.

Sift in the remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all the ingredients are added, mix until you’ve got pliable dough.

Roll the dough into walnut-size balls. Pat the dough balls into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2-inch discs. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). This should be easy as the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; they should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Good thing I only made a half batch of these! I was low on cocoa powder. It was the perfect amount for me to have one, give one to my mom, one to Mike, and then take the rest over to my crafternoon date with Mo! These cookies have the texture I love of regular snickerdoodles- a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but without the blandness that so few people like about them. The cayenne pepper isn’t big in this cookie- it’s more of a zingy little after effect! I must say, if you’re looking for a vegan cookie book, this is the one. Each and every recipe I’ve tried is a winner, and I want to share them with EVERYONE I KNOW.

from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer

3/4 c sugar
3/4 c peanut butter
1/3 c nondairy milk
egg replacer equal to 2 eggs (recipe follows)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c vegan white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. (I found it helpful to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper). In a food processor, blend the sugar, peanut butter, “milk,” egg replacer, and vanilla until smooth. In a large bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, flour, and baking soda. Add the peanut butter mixture and chocolate chips to the flour and stir together well. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet, press down flat with your fingers, and repeat process until dough is gone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool before removing from cookie sheet. Makes 8-10 large sized cookies.

Flax Seed Egg Replacer

2 tbsp flax powder + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg
In a small bowl, combine ingredients and allow to sit 2-3 minutes before adding to baking.

Last time I shopped at Vegan Essentials, I bought not one, but TWO packages of vegan white chocolate chips. I’ve scoured the shelves of the baked good aisle over and over again hoping to find these little gems, one of the few things I’ve really missed since giving up animal products. They are pretty comparable in flavor to regular white chocolate chips, but the texture is just a little bit waxier, before they’re cooked. Once they’re cooked, dang. Sooooo good.
This is a recipe that I’ve been itching to make since I got this cookbook for Valentines Day three years back! Finally! I have all of the ingredients in my hot little hands! They turned out really well, I think… though I’d probably not choose to do the flax meal egg substitute for this one in the future. It was the STICKIEST DOUGH I’D EVER SEEN. And I’ve seen a lot of dough. I think next time I’d use the Ener-G Egg Replacer, which is reminiscent of egg whites- very light and fluffy. The cookies ended up really dense and chewy, with the softest part being those delicious white chips. I doubled the recipe, and brought a bunch over to my neighbors, because these were dangerous to have around, despite their sticky beginnings.

from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

1/2 c canola oil
1/3 c brown rice syrup
2/3 c dark brown sugar
1/3 c nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c roasted whole almonds, measured first then roughly chopped
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 tsp or less of fleur de sel or any coarse-grained salt, for sprinkling (I used sea salt)

Preheat oven to 350. Line two medium-size baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, nondairy milk, and vanilla until smooth. Sift in the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir to moisten the ingredients. Fold in the almonds and rolled oats. The batter will appear rather wet but will firm up a bit within a few minutes.

Drop dough in generous tablespoons, about 2 inches apart, onto the baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with coarse-grained salt (the recommend about 6 to 8 large grains of salt per cookie). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly puffed and the edges appear dry.

Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in a loosely covered container as these cookies get soft if tightly covered. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Salt AND almonds, you say? Two of my favorite foods, married? (What? Salt isn’t a food? My taste buds disagree.) These cookies were begging to be baked, ASAP. Before I ever enjoyed cooking, I was a mean cookie baker… though after losing so much cookie weight and then all that baby weight, I’m always wary to step back into the kitchen for one of my favorite hobbies, as eating the dough is a very guilty pleasure. And cookie dough with salt on it?!? Oh man. Dangerous. Needless to say, I didn’t end up with 2 dozen cookies, but I did have a belly ache! We brought these over to a family dinner to be shared with some dear old friends, and they were a success. Served with Coconut Bliss, yum. The salt is so subtle and such a treat, but it wasn’t weird to non-saltophiles, which I’d feared. The cookie was like a classic oatmeal cookie, but a little more caramel-like, thanks to the brown rice syrup. And the roasted almonds, delightful, especially when we paired it with the ice “cream,” though the cookies are chewy enough that they don’t need anything on the side, really…. This recipe gets a “yummy!” written in its margin. I’ve made two other recipes from this book, and they’ve both been devoured happily by many. This pair (Moskowitz and Romero) are true vegan heroes. Thank you!