Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

I think oatmeal cookies get a bad wrap. Especially the vegan variety. Granted there are some pretty bad oatmeal cookies out there, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact one of my favorite cookies of all time was the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies my aunt used to make. I have yet to perfect a vegan version of those though. They were unbelievably good. It just goes to show you, it’s not just the recipe, but the technique.

oatmeal cranberry cookies

I was particularly drawn to this recipe because it replaced those pesky raisins with cranberries, which is obviously WAY better, not to mention much more holiday appropriate. They’re soft in the center and just ever so slightly cakey. Not to mention insanely yummy. I think you should just make them and let the cookies speak for themselves.

oatmeal cranberry cookies

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart, found here

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda. Beat together the Earth Balance and sugars in an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy. Lower the speed on your mixer and slowly add the liquid ingredients, continuing to beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until a dough forms. Take the bowl out of the mixer and then stir in the cranberries and oatmeal by hand. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your hands, shape 2 tablespoons of the dough into disks and place an inch apart on your baking sheets.

Bake for 16 – 18 minutes, rotating half way through. They should be browned on the edges but still soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then let cool completely on a wire rack.

Espresso-Bean Shortbread

Dear readers, in the next few weeks, Cute and Delicious will be filled with cookies. You don’t mind, right? I was searching for inspiration for some holiday cookies and kept coming back to a bunch of Martha Stewart recipes. I felt it was most necessary that these be veganized, so I’ll be doing just that, and sharing my experience and recipes with all of you.

Espresso Bean Shortbread

I started with a very simple and appealing recipe for Espresso-Bean Shortbreads. This appeared to be not only one of the most enticing flavors, but also the easiest to make a vegan version. The only non-vegan ingredient is butter, which I personally don’t even think about for a second, as Earth Balance is such a superb replacement. It’s really a no-brainer. With cookies, it starts getting tricky with replacing eggs.

Espresso Bean Shortbread

Now there are a few things you need to know about Martha Stewart cookies.

  1. They use a lot of butter. This recipe uses 1 1/2 cups. Mostly they average about one cup. Consider yourself warned. Like I said, Earth Balance works great as a substitute.
  2. They involve a bit of advanced preparation. There is nearly always a fair amount of chilling time, so make sure you read through each recipe in advance. Don’t think you’ll just be popping these out of the oven in 1/2 an hour.

Espresso Bean Shortbread

The little espresso guys are easy to make and easier to eat. They’re dense, slightly crunchy and not too sweet. Moreover, they definitely pack a caffeine kick. Not cookies you want to eat right before bed time, trust me. I didn’t have a single complaint with the recipe, except that it took quite awhile with multiple chilling and freezing periods. I would recommend making them sort of flat, and not to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

So here are the humble but delicious beginnings of my cookie marathon. I personally think cookies make a great gift, and the ones here are sure to impress, but also travel well. Even though I’ve just begun, I can already see how easy it will be to get lost in a black hole of holiday cookies…but off we go anyway.

Espresso-Bean Shortbread

from Martha Stewart, originally found here

  • 1 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 Tbsp finely ground espresso beans
  • 3 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Cream together Earth Balance and sugar in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat until slightly fluffy.

Combine the espresso powder and warm water in a small bowl and stir until combined. Beat the espresso mixture and beans into the EB and sugar.

Whisk together flour and salt and gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, and your hands, create small ovals bean shaped cookies. Place each cookie on the baking sheet 1 – 2 inches apart. To create the split in the coffee bean press a chopstick over the top of each cookie. Place each tray in the freezer to firm for 10 – 20 minutes

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes rotating sheets half way through. The bottoms should be browned, with the tops, just barely browning when you remove them.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

vegan hot wings

Hello my dears. Happy December! With all the holiday advertising I feel like December has been here for weeks. Needless to say, while it’s chilly in Los Angeles, our city doesn’t quite have that winter wonderland feel. I guess I need to get with the program and put up some holiday decorations.

So let’s begin this lovely month with hot wings, shall we? Let’s also pretend I didn’t have these for dinner because they aren’t exactly dinner fare. You know, I was never even interested in hot wings, but ever since we went to Portland and I had some at the Mash Tun, I’ve been secretly dreaming about tempeh hot wings. I was going to make some over the holiday weekend but we were too stuffed to eat them.

vegan hot wings

I used this great recipe from Vegan Dad for the breading and sauce (although I used some bread crumbs as well as the corn flakes since I didn’t have enough). Instead of making seitan, I just coated some pieces of tempeh and tofu. The whole process of double coating the pieces with the “buttermilk” mixture is genius. So many times I have breaded something only to have it get cakey or fall off all together. Of course, with the tofu pieces you have to make sure they’re pressed and there isn’t extra liquid, or the breading still won’t stick.

I whipped up some dill dip to go along with them, with just some tofutti sour cream and a seasoning packet. I think next time I’d rather go with a homemade tofu ranch dip, something a little less flavorful even, just to cut the heat of the sauce, but not overpower the spiciness. Needless to say, these guys were awesome; spicy and flavorful. They definitely fall under the category of “just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy” but pay no attention to that. (On the other hand, you can tell the non-vegan naysayers the tempeh is a great source of protein.) They make a great snack or appetizer and would be perfect for a party.

Ok, now I think I’ll get to my decorating. Where are those darn Christmas lights?

Thanksgiving leftover hot pockets

It may seem like I’m a little obsessed with leftovers. It’s true. But Thanksgiving always leaves you with so many of them. Even though we didn’t cook this year, we still ended up with a few nights worth of holiday food. I wanted to spice things up a little bit, just so we weren’t having exactly the same meal over and over. Hence the creation of the Thanksgiving leftover hot pocket.

thanksgiving leftover hot pockets

All you have to do to make these is make some pastry crust (I used the flakey pie crust recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking
) and assemble as if you were making ravioli. You could easily use puff pastry if you didn’t feel like making a crust.

Start by preheating your oven to 425° F. Roll out your crust (or one sheet of  puff pastry) and set aside one half. Put a few tablespoons of stuffing or tofurky or whatever leftover you want in a grid on the dough, leaving about an inch between each filling. The next part is really important, you must drizzle a little bit of gravy over your filling. Make sure the filling isn’t piled too high or your crust may crack.

Carefully lay the other half of the crust over the prepared fillings. Press the spaces between each filling together with your fingers, starting in the center and working your way out. It’s ok if a little bit of gravy or whatever leaks out the side, but try to seal it best you can around the edges. Using a pizza cutter or a pastry cutter, cut the hot pockets into individual pies. Slice a few diagonal slits in the top of each. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

thanksgiving leftover hot pockets

These would also be great with your holiday meal, they’re not just good for leftovers. Let’s face it, everything is better in a pie crust. We had ours with some celebration field roast, more stuffing and some kale.

The bottom line is that pretty much anything is good in these. Get creative. If you want them filled with sweet potatoes and dandies, I’m sure they’d be extra awesome. Feel free to keep them simple or get crazy.

Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck

Every year there is the question of what to do with all your leftovers from the holidays. Even if you eat through all your Tofurky and potatoes, there is usually some side dish that you’ve got an abundance of. This year, our friends Kim & Ryan had the great idea of having a day after Thanksgiving leftovers potluck with a handful of vegan friends.

thanksgiving potluck-roasted vegetables

While a bunch of people made new dishes, there were definitely a bunch of leftovers involved for sure. I made a ton of mashed potatoes, some carrots, and the fantastic gravy from The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook. I brought a lot of food since I came with Shawn and both his brother Kyle and sister Amy who in tow.

thanksgiving potluck-stuffing

Surprisingly, without a ton of coordination, everyone seemed to bring different dishes. We had pretty much everything covered (except for tofurky, which was fine by me).

vegan thanksgiving potluck-kale salad

There was quinoa stuffing, green bean casserole, kale salad, bread pudding, various vegetables, sweet potatoes topped with dandies, crescent rolls and more I’m sure I’m forgetting.

vegan thanksgiving potluck-dandies covered sweet potatoes

Everything was fantastic and it was super nice to hang out, talk vegan food, and swap stories about our Thanksgivings and such. It was nice to just relax in a super cozy environment over some delicious food for the afternoon.

vegan thanksgiving potluck-bread pudding

Not to mention, we got to scarf what was left of Kim’s amazing Pumpkin Butterscotch Trifle, which was pretty much to die for. You really can’t go wrong when you have friends that can cook. That is something I learned for sure this weekend.

Hope everyone had an awesome long weekend. I can’t believe December is almost here.