Tag : ginger
Tag : ginger
previous warm-season muffins
The first time I ever baked with rhubarb (the first time I ever used rhubarb, period), was when I worked at the restaurant a few years ago. Even though I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the desserts on that menu, I was oddly enamored with the idea of baking with rhubarb. I think because rhubarb desserts aren’t common, the rhubarb season isn’t long, and rhubarb itself isn’t Southern (and thus it’s difficult to come by here). We want what we can’t have and rhubarb in its rarity had some kind of allure to me.
The only other memory I have of rhubarb, and in fact the only other exposure I had ever had to rhubarb, was when I was much younger: I remember my grandma making rhubarb pie when we visited her in Boston. I have a faint memory of the taste: kind of orange-y, ginger-y, tart, a little bit sweet. But it’s just a wisp. Until recently, I had forgotten that I had ever had rhubarb before the restaurant experience.
Last year and this year, wanting so desperately to master this warm weather produce, I would stock up on a pound of rhubarb each week, chop it into bite-sized pieces, and store it in the freezer until I had time to make something of it. Last spring, the rhubarb found its way into the occasional pie or crumble, but nothing notable (aside from a super delicious jam that will be coming up in a few weeks.)
This year, I finally have a rhubarb recipe: whole wheat ginger rhubarb muffins. Ginger and rhubarb are a natural pair, in my mind, but because their flavors are so aggressive, I used some whole wheat flour to round out the flavor of the muffins.
whole wheat ginger rhubarb muffins
makes 12 muffins
6.5 oz whole wheat flour
3.5 oz all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
5 oz granulated sugar
7 oz milk
3.5 oz vegetable oil
2 oz fresh ginger, grated
2 large eggs (4 oz total)
6 oz fresh rhubarb (1 cup), plus extra pieces for topping, if desired
1 oz crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C and line a muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
In a small bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, milk, oil, ginger, and eggs until uniform.
Quickly mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, then fold in the fresh rhubarb and crystallized ginger.
Using a spoon or large cookie scoop, scoop the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way. If desired, top each muffin with one piece of rhubarb and extra pieces of crystallized ginger.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly in the center with your finger, or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove them from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Wrap leftover muffins individually in plastic and store in the refrigerator overnight. Microwave muffins if they start to feel firm or dry, about 10 – 15 seconds. The muffins will last up to 48 hours, but are best the day they are made (within a few hours of coming out of the oven.)
Happy Easter and Passover, y’all,
Well, here’s another first: the first layer cake recipe of the blog (also the first cake recipe period if you don’t count the poundcake from a few years ago)!
I used to not really like cake or cupcakes (can you believe it?) I’m still not a fan of chocolate cake or strawberry cupcakes (but I am in the process of preparing some Independence Day cupcakes, and also learning to make jam, so that’s about to change.) There was a time when the only cakes I would deign to eat were angel food, lemon, and vanilla. I was so-so about frosting most of the time, but hand me a container of grocery-store chocolate frosting and a glass of soy milk, and I’ll be an elated camper.
Just keep the strawberry frosting to yourself.
I can’t remember a time when I was younger when I was enticed by cupcakes, either. They aren’t easy to eat, to be honest. Even when I moved to Los Angeles and was introduced to the world of Sprinkles, I was still a bit underwhelmed.
But everything changed when the fire nation attacked…I mean, when I had my first bakery experience doing an internship at a now-closed bakery in Durham. Not to imply anything about Sprinkles. It’s not their fault I only changed my tastes five years ago. Though, to be fair, I was still in Los Angeles four years ago, and Sprinkles was still there, too, so essentially, I had a second cupcake-ing before I graduated.
This former bakery started out as a cupcake food truck and cake catering business, and opened a store front bakery/cafe downtown, which closed its doors a few years later. I went into that internship knowing I wasn’t the biggest fan of cake, but I wanted to be there anyway.
It only took one day for them to change my mind. Not only were the cupcakes that good, but the vegan and gluten-free versions were simple. They tasted just like their dairy-full, gluten-ous counterparts, and didn’t require any strange ingredients! I was in love. They let me take home a few pastries each day, and I did just that: I filled my fridge and my guts up with cupcakes, cake, brownies, cookies, tarts, turnovers, and anything else I could get my grubby hands on.
I have since made cupcakes a few times myself, and I’ve experimented with alternative diet versions (but don’t hold your breath for any of those this year.) Last summer, I even tried to make red-white-and-blue cupcakes for Independence Day, but those didn’t turn out so well (also I didn’t start early enough…and I twisted my neck on July 3rd, so really everything didn’t happen.) I wanted them to be naturally colored, instead of dyed, and it’s more difficult than I realized to come up with something that’s actually blue, easy to find, and edible. I will not give up, though. I learned how to make strawberry puree a few weeks ago, I’m practicing jam as soon as my book arrives in the mail, and this July, I will have my cake and eat it with the side of Freedom that it deserves.
But before we get too caught up in American-ess, here’s a British-y cake that looks as interesting as it tastes good: earl grey cake with ginger-turmeric frosting (American buttercream-style.) The frosting recipe makes more frosting than you need for a modest coating, so frost liberally or keep the extra in the fridge in a sealed container (and use it for the crumb coat the next time you make the cake!)
This cake recipe uses less butter than usual and makes up for the wet ingredients with milk, producing a slightly thinner batter, and a lighter, airier final product.
I described below, as detailed as possible, how to frost a layer cake, but personally, I learned from watching YouTube videos, so here are some videos to help you visualize what to do:
earl grey cake with ginger-turmeric frosting
makes two 6″ layers, with more than enough frosting for the whole cake
120 g (1 c) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
2 bags of black tea, cut open (4 grams of tea leaves)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
150 g (3/4 c) granulated sugar
4 Tbsp (2 oz, 1/4 c) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs (2 ounces each), at room temperature
4 oz (1/2 c) milk, at room temperature
8 Tbsp (4 oz, 1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened
340 g (2 1/2 c) powdered sugar
dash of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger or galangal
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp fresh grated turmeric or galangal
milk, as needed, for texture (2-4 Tbsp)
making the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C. Grease and line two 6″ cake pans with parchment paper (the paper is so you can easily pull the cake out, but it doesn’t need to cover the entire surface.)
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, tea leaves, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar, beating for about 3-5 minutes or until light, pale, and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.
Beat the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, mixing for 3-5 minutes after each one, until the batter fluffs up. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally.
Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the batter (1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, and finally the last third of the flour), mixing constantly and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally with the rubber spatula.
The batter will be a little thinner than expected, but the final product will be light and airy.
Fill the cake pans evenly with the batter and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, the sides are shrinking away from the pan, and the cake is plump like a foam ball when pressed lightly with a finger.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in their pans for about 5 minutes, until you can handle the pans. Then, remove the cakes from their pans and let cool on a wire rack (with no parchment underneath them, so that the bottoms don’t get damp) until room temperature (or cooler) and ready to frost.
making the frosting
Cream the butter and a small amount (1/4 c, 30 g) of the powdered sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about 1/4-1/2 c (30 – 60 g) at a time, beating until it returns to smooth frosting consistency after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl each time.
After all of the sugar has been mixed in, beat in the rest of the ingredients until the mixture becomes smooth and frosting-like again. Taste and add either more powdered sugar, spice, or milk for texture. The frosting should have gained a significant amount of volume and be a little bit firm.
You want the frosting to be spreadable but if there isn’t enough sugar, the frosting breaks (the butter breaks or melts.) If you plan to add more wet ingredients (ie., fresh ginger and turmeric like I did), you need more sugar to compensate. Err on the side of too much powdered sugar. Besides, if you don’t have enough powdered sugar, your frosting will just taste like compound butter (not that compound butter is a bad thing but we’re making cake today, not steak.)
frosting the cake
**Usually, you would use a lazy susan or some type of cake stand for frosting, but you can also put the bottom layer of the cake on a square of parchment paper and spin that around as needed (I do. I find I don’t need a wheel to do the frosting.) Just make sure you cover the entire surface of your cake with frosting.**
Slice off the domed top of one cake layer. This will become the bottom layer. You can also slice off the top of the other layer, if you want.
Coat the top of this bottom layer with a thin layer of frosting, the crumb coat that helps you add more frosting without the cake crumbling into it. Let the crumb coat dry for a few minutes. Optionally, you can chill the cake after adding the crumb coat, so the frosting solidifies.
Add a thicker layer of frosting on top of the crumb coat, and place the upper layer of the cake on top. You now have two layers of cake with a thick center of the ginger-turmeric frosting.
Using an offset spatula, liberally frost the sides and top of the cake, and fill in the crevice where the cake layers meet. Smooth down the frosting periodically with the side of the offset spatula, the back of a knife, or the straight side of a bowl/bench scraper (angle the flat of the spatula, knife, or scraper towards the cake and run it around the perimeter, so that the frosting is distributed evenly, rather than removed entirely.) You can either chill the cake every once in a while or let the frosting dry out to make adding the rest of the frosting easier.
Continue adding layers and smoothing them down until all of the frosting is used up. Alternately, save some frosting to decorate the cake with a piping bag and tip.
Cut with a long slicing knife and enjoy!
Cake keeps for up to a week wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Theoretically, you only need to cover the cut surfaces of the cake and not the frosting, but better safe than sorry!
I’ll let y’all eat cake,
Nic le P’
I remember the good ol’ days of getting out of my car at 10:00 p.m. and watching my glasses fog up immediately. Those precious “is that sweat, rain, or the humidity?” moments. The 5:00 am sunrise and “will the sun ever set?” times.
But those are over now. My glasses don’t fog up anymore and I can walk around without fainting.
I’ve finally finished up all the frozen summer berries and started stocking up on pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes, and various apples in anticipation of autumn sweets, and let me tell you, I’m anticipating a lot of sweets.
About a year ago I started really exploring pie crust. I watched every YouTube video and read every recipe I could find. I tried every possible technique the Web would show me, and even did a bit of scientific experimentation, complete with sticky labels and test batches and all.
It was very official, y’all.
And then I took an autumn pie workshop at Scratch Bakery last October, and everything I thought I had figured out was flipped, turned right upside down on its very head. I stuck with the recipes from that workshop for months, until I took a pie class at work, and everything was made even simpler by the pastry chef. The first thing she taught us when we got to work on the dough was a universal ratio for the dough: 3 parts flour, 2 parts cold butter, 1 part ice water.
It was pie-vana. I had a pie-alization. The flaky, buttery dough, the rich summer berries, the dark almond-flavored cherries, they all came together to form one simple truth:
Pie is easy.
And now a full year later, making the dough is like second nature: I toss everything into a food processor, no gimmicks or silly tricks, squeeze it into a ball, and freeze it. And it turns out well every time!
Now that the crust is a breeze, I want to expand on my fillings. Last year, I made Spiced Chai Apple Streusel Pie and Boozy Pecan Rum Pie for the holidays. I’m already dreaming up new autumn and winter combinations for this year (Pear and Fennel, Chocolate Peppermint, or Limoncello Brûlée?)
I’ve also been playing around a little bit with free-form tarts (Italian: crostata; French: galette) and just filling them with a layer of fruit and spices. One evening, when I was really feeling the impending leaf-changing and air-crisping, I sliced up some apples (skins on because I can’t be bothered to peel them), and mixed up some sugar and spices. I threw in some dried rosemary and assembled the tart, then when it was in the oven, I placed some leftover rosemary sprigs (I had made focaccia that day, as well) on top for an extra flavor infusion, and voila!
rosemary spiced apple crostata (crostata di mele e rosmarino)
makes two 7″, or one 9-10″ crostata
200 – 300 g red apples
50 g granulated sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs (with or without leaves)
1 egg yolk, for washing
1 spoonful raw, turbinado, or demerara sugar, for coating
Core and slice the apples. You can peel them if you want, but they’re just as good with the skin on. Set the slices aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and spices. Set aside.
Roll dough out into a circle or a square a few millimeters thick. With a bench scraper or spatula, mark approximately halfway (both vertically and horizontally) between edges, then 2/3 of the way between the outer edge of the dough and your marking. You should now have slight marks/scores 1/6 of the way in from the edge of the dough, and halfway across. This is just a guide for how much of the dough to fill and how much to fold.
Spread about 2/3 of the spice mixture between the outer markings (so the middle 2/3 of the dough, leaving the outer 1/3 border empty.)
Layer the apples on top of the spices, and sprinkle the other 1/3 of the spices over the apples.
Fold the edges of the dough in, pinching them together where they overlap.
Freeze the tart for at least half an hour to let it chill.
Preheat your oven to 425 F/220 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Brush the edges of the tart with egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the tart for 30 – 40 minutes until the crust is bronze and the filling is bubbly.
Remove and transfer to a wire rack with the parchment paper underneath the tart.
Cut and enjoy!
Tarts to you later,
previous monthly muffins:
It’s the month of loooooove, and I am in looooooooooooove with ginger. Last year I made a ginger sugar cookie, a ginger-flavored and turmeric-colored cookie completely different from the typical molasses cookie. While working on the first few monthly muffins last season, I tested out molasses as a vegan sweetener, and ended up with molasses muffins. They weren’t what I was aiming for, so I put the idea of a molasses muffin on the shelf for another cold season.
These are not the molasses muffins you are probably not looking for anyway.
Because of health reasons, I decided in November to do more vegan pastries, in addition to savory cooking, and the first and most important thing on my Xmas wishlist was a vegan baking book. I got exactly what I wanted: The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I didn’t recognize the book when I opened it (though I was plenty appreciative as it’s supposedly the number one vegan pastry book), and a few days later I discovered it hidden in the bowels of my Amazon wishlist. This is what happens when you add 100 books a day to your Amazon wishlist and then never look at it again.
My new year’s resolution a few years ago was to reduce the number of processed foods I buy at the grocery store. I even started a list of foods I would allow (breads and some Morningstar products), and foods I would stop buying (shredded cheese with preservatives, dyed cheddar cheese, etc.) Back then, EarthBalance wasn’t on my list of banned foods, but now for the sake of simplicity and budget, it is.
Before baking anything from the book, I went through and examined every single recipe to see what fats and liquids are used. I marked all the recipes that use non-dairy milk (cheap and whole, totally acceptable), and vegetable oil, rather than margarine or vegan butters and vegan cheeses. Eventually, I’ll go back to the recipes that call for the processed ingredients and work on making my own substitutions, but for now I’m focusing on the ones with simpler ingredients, like these muffins.
Fortunately, muffins are easy and forgiving. It doesn’t matter what fats or oils you use, as long as they’re in liquid form when you use them, and you leaven with baking soda/baking powder. That’s why we have the Monthly Muffin and not the Monthly Montblanc.
These muffins are similar to the ginger cookies from last spring, but without the turmeric…and also, they’re not cookies. I hope that’s obvious. The ginger flavor is light and sweet, but noticeable, like in ginger ale, rather than ginger bread.
The apple sauce helps create volume and makes the batter thicker, while the canola oil makes them rich and flavorful. I tried a version with mostly apple sauce, and then one with none, and I preferred the latter. The mostly apple sauce batch was a little dry and not very flavorful, but I ended up using a combination of the two ingredients, so I could get volume, great texture, and plenty of flavor. Over the past few months of trying vegan and gluten-free things, I’ve learned that a combination of canola oil and apple sauce is one of the best ways to replace eggs and butter*.
I used coconut milk because it has the best texture for baking and cooking, and in many recipes, you won’t even taste the coconut.
These muffins are best topped with toasted almonds, or for those of you who can’t have nuts, a vanilla glaze made from coconut milk and powdered sugar.
And finally, as much as I try to get by without it, I always find myself adding some amount of whole wheat flour to my muffins. For the first few muffins at the end of last year, using mostly whole wheat was the way to go, but for something that’s meant to be a whiter muffin (meaning all all-purpose flour), if you substitute about 1/3 of the all-purpose flour for the same amount of whole wheat, I think it makes the muffin that much better.
*There are a few recommended ways to replace eggs and butter in vegan baking, and I tried most of them in this recipe. Beware of using too much baking powder or soda (in fact, avoid the baking soda altogether), or else the muffins will taste like blood…I mean…something metallic…maybe.
vegan ginger muffins (glaze recipe included)
adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, makes 12 muffins
200 g all-purpose flour
40 g whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
a dash of salt
30 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
180 g granulated sugar
40 g unsweetened apple sauce
80 g vegetable oil (or nut or coconut)
240 g non-dairy milk (coconut is my preference)
~6 g lemon zest or a splash of lemon extract
for topping: toasted sliced almonds, lemon glaze, vanilla glaze (recipe below), crystallized ginger (recipe here)
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C, and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate larger bowl, grate the peeled ginger using a microplane grater/zester. Add the sugar and whisk until all the sugar is soaked into the ginger.
Whisk in the apple sauce, oil, milk, and zest/extract until smooth and consistent.
Whisk or fold the dry ingredients into the wet just until combined, then divide evenly among the cups in the muffin pan.
If topping with almonds, you can either toast them a little bit before you make the batter, or sprinkle them onto the unbaked muffins without toasting (they’ll toast a little in the oven.) Otherwise, skip this part.
Bake the muffins for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.
Remove and cool in the pan for a few minutes, then take the muffins out and cool on a wire rack. If glazing, let them cool completely before glazing.
vegan muffin glaze, makes ~1/2 c, enough for 1 dozen muffins
20 g coconut milk
100 g powdered sugar, sifted
lemon zest, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Whisk ingredients together, alternating between the milk and sugar, until it’s your desired consistency. It should be thick but runny, like syrup.
Drizzle on top of the muffins while they’re on the wire rack. Let it solidify, then enjoy!
Salut, mes amis!
previous saturday spices:
[ginger, zingiber officinale, india/china]
Let’s get back on this boat and sail a little north to our next destination: China!
But first I need to take a potty break in India. So typical, stopping the entire carpool half an hour after setting out from the last potty break.
Ginger is most often associated with China, and for good reason, but based on examining the large amount of genetic variation among ginger species on the Indian subcontinent, it is assumed that the root is native to this area. Perhaps some species of ginger are indigenous to China, or maybe the Chinese were the first to get to the root.
The reason we most associate ginger with China is that they wrote about it first. The first known mention of ginger, dried or whole, in China showed up approximately 4,000 years ago, while Indian texts started mentioning the spice only 2,300 years ago. For the sake of simplicity and fairness, let’s assume ginger is native to both India AND China.
To be honest, though, it doesn’t even matter: ginger no longer grows in the wild, and is now cultivated all over the world. Furthermore, the root has been propagated from trimmings for so long that it can’t produce seeds anymore.
Arab traders, for a long time the rulers of the eastern spice trade, brought ginger from east Asia to Roman Alexandria, planting rhizomes all along the way. Fun fact, people from the Arabian peninsula not only helped spread ginger around the world, but they were also the first to bring coffee from Ethiopia east to Yemen. Those of us who love coffee and gingerbread (and really anything using eastern spices) owe a lot to the Arabian peninsula.
When Rome fell in the first half of the first millenium C.E., Gallic and Gothic nations helped proliferate some spices (and another fun fact: the reason we still use the word “spice” to refer to the species of ancient Rome is because the Goths had no appropriate word of their own, and adopted from Latin), but unfortunately, ginger was not one of them. For half a millenium, the root was lost to Europe.
Right when Y1K struck, making all those medieval computers go bonkers, Europe rediscovered ginger, and by the 14th century, the only spice more valuable was black pepper (which has been among the most popular spices since the trade first started.)
The Portuguese, who, thanks to Vasco de Gama, took over the spice trade in the middle of the second millenium, introduced ginger to west Africa, while Spain carried it over to the Americas later.
but where did those little luscious human-shaped cookies come from?
Queen Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) is credited with the invention of gingerbread cookies.
Also, you can thank Queen Isabella of Portugal for helping bring spices to North America (while also cursing European royalty for the damage they did to the Native Americans), and Marie Antoinette for the invention of croissants.
what can i make with ginger?
vegan spiced banana nut muffins | | balinese ginger tea | | ginger turmeric cookies | | cardamom molasses cookies | | apple chai-der pie | | gluten-free sweet potato muffins | | black tea butter cookies
crystallized ginger | | fried rice, stir-fried noodles (mie goreng, etc.) | | pickled ginger for sushi | | gingerbread | | ginger pork | | ginger syrup (for lattes or cocktails) | | ginger ale or ginger beer | | ginger cupcakes | | Japanese pork dumplings | | Chinese chicken rice porridge, congee
Later, we’ll take a look at uses and health benefits of the root.
Get pumped, y’all.
“Ginger History.” www.InDepthInfo.com.
Hubpages. “The History of Ginger: From India to the New World.” 2010 Feb 16.
Kaminsky, Steffany. “The History and Use of Ginger.” 2010 Jan 21. examiner.com.
“Origin and History of Ginger, Traditional and Current Uses.” 2015 Sep 20. MDidea.com.
Turner, Jack. Spice: The History of a Temptation. 2005 Aug 9. pub. Vintage.
ginger: health benefits
past holiday cookies:
ginger turmeric sugar cookies | | basic sugar cookies | | cardamom shortbread | | salted, spiced double chocolate cookies | | chocolate chip cookies | | cardamom molasses cookies | | black tea butter cookies
Christmas is just around the corner, which means cookies galore. I like to do a cookie round-up every December, featuring some new holiday cookie recipes and bringing back some old ones. Perhaps someday I’ll have enough to write a book dedicated to holiday cookies (and by “perhaps,” I mean “certainly.”) It’s the time of year for spicy chocolate, rich ginger and molasses, decorate-able sugar cookies, and exploring all manner of exotic recipes, ancient recipes, and European recipes.
Last year, I went on a spicy cookie binge, introducing salted and spiced double chocolate cookies and cardamom molasses cookies. Over the past year, though, I’ve been trying my hand at some vegan and gluten-free pastries (vegan banana nut muffins, gluten-free brownies, gluten-free muffins), so our special 2015 guests are of the vegan variety.
I spent a month trying to come up with a “healthy” vegan cookie, with whole wheat, oatmeal, apples, and more, so that I could have my cake and gain a six-pack, too. I don’t normally diet, and in fact I hate the word, but I’m thinking it’s time to become more aware of my health and what I’m eating (my tummy will go away but chocolate chip cookies are forever.) Long story short, those cookies were disastrous and disgusting, consistently. They were mushy and soggy, even when I dried out the apple bits in the oven before adding them to the batter, and they tasted less than pleasant. My grandiose idea of The Healthy Vegan Apple Oatmeal Cookie would have to say hello to the trashcan for good. I figured I could try scones instead, but I still wanted some cookies for Saint Nick (I am Saint Nick. I wanted the cookies for my own mouth.) The scones will have to wait until 2016 (but expect a load of vegan and GF scone recipes next year.)
A friend of mine suggested that I do peanut butter cookies. They’re essentially only three ingredients: peanut butter, flour, and sugar. However, as I discovered through a lot of trial and error, three ingredients just doesn’t cut it. Adding some oil and liquid helps.
When thinking of what types of cookies I could make vegan, and what types of cookies I didn’t already have on the blog, the obvious top choice was snickerdoodles, named after me (actually, as you can read in the about me, my parents called me snickerdoodle when I was younger…meaning until last week.)
So here we have it: our 2015 holiday cookies are vegan snickerdoodles and vegan peanut butter!
With the snickerdoodles, I found it’s really important to have a combination of apple sauce, vegetable oil, and maple syrup. No maple syrup and the cookies won’t be very sweet. Too much apple sauce and they taste metallic (apple sauce has ascorbic acid, and the most important ingredient in snickerdoodles is tartaric acid, so in all it’s just too much acid.) The apple sauce helps the texture: it makes the cookies puff up more and end up softer when they cool. Otherwise, you end up with snickerdoodle chips. The maple syrup helps sweeten the cookies and thin out the dough a little bit. If the dough is too dry, the coating doesn’t stick and it’s harder to work with.
makes 2 dozen small (2 teaspoons) or 1 dozen medium (4 tsp)
10 g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
60 g canola oil*
25 g unsweetened apple sauce
60 g maple syrup*
110 g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
185 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small shallow bowl, or on a plate, mix the coating ingredients. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
In a larger mixing bowl, beat the wet ingredients (oil, apple sauce, syrup, sugar, and vanilla), then beat in dry mixture until fully combined. The dough might be dry and crumbly, but it should clump together when you squeeze it.
Form small balls about 2 centimeters across, use a small (2-teaspoon) cookie scoop, or a regular spoon. Lightly press dough spheres into the bowl/plate of cinnamon sugar, to coat one side and form a small disc, then arrange the cookies (sugared side up) on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the tops are crispy and crackle-y. Remove, cool, and enjoy.
I made the peanut butter cookies a few different ways: as simple as possible (no added liquids), with a little bit of added liquid (soy milk), with a ton of apple sauce for volume, and then with a mix of oil and milk. The last way ended up being the best all around: they thinned out and puffed up, retained the peanut butter taste but weren’t too dense, and were easy to work with. Too much soy milk and the flavor gets diluted. Too little and the cookies are dense. I ended up not even needing apple sauce. You’re welcome to add some, but I found it didn’t make a difference, and because I like to simplify my recipes as much as possible, if I don’t need it, I don’t use it. I also took out the vanilla extract because the flavor comes from the peanut butter and the sweetness from the sugars.
I tried these with factory peanut butter (Skippy) and organic (Justin’s), and they turned out the same either way. The non-factory peanut butter is thicker and less sweet, though there’s plenty of oil in it, but the cookies are still amazing. If you think the dough is too thick or dry, mix in some oil or milk.
NOTE: Because these cookies use canola oil as the fat (as opposed to something that would be solid at room temperature, like butter or coconut oil), they won’t melt down or spread at all. The snickerdoodles do spread because of the apple sauce (and perhaps the syrup), but for the peanut butter cookies, you’ll need to flatten them yourself. You can make them really really flat and thin, or a little bit flat like a hockey puck, or you could even just make vegan peanut butter cookie balls. Every option is equally scrumptious.
vegan peanut butter cookies
160 g peanut butter
80 g granulated sugar
80 g brown sugar
32 g canola oil
32 g soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
95 g all-purpose flour
dash of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 F/ C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients (peanut butter, sugars, milk, and oil) and in a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Beat ingredients together until the dough is fully mixed.
Using a small ice cream scoop (~2 teaspoons or one spoonful), scoop dough onto the baking sheet and press down with a fork.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the cookies start to darken slightly around the edges. Remove and cool.
Happy holidays, y’all
A cold, rainy Sunday morning in December. No alarms going off, no work, and no plans. You roll around in bed, waiting to come to life, and waiting for your comforter to stop being so damned comfortable. Eventually, you get up, rip a massive yawn, brush your teeth, and start some coffee brewing in your moka pot, or drip brewer, or french press, what have you. Whole wheat english muffins with dill mayo and smoked ham, vanilla bean coffee, and black tea butter cookies for breakfast, accompanied by a gander at the news (which turns into reading Buzzfeed articles because really, who wants to ruin their day reading about politics?)
Sounds perfect to me.
I wanted to find/create a recipe for a cookie to go with tea, like a tea cookie. Something small, light, and easy to make, to add some sweetness to the morning joe. I found a recipe for chai tea cookies somewhere and played around with it until I had spiced black tea butter cookies (basically shortbread.) You assemble everything in a food processor, squeeze it together, wrap it, and chill until you’re ready to bake, then you slice them and pop ’em in the oven!
They’re delicate, butter-y, sweet, and spicy, and they go well with a cup of coffee or English breakfast tea.
black tea butter cookies
adapted from Chai Tea Cookies, on The Kitchn
makes one dozen
70 g all-purpose flour
30 g granulated sugar
dash of salt
2 bags of black tea, cut open, or 2 tsp loose black tea (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, etc.)
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
2 ounces (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
Assemble everything in a food processor and pulse until dough forms a large clump.
Dump dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and squeeze together lightly, so there are no loose or dry bits falling off.
Mold into a log, whatever width you like (I do about 3-4 centimeters), and roll up in the parchment paper, rolling into a cylinder and flattening the ends as you go.
Chill, wrapped in parchment, in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 375 F/190 C, and slice log into 1-centimeter-thick rounds with a serrated or chef’s knife (be careful not to push down too hard, or the dough will squish or crumble.) Arrange the discs on a baking sheet and bake 10 – 15 minutes, until just starting to brown on the edges. Remove, cool, and enjoy.
Enjoy your weekend, y’all
I’ve recently discovered the miracle that is plagiarizing one’s own recipes, instead of plagiarizing other people’s recipes! It all started in Kuta, Bali, when I went to the morning market for a cooking class. The first thing our instructor pointed out to us was the ginger and turmeric. I have a notoriously delicate stomach, and as ginger is a stomach aid, I am absolutely in love with the stuff. My lifetime cure-all is Gingerale, even if I’m not having stomach issues. While Mister I-Forgot-His-Name-Immediately was explaining the difference between the various types of gingers, galangal, and turmeric, I was thinking of cookies.
I am usually thinking of cookies. In fact, a great deal of my grocery planning involves thinking of what type of cookies to buy for my mid-morning snack/lunch #1 at work, and I inevitably always go with the chocolate and coffee shortbread (they’re crack, I swear.)
Looking at the stubby little gingers and turmeric in the baskets, I wondered, “if I can add lemon to a sugar cookie and make a lemon cookie…can I add ginger to a sugar cookie and make crack?” The answer is, “duh.” (Yes.)
I took the lemon sugar cookie recipe, made a few changes, and added some grated ginger, ground ginger, and turmeric (for color, so I wouldn’t confuse them with other sugar cookies and so you the viewer could tell that obviously I had done something different.) I wanted to make something ginger-y but simpler and lighter than molasses cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about molasses and brown sugar and…rum…but I had an urge to see if I could do something else.
And they were a success! They’re light like the lemon cookies, but with an obvious ginger flavor and no bitterness from the turmeric. The dough is much lighter and softer than the lemon cookie dough, but I didn’t need to use any more flour than it says in the recipe.
ginger turmeric cookies, with homemade crystallized ginger
based loosely on the lemon sugar cookies
makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
a piece of fresh ginger (any size, depending on how much you want)
Peel the ginger and slice it paper thin.
Put it in a pot and cover with water. Put on the stove and turn the heat on to high. bring it to a boil.
Boil the ginger for 30 – 60 minutes, until it becomes darker and a little bit rubbery. Drain, but save some of the ginger water.
Weigh the ginger and measure out the same amount of granulated sugar.
Add sugar, ginger, and some ginger water (30 – 60 ml) back to the pot and put over high heat.
Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Let it simmer, stirring often, for ~20 minutes, or until syrup crystallizes, but don’t let it turn brown.
Drain the ginger (you can keep the syrup if you want.)
Fill a cookie sheet or baking pan with a thin layer of granulated sugar. Toss the ginger in the the sugar, separating any pieces that are stuck together. Let it cool, and save the crystallized ginger any way you want.
ginger turmeric cookies
113 g unsalted butter, softened
120 g granulated sugar, plus a little extra for coating the dough
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
2 T grated fresh ginger
240 g all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for shaping the dough
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
crystallized ginger pieces, cut to desired size, for topping
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 F/175 C.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
[Edit 06/2016] In a small bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, ground turmeric, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in vanilla extract.
Beat in egg and mix until pale and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
Beat in grated ginger in 3-4 additions, beating well after each addition.
Slowly beat in flour mixture, in about 8 additions, and beat on high after each addition. The dough should feel like frosting but not stick to your hands. You should be able to roll it gently into a ball.
Put extra granulated sugar into a shallow bowl.
Scooping dough out with a spoon, roll it into balls about 3 centimeters in diameter. Flour your hands occasionally if needed.
Roll the balls in the bowl of sugar, then place on cookie sheet about 3 centimeters apart. Top with a piece of crystallized ginger.
Bake for 10 minutes, until they puff up and look dry. If they look wet, shiny, or dark in the middle, bake for an extra minute. If using a toaster oven, toast at 740 W for 10 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Having the time-eric of my life,