Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ask VBJD: What Are You Eating For Thanksgiving (The Sweet Answer)

Ask Veg Baker, J.D., The Thanksgiving Special, Continues!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am also bringing a tray of cookies. It's no real secret that I love to share desserts, but there is another practical reason for bringing dessert to a holiday or potluck dinner - when you've arrived, you're all done! No need to reheat, take up space in the kitchen, or worry that your dish is getting cold or messed up. You can deliver the final product, confident in its taste and presentation.

This year, I will be bringing three cookies on my tray: the chocolate caramel bars and sparkled ginger cookies, which I've previously written about, and a new cookie from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: carrot cake cookies.

Why carrot cake cookies? A couple of reasons, actually. First, I love bringing cakes and cupcakes to parties, but sometimes, it's just not practical. When you've got a hankering for cake but the inability to deliver, I think these cookies are a good compromise.

These cookies are also great because, when fall rolls around, I feel like there are certain flavors I crave, including squash, pumpkins, apples, and root vegetables. I think carrot cake is perfect at this time of year because it incorporates carrots with all of the favorite Thanksgiving spices. It truly brings together the best of the season. The cookies are convenient because you get all of those flavors in an easy portable version.

Finally, I've also got a selfish motive. Greg's favorite cake is carrot cake, but he rarely eats it because he hates cream cheese frosting, which is the typical topping on his beloved slice. I think his distaste for cream cheese frosting makes him a weirdo, even if he's a cute weirdo. :) That's neither here nor there, though, because cream cheese frosting is decidedly not vegan, and I haven't come up with a vegan frosting yet. What's a girl to do? Bring in the cookies!

The original recipe called for a lemon glaze frosting. I'm sure that's probably delicious and all, but I didn't make it, because I didn't think the cookies needed it. In addition, these cookies have the added bonus of tasting better when they've cooled. That's at least what my official cookie tester Greg told me, and I think there's something to that. When the cookies came straight out of the oven, he said they were good and had one. The next morning, he ate four more and in between mouthfuls said he thought they were irresistible at their "equilibrium" state. That said, if you're looking for a tasty dessert that doesn't need reheating, these cookies have mass appeal.

Happy cooking and eating everyone, and most importantly, Happy Thanksgiving!

Carrot Cake Cookies (adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)
Yields: 3 dozen cookies

1/3 c. soy milk
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. shredded or grated carrots (if you have a food processor or stand mixed attachment, it makes this a cinch! Otherwise, a hand grater will work)
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 - 1 3/4 c. raisins (depends on your raisin preference; go as heavy or light as you like)

1) Combine soymilk, flaxseeds, oil, sugars, zest, and vanilla until well combined.
2) Gradually add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and until just combined.
3) Mix in carrots, coconut and raisins.
4) Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons (two spoons are probably best; the dough is sticky and sometimes the scoop doesn't cooperate), scoop dough into little balls by the tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
5) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes. Remove from oven and rest on baking sheet for 10 minutes before cooling on cooling racks completely.

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