Vegan Sugar Cookies with Icing

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Some vegans don’t eat cookies too often, unless they bake them at home. They are hard to find in the stores and always a bit pricey. If you can find any, they will usually be peanut butter or chocolate chip, but very rarely a sugar cookie and a great tasting one at that. In fact my daughter prefers these over the non-vegan ones!

I made this batch of cookies for the First Annual Veg-Fest in Sonoma County last month. Since these needed to look pristine, I ended up with some rejects left at home. My friend was visiting a few days after the event and ate the rest of my cookies, he claimed they were so good he couldn’t stop eating them. Today he asked for the recipe because he just needed to make some vegan cookies and he thinks I can go into business with these and sell them to places like Whole Foods or other vegetarian friendly places.

I hate to even call these a “Sugar Cookie”. Most sugar cookies are hard, chalky and dry. What makes these so different than a traditional sugar cookie, is the flax-seed meal and the cream cheese. Those two items give this cookie a much better texture and flavor than the old fashioned ones. To change it up once in a while, you could add some lemon or orange zest to the cookie dough and icing for a different taste.

These cookies are just as easy to make as any other cookie, with the added fun of cutting out different shapes and decorating them.  If you are not an artist, then no worries, you can just spread the icing over the tops then devour. If you are more artistically inclined, then you can pull out all the stops and really make some fun and gorgeous cookies!

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* VEGAN * ROLLED *SUGAR *COOKIES *

Ingredients for cookies:

  • 1 Cup Golden Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Vegan Margarine – such as Nucoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 2 tbls water
  • 1/2 container of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (or Lemon or Orange zest/extract)

Directions:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Prepare the egg replacer  by mixing replacer with warm water and whisk until frothy
  • Add egg replacer, vanilla and almond extracts to mixer and beat another minute or so.
  • Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing after each cup is added.  (Be careful not to add too much at a time.
  • Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Place the dough in a large plastic (zip-lock type) bag or Tupperware bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.

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  •  Take about half the dough at a time and roll it out until about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • Carefully stamp each cookie cutter until that piece is full. (If cookie cutter starts to  stick, dip the edges in flour.)
  • Prep an area to roll out the dough. I use a roll out mat, and a little flour. If you don’t have height guides for your rolling pin, you can use two wooden spoons of the same height as guides as shown above.15 min before you remove the dough from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
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Wilton Fondant Fun Rolling MatLR-8022  LR-8023

  • Pick up the scraps and re- roll the dough, continue to stamp cookies until full, then repeat.
  • Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet (you can use parchment paper or a silicone mat on top of the sheet if you prefer) and place in the freezer for about 5 -10 minutes. This assures that the cookies stay very cold and will help prevent spreading.
  • Take the other half of the dough and repeat the process until all cookies have been stamped.
  • If you don’t have enough cookies sheets you should leave the unrolled dough in the fridge until your first batches are completed.
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    PRO TIP: Place similar sized cookies on the same cookies sheet. That way all the cookies will cook evenly and you won’t have some cookies under-baked and others to crispy.

  • Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as then are on the pan, so don’t let then get too brown.
  • Cool for just a minute or so on the pan, then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

This recipe yields about 28, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies.

Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated with frosting, royal icing or rolled fondant.



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* VEGAN * ROYAL * ICING * RECIPE*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (organic) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp of non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (or Lemon or Orange zest/extract)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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See my Sugar Cookie Extravaganza Post for all the details and tools used to decorate cookies. COOKIE DECORATING TOOLS NEEDED

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Directions:

  • Using Kitchen-aide mixer, add sugar, non-dairy milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Add in extracts and corn syrup.  Whisk  until icing is smooth, shiny, and a little runny.
  • Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
  • You will want this to be thicker at first so you can use this for your borders. So add more powdered sugar until icing is thick enough to hold its shape. (You will add water as needed later for the flood fill.)
  • In the icing bottles, place some of the white frosting in each one. Tint with food coloring or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency. For the borders, you want it to be stiff and thicker, but still able to squeeze out.
  • Once your desired colors are mixed, then fill each bottle, or parchment bag.

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DECORATING : See my Sugar Cookie Extravaganza Post for links, ideas and more how-to’s.

  • While the borders are drying, use the same bowls as before to mix your thinner flood fill icing. This needs to be thin enough to “set” itself in about 10 seconds. Add only a few drops of water at a time. If it’s too runny, then you will had to add more powdered sugar and mix again.
  • Fill squeeze bottles with flood will icing. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer stick to help move the flood colors to cover the surface area and reach into the corners.
  • Once your borders are set and dry you can begin filling in all your designs and colors. The possibilities are endless, so watch the videos for inspiration.
  • In-between uses, cover the bowl of plain white icing with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying. You can also cover each bottle with a tip or damp cloth to prevent them from getting hard or clogged.

It took a little time to get used to the vegan royal icing.  It’s not bright white like the traditional recipe is, but its a lovely off-white color that still takes gel coloring well. I was able to paint on the dried icing  as well as add edible glitter, and fondant flowers. By the time I decorated a few cookies, I was used to it.  The cookie at the bottom right corner of the photo below is bright white, because I rolled out white fondant and used the same cookie cutter to cut a square shape, iced cookie with the flood fill icing, then stuck on the fondant. The icing acts like glue and worked great. Fondant will give you a smoother canvas to work on, as well as giving it the pure white color. Some people love the taste of it and some hate it, I personally prefer the icing flavor over the fondant, but its great to use as an accent such as the flowers.

 

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** H A P P Y * B A K I N G **

How to Bake the PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookie

Originally Posted on http://www.ozy.com

I have often wondered myself how people get that PERFECT chocolate chip cookie. I like them a little chewy, soft center, with a crisp edge. Looks like the cookie marked BOTH is the one for me! My daughter on the other hand loves the kind marked MORE FLOUR.  Now I will be able to fine tune my cookies to fit exactly what I am craving. Now if I only had some chocolate chips  ….

 

You like soft and chewy. He likes thin and crispy. If only there were a chocolate chip cookie recipe that pleased everyone…

There is! And, no, it’s not Martha Stewart’s. It’s science.

We’ve taken our cues from a few spots: a bioengineering grad student named Kendra Nyberg, who co-taught a class at UCLA called Science and Food, and chef and cookbook author Tessa Arias, who writes about cookie science on her site, Handle the Heat.

There’s also an illuminating Ted Talk animation on cookie science. And if you really want to go nuts (or no nuts, your call), Serious Eats offers 21 painstakingly tested steps for the Perfect Cookie, including kneading times and chocolate prep techniques.

“Even though I can describe what I like,” says Nyberg, “I didn’t know the role of each ingredient in the texture and shape of cookies.” So she looked into it — as only a scientist can.

(MORE: His Grandfather Invented Doritos But Tim West Prefers Kale)

Here, relying on the experts’ help and based on the classic Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, OZY presents no-fail tips for baking your perfect cookie. (You’re welcome.)

Ooey-gooey: Add 2 cups more flour.

A nice tan: Set the oven higher than 350 degrees (maybe 360). Caramelization, which gives cookies their nice brown tops, occurs above 356 degrees, says the Ted video.

Crispy with a soft center: Use 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Chewy: Substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour.

(MORE: Food Waste – There’s (Finally) An App For That)

Just like store-bought: Trade the butter for shortening. Arias notes that this ups the texture but reduces some flavor; her suggestion is to use half butter and half shortening.

Thick (and less crispy): Freeze the batter for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. This solidifies the butter, which will spread less while baking.

Cakey: Use more baking soda because, according to Nyberg, it “releases carbon dioxide when heated, which makes cookies puff up.”

Butterscotch flavored: Use 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (instead of the same amount of combined granulated sugar and light brown sugar).

Uniformity: If looks count, add one ounce corn syrup and one ounce granulated sugar.

More. Just, more: Chilling the dough for at least 24 hours before baking deepens all the flavors, Arias found.


 

 Check out more about the PERFECT COOKIE on this BLOG:   H A N D L E **  THE ** H E A T

 

 

 

 

Dinner Party Cooking – Circa 1946

Imagine eating something that looked like this, in 2014. I certainly can’t. Pink ice cream looking substance in a cantaloupe shell with some interesting placements of fruit.  It’s something about the bananas… just makes it so … wrong. It doesn’t look very appetizing. Thank goodness for me we don’t still have to eat like this, but just in case you are throwing a vintage party and need some ideas, let’s take a trip back in time.

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Lets go back again to the 1940’s and see what we should make for dinner tonight.  Put on the radio, roll up your hair and put on an adorable apron. Let’s consult my Lily Wallace New American Cookbook for some dinner ideas. Hmmmm .. . How about a Spaghetti Crown with Savory Spinach?


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Nooooo … I’m not really in the mood for fried cocktail pork sausages. What else looks good……  Oh I know, what about everyone’s favorite Spaghetti with Tuna Fish. Drat, I’m all fresh out of smelly canned tuna. Dang, that one looked promising!

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Maybe we should stick to something more traditional, like macaroni and cheese.  So many varieties to choose from…… Maybe I should just combine ALL these ingredients and put them in a jello mold. That’s what they did back then right?

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OK, now for dessert. I really need some inspiration. I could make one of these:

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These look too scary to eat, like some crazy old evil witch deep in forest made them to fatten me up so she can turn me into a stew or something…. they do not look appetizing in the least bit.  Besides, who puts a whole orange on top of a slice of cake and slathers it in some shiny sugary glaze? Or a circle of poop cookie filled with red jelly? Or a whole mushroom on top of a piece of cake? A witch I tell you, a witch. If you EVER see these at a party you are attending, RUN, don’t walk to the nearest exit and don’t ever go back!

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NO, NO, NO, and NO … none of these will do. It has to be really special. Something no one has had before that will really wow a crowd.


I’ve got it.. how about this! Recipe # 2978 PORK CAKE – YUMMMMMMY

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*** T H E *** E N D ***

Sugar Cookie Extravaganza and it’s Back to School Already?

Wow, I am amazed that this summer break has flown by so quickly. More quickly than when I was working full time and commuting.  Not sure how that is possible, but it certainly feels that way. Where we live school starts August 20th. That’s exactly 2 weeks away! There are times I wish it didn’t start until after Labor Day like when I was a kid, but in exchange we are out for the “summer” earlier than most people in May. Which means if we take a vacation right after school ends, we beat the crowds.

So the last few days have been a flurry of cookie making. Decorated Sugar Cookie making to be exact. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t be like other moms and just buy the cookies, or make plain circle cookies and slather on some pink frosting, shake some rainbow sprinkles on them and call it a day. But NOOOOOO, I become possessed by some Martha Stewart spirit and wind up turning it into a 3 day cookie making extravaganza for my daughter’s Dance Company’s Bake Sale Fundraiser.

I did my research. I followed the rules and directions and I do have to say that I am quite pleased for my first attempt at this decorating style. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this website that offers really great explanations and how to’s. I wanted to have those professional looking cookies that you find at fancy bakeries. I can see now why they always charge $5 a cookie! However, I’m sure after doing this a few times, I would be able to complete the process much faster.

I was pleasantly surprised by all the compliments I received over these Dance Themed Cookies, taste and the decoration. Everyone in the dance company went berserk for them. They sold out on the first day! Being somewhat of a perfectionist, I see all the things I could have done better, all the little spots that didn’t come out exactly perfect. But in the end cookies were eaten and loved by all.


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Here’s the recipe for Rolled Sugar Cookies that was inspired by The Glorious Baker

Ingredients for cookies:

  • 1 Cup Golden Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • Parchment paper

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat another minute or so.
  5. Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing after each cup is added.  (Be careful not to add too much at a time.
  6. Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  7. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of parchment paper.
  8. Place the dough in a large plastic (ziplock type) bag or tupperware bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  9. Prep an area to roll out the dough. I use a roll out mat, and a little flour.
  10. 15 min before you remove the dough from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  11. Take about half the dough at a time and roll it out until about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
    Carefully stamp each cookie cutter until that piece is full. (If cookie cutter starts to  stick, dip the edges in flour.)
  12. Pick up the scraps and re- roll the dough, continue to stamp cookies until full, then repeat.
  13. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 5 -10 minutes. This assures that the cookies stay very cold and will help prevent spreading.
  14. Take the other half of the dough and repeat the process until all cookies have been stamped.
  15. If you don’t have enough cookies sheets you should leave the unrolled dough in the fridge until your first batches are completed.

    PRO TIP: Place similar sized cookies on the same cookies sheet. That way all the cookies will cook evenly and you won’t have some cookies under-baked and others to crispy.

  16. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as then are on the pan, so don’t let then get too brown.
  17. Cool for just a minute or so on the pan, then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.
  • This recipe yields about 30, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies.
  • Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated with frosting, royal icing or rolled fondant.


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::: ROYAL ICING RECIPE :::

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
  • 5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2.25 lbs. powdered sugar

*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to this recipe.

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COOKIE DECORATING TOOLS NEEDED

OPTION 1 – Pastry Bag Method:

  • Piping bags or Candy Melts squeeze bottles
  • Glasses – to stand your icing bags in
  • Clean cloths – a few damp and dry ones nearby
  • Elastic bands or bag clips
  • Piping tips(at least #’s 1-5)
  • Couplers
  • Toothpicks
  • Food gel coloring
  • Parchment Paper (Decorating Bags)

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OPTION 2 – Squeeze Bottle Method :

I used this method and it works great!

  • Candy Melts squeeze bottles for flood fill
  • Decorating Squeeze Bottles with changeable tips
  • Clean cloths – a few damp and dry ones nearby
  • Piping tips(at least #’s 1-5)
  • Couplers
  • Toothpicks
  • Food gel coloring
  • Parchment Paper ( Decorating Bags)
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Left: Flood Fill Icing Bottle ************** Right: Border icing and Final Detail Bottles with Changeable tips

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Directions:

  1. Using Kitchen-aide mixer, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder.
  2. Mix it with the whisk attachment (or by hand) until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
  4. Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
  5. Switch to the paddle attachment.
  6. On the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
  7. You will want this to be thicker at first so you can use this for your borders. (You will add water as needed later for the flood fill.)
  8. In small bowls place some of the white frosting in each one. Tint with food coloring or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency. For the borders, you want it to be stiff and thicker, but still able to squeeze out.
  9. Once your desired colors are mixed, then fill each bottle, or parchment bag.
  10. DECORATE : See below for the how to video’s and ideas.
  11. While the borders are drying, use the same bowls as before to mix your thinner flood fill icing. This needs to be thin enough to “set” itself in about 10 seconds. Add only a few drops of water at a time. If it’s too runny, then you will had to add more powdered sugar and mix again.
  12. Fill pastry bags or candy squeeze bottles with flood will icing
  13. Once your borders are set and dry you can begin filling in all your designs and colors. The possibilities are endless, so watch the videos for inspiration.
  14. In-between uses, cover the bowl of plain white icing with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying. You can also cover each bottle with a tip or damp cloth to prevent them from getting hard or clogged.
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In the process of bordering and flood fill. The square cookies can be anything you want. I just wrote out words or drew things with the border icing. This was the only photo I took of the in between process. Next time I will add some step by step photos of each cookie.

 

  PRO TIP: To make sure the icing is at the right consistency for the FLOOD FILL, use the “10 second rule“.  Drag a butter knife through the surface of your royal icing and count to 10.  If the icing surface becomes smooth in anywhere between 5-10 seconds, then your icing is ready to use.  If it takes longer than approximately 10 seconds, the icing is too thick.  Slowly add more water.  If your icing surface smooths over in less than 5-10 seconds, it is too runny.



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Here are some links to some tutorials and decorating ideas that I used to create my cookies.

::: Information ::: Tutorials ::: Pro-Tips :::

The Glorious Baker says:

I also highly recommend the book Cookie Craft.  This is the best and most complete book I’ve found on decorating cookies.  This book has gorgeous photos for inspiration, but also has every bit of information you need, including directions and recipes.  Despite the thousands of cookies I’ve made over the years, I still come back to this book for ideas or to refresh my memory on a particular technique.



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The finished cookies all packaged up in my Snapware Cupcake & Cookie carrier. I LOVE this thing. Not only does the inner tray flip ever so you can hold cookies, cupcakes, and muffins, I also used it to carry sandwich or burger fixin’s with an ice pack under the inner tray to keep it cool. So many great uses. I got mine at Costco, but you can find them on Amazon.com (click photo to go there) and it comes with 3 stacks with the flipping inner trays.

Cranberry Pecan Flax Muffins

Hello I am back from our summer break. We have been on a 3 state amazing road trip, had to be at my daughter’s two dance shows, and helped out at one Girl Scout Harry Potter Camp. I hope I can get back to writing more regularly. I have so many wonderful things to share with you for the summer I am just bursting at the seams.



::: Do you want to start of your morning in a healthier way than usual? It’s important to eat something for breakfast and what you eat can make a big difference in how you feel later in the day. I know I have already given you the green smoothie challenge, but if you have a bunch of hungry people to feed or you are in need of something more filing in the morning, let me introduce you to my newest and greatest love : Flax-seed Meal, a very ancient thing from biblical times that is making a comeback. I had no idea how much I would truly love the taste of this stuff, I am kicking myself for not trying this sooner.

Flax-seed meal contains all sorts of healthy things for you.  Mainly omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Lignans have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flax-seeds contains 75 to 80 times more lignans than other plant foods as well as being high in dietary fiber (both the soluble and insoluble types). It’s also a powerful natural cholesterol controller!

So today I bring you a recipe inspired by one that was on the package of flax-seed meal. The recipe called for carrots and apples, but I really wanted something closer to a bran muffin so I changed it up. In fact I liked these muffins way more than any bran muffin I have ever had and these are healthier and less fattening than those store made ones. You could also try subbing out the oil for applesauce to make it even healthier, but I have yet to try that.


Cranberry Pecan Flax Muffins

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Makes 12 large muffins

:::  Ingredients  :::

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Flaxseed Meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Meal
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk, almond milk, or soy milk
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs or 3 tsp of Egg Replacer + 4 tbsp warm water

::: Instructions :::

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spray cupcake pan with baking spray or oil & flour the pan
  • In Kitchen-aid, mix together dry ingredients: flour, flaxseed meal, almond meal, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, & cinnamon
  • Stir in cranberries and pecans
  • Add milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs (or egg replacer already mixed with water) and blend slowly until combined
  • MIxture should be thick and sticky, if too thick add a little more milk
  • Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full – using egg replacer I was able to fill them up almost all the way, but not overflowing
  • Bake for about 17-22 min for metal cupcake pans or 20-30 min for stoneware muffin pan
  • Muffins are done when you can stick a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal

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ADDICTING PEANUT BUTTER DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Not many people don’t love a good chocolate chip cookie. Combined with some peanut butter and you have just upped the ante. I made these last week and put some out for a game night we had. My friends kept asking me, ” What did you put in these cookies, they are so addicting.” We would play a round and if someone got up, they would ask that person to bring them another cookie. Eventually the whole Tupperware container of them ended up in the game zone to make for easy reaching. People made sure to take a couple extra at the end of night so they had one for the road.

These cookies are the perfect amount of chewy, with a crisp edge.  The combination of two kinds of chocolate, and a little peanut butter just made them that much more addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m sure you will want more than a shot of milk to go along with them!

Makes about 2 dozen
Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, softened
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Using a Kitchen-aid mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth
  • Beat in the eggs until light & fluffy
  • Add corn syrup, water, and vanilla and mix until just incorporated
  • Slowly combine the flour, baking soda, and salt into the peanut butter mixture.
  • Pour in the chocolate chips and mix on low until combined
  • Use cookie scoop to drop dough about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden brown.
  • Place cookies on wire rack to cool for a few minutes before eating.

Oatmeal Chocolate Banana Bread Bars


So you are hungry. You have nothing yummy to eat and you don’t want to go to the store. Besides the last time you read the labels on those so called natural granola bars, it made you cry. Well, just whip up a batch of these super easy oatmeal bars and you have breakfast, lunch, or dessert!  I was really tempted to add some peanut butter, but I wanted to try them the way the recipe called at least the first time.  I did add pecans to half the pan which were not called for, and I actually like them better than the side without nuts.

These remind of something I have had before, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. My childhood? Food from an era before mass production of fake processed and chemically “enhanced” foods? Perhaps. It’s just simple homemade, chewy, moist and chocolatey with a hint of  banana. So what if you are one of the few people who do not like chocolate? I will allow you to omit the sinful dark confection for something else, but you will be missing out.

So if you are reading this and wondering what’s actually in that last store bought granola bar you ate, let me show you this. This is taken from what is advertised as “healthy” and “low fat”. All I see here is a long list of ingredients and many of them I have no idea what they are or how they are made or where they actually come from and we shouldn’t be eating them. In case you are not familiar with some of these items, I have provided links below to the definition and uses. Some were quite shocking to know that they are in these granola bars, but also can be used in jet fuel, cigarettes, or in cleaning products. Makes you think!

::: CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS :::
Ingredients:

GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT],WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEATFLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRYMILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOABUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), INVERTSUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, SOYBEAN OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (preservative), CITRIC ACID.

I don’t know about you, but how about we make something with far less ingredients and chemicals in it. You know they say we should be eating how our great-grandparents or grand-parents ate. Very little processed foods, homemade, organic (that was norm), whole foods and fresh ingredients. It’s really not that difficult, and this treat whips up in about 10 minutes and cooks in only 25.  Be prepared for a taste sensation – and try NOT eat the whole pan in one day.


Oatmeal Bars


Yield about 20-32 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil or softened butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 – 1 cup pecan halves (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease an 8×12″ stone baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl or mixer, mash the banana.
  • Add the oil and brown sugar. Beat on medium until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together.
  • Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients mixing slowly until combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Spread mixture evenly into pan.
  • In a pattern, carefully place pecan halves in a row on top of the mixture.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden.
  • Let cool before cutting into squares.