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Archive for December, 2011

Why Vegan?

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

As we approach the end of another calender year, especially one in which so many environmental disasters have occurred, both “natural” and man-made, and head into the infamous 2012, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves, or more likely our friends and family, why we choose to be vegan.

Powerful, don’t you think? (Hit Like or Tweet below to share.)

May the New Year find you and yours happy and healthy. :)

Vegan Pumpkin Fudge Cookies

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

As last year, this Thanksgiving I was again on dessert duty. Which suites me just fine because it gives me an excuse to bake without feeling the guilt of eating it all. I just make sure everyone else takes it home if there’s any left. ;)

Actually, I wasn’t really planning to bake this time around. Rather, I embarked on a more ambitious project, that of making fudge. This is basically candy making, and if you’ve ever made fudge or caramel or what have you with boiling sugar, you know it’s an even more precise science than baking. Everything must be carefully monitored, the temperature and timing, with candy thermometers and kitchen timers. And, it takes a fair bit of patience too.

Anyway, I set about making this vegan pumpkin fudge recipe. I got it all up to a boil, stuck in the thermometer and was watching it to reach the prescribed temperature for fudge. Alas, I got a little nervous when it seemed to be taking longer than indicated and I thought for sure I was burning it. Nope, not burnt, just stopped to cool too early.

The above picture looks really ugly, but I assure you it smelled delicious. What you see there is a big blob of light vegan margarine and pumpkin pie spices remaining untouched, as instructed, while the pot of pumpkin/sugar mixture cooled in the sink.

Still cooling above.

Finally, I could stir… and stir… and stir… and stir… and whip… and fold… and…

Here’s when I realized, as my hands so achingly informed me, this stuff was never going to harden as it was supposed to. It didn’t reach the right temperature way back in step one, so it would forever remain a thick, sweet, pumpkin “stew.” I threw it in the fridge against all hope and pondered my next step.

Eventually, I decided to make cookies instead and figured, hmmm, I have all the sugar, fat, and fall-inspired spices one could ever want in that one bowl, why not use it in place of those ingredients in the cookies?

The result, some more decadent ingredients later, was the following happy accident. The most wonderfully spicy, thick, chewy, and sweet, peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies you could imagine. The peanut butter definitely won the day over the pumpkin, but I knew it was in there, so that made them Thanksgiving fare enough for me. :)

Here’s the final recipe for the record, should you be crazy enough to ever want to purposefully create a monster…

• 30 g (1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
• 30g (1/2 cup) brown rice flour
• 60g (3/4 cup) old-fashioned oatmeal (*)
• 30+g vegan chocolate chips

• 6 Tb pumpkin fudge mix (underheated)
  you’ll still have tons left for more batches
• 4 Tb chunky peanut butter

1. Make and refrigerate botched pumpkin “fudge”
2. Preheat oven to 350°F
3. Combine dry ingredients
4. Mix wet ingredients
5. Pour wet into dry and mix
6. Plop 8 big cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheet
7. Bake for 10 minutes
8. Rotate sheet 180° and bake another 8 minutes
9. Remove from oven and let cool
10. Eat and share

(*) If you take care to get the oatmeal not processed in a plant that makes wheat products, etc., and check your other ingredients, this recipe would be gluten free.

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