19 April 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Ganache - Two Ways

I've had a couple of requests for this recipe, so here it is! The first time I made these I used flax "eggs", but found the cookies to be a little dry. However, they came out softer and were my favorite. The second version uses a banana as the egg replacer and imparts a subtle banana flavor. Those came out crispier and a little flatter, but still tasty. These are easy cookies to make vegan even if you don't keep a vegan kitchen because they don't require any special ingredients (except maybe the chocolate ganache).

You'll Need

1 1/4 C AP flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 C (1 stick) veg shortening (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 C creamy peanut butter, plus a few teaspoons
1 C brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 flax egg* or very ripe banana


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugar (and banana if using). Beat in vanilla (and flax egg if using) . Mix in flour mixture, blending well. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork, sprinkle with coarse sugar or sea salt if desired, and bake for 6 - 8 minutes, or until lightly brown. (The banana version bakes quicker and should be checked after 6 minutes.) Let cookies set for one minute and then transfer to a cooling rack. Once cookies have cooled, finish with drizzle of ganache**.

*Flax egg

(This is a great way to add some of those important omega-3's into your diet!)

1/3 cup of whole flax seeds 1 cup of water

In a food processor or blender, grind the flax seeds until they are a fine flax meal. Slowly add the water until the mixture becomes gooey and gelatinous (like an egg white). 3 tablespoons of flax mixture is equal to 1 egg.

Makes a total of 6 "eggs". Keeps 3-6 days, refrigerated.

**Chocolate Ganache

1 oz (1 square) semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken
1/2 t margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 vanilla
1 - 2 T rice milk

On low setting, heat chocolate, margarine, vanilla and 1 T rice milk. Stir constantly adding more rice milk to reach desired consistency. (You want the chocolate thick enough to coat the spoon, but thin enough to drizzle.) Drizzle over cooled cookies and allow the chocolate to set before serving.

14 April 2009

Cucumber Melon Soup with Mint

My best friend and I have a tradition of sharing Easter Breakfast together. This year I made a delightfully refreshing cold soup. I also made sweet potato pancakes (with Field Roast sausage on the side), but those didn't turn out so well. In fact, I was so disappointed with them I didn't even take a picture. And I take a picture of almost all of my food. Thankfully, the soup was great. I have a potluck at work this Friday and I think I'll be bringing this soup - the theme is "Spring".

You will need:

1 1/2 C soygurt (plain or vanilla)
1 medium English cucumber, peeled and rough chopped
2 C ripe honeydew melon, rough chopped
1/4 C fresh mint
pinch of salt


Combine cucumber, soygurt, mint and pinch of salt in food processor or blender and puree. Pour into a bowl. Puree honeydew melon and add to cucumber puree. Stir to combine. Chill. Serve in individual glasses or bowls and garnish with fresh strawberries. Enjoy!

05 April 2009

Vegan in Seattle

Earlier this week I made a short visit to the Emerald City. I return with a full belly and inspired to start soliciting local restaurateurs to better provide for Spokane's vegan community.

And now, some of the delicious food I enjoyed:

Veggie Groundnut Stew from Pan Africa Market

Vegan Cinnamon Roll and Soy Hot Cocoa from Cinnamon Works

Vegan Chowder from Pike Place Chowder

Mighty-O Donuts

Not pictured: the terrifyingly realistic mock meats from Bamboo Garden and vegan pizza from Vic's Pizzeria in Olympia