Chocolate Banana Walnut Oatmeal Cookies!

Have you ever had Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food? I love that stuff, but especially the banana chocolate cookie version. If you followed that link, you’d know my sadness–they no longer make it! And while I don’t think these cookies quite live up to Laura’s yet, they are really easy to make, and cost a lot less than $5.99 a batch!

Chocolate Banana Walnut Oatmeal Cookies (makes 13 cookies–a baker’s dozen!):

  • 1 really ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 T applesauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 T ground flaxseed meal
  • 3 T unmilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces

Mix the applesauce, sugar, syrup, flaxseed, unmilk and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. There will probably be a few banana lumps–don’t worry about them, as long as they aren’t huge. Now, add the oats, flour, cinnamon and baking powder to the bowl, and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts until evenly incorporated.

Drop cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. It’s important to slide them off of the cookie sheet and onto a baking rack when done, so the bottoms don’t steam and get super soft. Let them cool fully before eating, or they will turn into a gooey blob in your hand. Yummy!

 

 

 

Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I suppose the “latte” part is misleading, because these are really Happy Herbivore‘s Vanilla Chai Cupcakes with a Pumpkin frosting/glaze of my own design. My child was a cupcake for Halloween this year, so she asked that we also make special cupcakes to celebrate. Can do, kiddo.

The cupcake has a very dense texture, but I don’t know if that was partly my fault for over-stirring, or the nature of fat-free baked goods. Whatever the case, it tasted great, and really did have a great chai latte flavor. The pumpkin glaze I made is runny, but it’s also fat-free and super easy, so you take what you can get.

Pumpkin Glaze (for 8 cupcakes):

  • 3 T pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir ingredients until combined. Then, place mixture in freezer, checking periodically to stir and make sure the mixture is setting up properly. When as it’s as firm as you’d like (but not frozen) dab a spoonful on each cupcake. The mixture spreads quickly, so you won’t need to worry about making it look pretty. Sprinkle with cinnamon for even more fun.

 

Cherry Almond Scones

I guess that 8pm isn’t a great time for taking scone photos. So, this looks a little funky, but trust me, it tastes great.

I used the recipe from Vegan Brunch, which you can find on the PPK’s website in a slightly different version. Instead of lavender and marionberry, I used dried bing cherries and almonds (1/4 cup of each). I also upped the vanilla to 2 teaspoons, though I frankly could have added more. OH! And I changed one more thing–I was out of shortening, so I just used all canola oil. Just make sure to get it all nice and crumbly like you would normally. As a matter of fact, oil seems to be a lot less work for about the same results.

I’m sure this is just the start of my scone frenzy. I have a can of pumpkin in the cabinet just waiting to get sconed!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles!

One of my husband’s beloved co-workers had her last day at work on Friday, so I made these very spicy cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. One, we didn’t tell anyone that they were spicy, so that was pretty funny. Two, these are amazing! I will cut back on the cayenne next time I make them–they were a little too hot for me. But they would make the best ice cream sandwich cookies in the world.

Basically, imagine a cookie that has the taste and texture of a very thin brownie. Then make it sugary crunchy on top, with a hint of cinnamon. Then, put it in your mouth. Aaaaah.

 

 

Peanut Butter Blondies Two Ways

Like I tend to do, I made these Peanut Butter Blondies the first time deviating from the recipe a tad. I’d put our brown sugar in the freezer (I don’t know why!) and I was unwilling to defrost it. Instead I used raw sugar with a little molasses, and it was awesome.

Exhibit A. Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar Version of the Peanut Butter Blondie

The only problem? It was sorta greasy. And by sorta, I mean, really, really, really greasy. It could be from the 3/4 cup of peanut butter. Or the 1/3 cup of oil. Or the fact that I used raw sugar instead of brown. Regardless, greasy. But soooo tasty.

Solution?

Exhibit B. Homemade, lower fat Peanut Butter Blondie

Was it better? Hmm. It was less greasy, which is good, but it was lacking in the complete deliciousness package. I’m going to track the changes I made, and see what I could do to make it a little better.

  • Swapped out 1/2 cup of peanut butter for reconstituted powdered peanut butter (5 T+3 T of water)
  • Dropped the oil down to 1/4 cup
  • Upped the almond milk to 1/3 cup
  • Added 2 T extra flour

Here’s what I think needs to happen: put raw sugar back in. I’m going to use 1/2 cup of raw sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar, and see if that helps get it back on track. I think that it added a little caramel crunchiness to this that was really needed. Otherwise, I’m at a loss. Maybe only use 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter? We’ll see. It’s a delicious experiment waiting to happen!

Cookie Bars! Cookies! In Bar Form!

Well…what you see is a cookie bar, not bars, but there were more of them. I promise!

I’m still working on getting my cookie recipe just right, but these are close enough that I thought I would share. The first night, I made this dough into regular cookies, then popped the rest of it in the fridge. When I tried to make cookies again the next day, the dough wouldn’t form back up. I got cookie crumbles. Or, as my husband lovingly pointed out, “Are you in there making trail mix?” Exactly.

So, I decided to take what was left and just press it into a baking pan and make bars. Easily done, and they came out really great–even better than when they were shaped into “normal” cookies. Hooray!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars:
(makes easily a dozen bars, cut smaller or larger for more…or less)

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 T ground flax seeds
  • 3 T unmilk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Take the flax seeds and mix with the unmilk in a small cup. Set aside while you work on this next part. Vigorously blend together the sugars, maple syrup, and canola oil in a medium bowl. Mix it for as long as you can stand, the longer you mix the better your cookie texture. Now, add in the flax and unmilk mixture and the vanilla. Stir to incorporate. Add in the salt, baking powder, and flour. Continue to mix until most of the flour is absorbed. Now, add your chocolate chips and stir until they are pretty evenly distributed. Lots of them will attempt to hang out at the bottom of the bowl.

Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. For ease of removal, you may want to lightly grease your 8×8 (or smallish) baking pan, or line the bottom with parchment paper. Press the cookie dough firmly in, and bake for about 10 minutes. The dough should be slightly golden on the top, if it isn’t, put back in for another 2 minutes.

Note–great mix-ins for these cookies would be: 1/4 cup of coconut, and/or walnuts, and/or pecans.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I think this recipe must be like those ones invented to fool children. Sure, it looks like brownies, it may smell like brownies, but it’s full of…VEGETABLES. *Muwahahahahaha!* Then your kid either eats it and looks at you like you are crazy, or spits it in your hand.

This recipe, however, does not require a spit-take. I really enjoyed it, much like I love Zucchini Spelt bread. And while this isn’t quite as good, I think it is rather amazing just for the mere fact that it combines chocolate and vegetables so successfully. I made the less-sweet version in the cookbook, I think if I were making this as a dessert, I would include chocolate chips and slightly more sweetness.

It also doesn’t suffer from the dreadful stickiness of fat-free baking, so that’s another plus. And it also doesn’t feel like you are making a fat-free sacrifice for eating it, like, for example, applesauce cookies do. I don’t think I would make this again for myself, but I would definitely make it for a party, or to share.

Recipe from the Happy Herbivore.

 

Gingerbread Ducks

My daughter is obsessed with the story of the Gingerbread Man (which is kinda awful, cause he’s a sneaky little DB), so I thought we’d try our hand at making some homemade gingerbread. Word to the wise: I do not like gingerbread. No one in this house likes gingerbread. But I had all the ingredients, so I went for it.

Guess what? When it’s warm, fresh out of the oven and soft, this gingerbread tastes fantastic. Amazing! Wonderful!

Guess what else? If, for some foolish reason, you decide to freeze the gingerbread, since you made a lot and want to enjoy it later, do not be fooled. This frozen and defrosted gingerbread will taste exactly like crap. Or at least cardboard. That someone crapped on.

Word to the wise: eat it hot!

Recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

 

Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m new to the whole applesauce baked goods phenomenon. I’ve never really been a “dieter,” and if I was going to have something–like cookies–that was “bad” for me, I’d just go for it. Same with soda. I hardly ever drink it, but when I do, I want the real stuff.

But, I trust the Happy Herbivore, and I really wanted to try these. One, because I went totally overboard with that brownie bonanza, and two, I wanted to know if it worked. The results?

Well, it sorta worked. My two-year-old was a HUGE fan of these. But I found the texture to be almost gummy, which was a real negative. I don’t like crunchy cookies, so it’s not like I was creeped out by their softness. There was just something weird about them. So, long story short, I think I’ll make applesauce cookies again, but I’ll probably add in one tablespoon of canola oil, and subtract a tablespoon of sauce. It should only add about one gram of fat per cookie, but maybe it’ll give me more of the texture that I’m looking for.

Have you tried these? What do you think?

Banana Ice Cream

Yep. That’s just a frozen banana, some almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. You can find the actual recipe at Happy Herbivore, but it’s so easy, you could probably just figure it out yourself!

I will say that there are two issues I have with this: 1. It’s super hard to get the peels off the frozen bananas. Did anyone else think of peeling them before tossing them in the freezer? I have like 50 bananas in there (no joke). I solved that problem by just using my regular potato peeler. You lose a little bit of banana, but you get them still really, really frozen. 2. It wasn’t sweet enough. I’ve heard that can be an issue with ice cream, too, that’s why it has so much sugar–the coldness numbs the sweet receptors on your tongue. Or did I just make that up? I added a little maple syrup to mine, and it was pretty good.

Still, I’d love some more mix-in ideas. I love banana with peanut butter, so I might toss in a teaspoonful, and see if that works. Or stir in some chocolate chips. Or throw in a few strawberries. Or some agave nectar. Or…I don’t know! The world is your oyster. And this is too easy to make and too good to pass up.