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(Unsalted) Chocolate Chip Cookies

31 Dec

They say the cure for anything is salt water:  sweat, tears, or the sea.

I went to the beach this week.

I ran on the beach.

I almost got blown back to Portland by salty sea air.

I cried.

I spent time with my family.

I made cookies.

(Someday, I’m going to go out and spend money on some really nice sea salt and make  salted chocolate cookies for you.  Because really, I think that’s the best kind.  Salty and sweet – just like most of us.)

I made resolutions for the new year:  more beach, more sweat, fewer tears; more art, more music, less drama; more tea, more books, less sadness.  Sounds good, right?  Yeah, I think that sounds good.

(unofficial new year resolution: convince my family to get a dog – not a dog like this, but a dog)

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 c. margarine
  • 1¼ c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flax + 6 tbsp. water
  • ½ c. dark cocoa powder
  • 2¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. each white chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips (or any other combination of different chocolates that suit your fancy)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the margarine and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the flax and vanilla.  Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Scoop the dough onto your baking sheets, about an inch apart – they don’t spread much.  Bake 15 – 17 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (or ditch the cooling altogether and eat them hot off the pan).


Christmas Cookies after the fact – spiral cookies

26 Dec

I don’t know about you, but I get a little bit of the blues the day after Christmas.

The television, the music, the store ads, the shopping – Christmas is totally hyped up for over a month and then all of a sudden it’s over.

That’s it.

No more crazy-gift-giving holidays for another year.

Unless you count your birthday as  a crazy-gift-giving holiday – but Macy’s doesn’t throw major sales for your birthday.  (Oh, if they did…)

Sure you can booze up on New Year’s Eve and ease the pain, but that’s a whole week after Christmas.

So maybe just bake these cookies and stay in the holiday spirit for a few more days.

Or at least until your cookies have all been eaten.

Your liver will thank you.


  • 2 cups unsifted flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup unsifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ sticks margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • food coloring
  • 1 ½ cups multi-colored nonpareil decors – I just mixed together all the Christmas sprinkles I own(ed)

I did these with a pastry blender.  I guess I’m just a little behind the times, but a food processor would work great too.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars in a bowl.  Add the margarine in pieces and cut in with a pastry blender or pulse in your food processor.  Add the vanilla and process until it forms a ball.  I had to add a little soy milk to get my dough to come together – it’s a personal thing.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and add food coloring to one (or both – two different colors) of the portions.  You could even get really fancy and do three or four colors.

Roll out each piece of dough into similar shapes, then place one on top of the other.  Roll them together a little with your rolling pin.

Starting from one side of your slab, begin rolling it up – sort of like when you do those turkey pinwheel appetizers in the tortillas.  Same concept.  Unless you don’t eat turkey, like me, in which case that metaphor may have been totally lost on you.

Roll the roll in the sprinkles.  This part takes some effort, but I found that just pushing them into the dough worked best.

Wrap the roll up in plastic wrap and let it fridge for about an hour.  Then take it out, slice it up into 1/4 – inch slices, and bake in a 325° oven for 15 – 17 minutes.

(These are totally best fresh out of the oven)
Remove dough pieces from refrigerator. Pour the nonpareil decors into a shallow rectangular dish (such as a 9×13-inch pan.

Christmas Cookies: sugar cookies

22 Dec

It’s Christmas time.

That means you’ve probably already had plenty of sugar cookies.

You’ve tasted crunchy sugar cookies, too-soft sugar cookies, sugar cookies made well and… not so well.

Or maybe, you’ve just been eating those super-soft crazy-delicious sugar cookies that come in the packages at the grocery store.


Here’s a new recipe to add to your repertoire.  The sugar cookie to end all other sugar cookies.

No big deal.

(bad picture, sorry about that)


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs-worth of Ener-G egg replacer
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk mixed with 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Using an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg replacer and mix well. Mix in the soy milk mixture and vanilla until combined. Gradually add in flour mixture combined.

Chill dough for at least one hour in refrigerator (half an hour works just fine).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough, cut out shapes, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.  Once they’re cool, frost them with buttercream and sprinkle with sprinkles.

Christmas Cookies: shortbread and macaroons

18 Dec

I love Christmas.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music in my car since the day after Thanksgiving.

The last few weeks of school, I started a paper-snowflake-making craze to procrastinate studying and decorate my room.

I love Christmas ornaments and all the memories that happen when you decorate the tree.

I wear light-up reindeer antlers when no one else is around.

I might be wearing some right now.

 I might have put them on an hour and a half ago.  And not taken them off since.


 And I love love love making Christmas cookies.


  • 1 c. margarine
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp. water
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts (I am really not a fan of nuts in baked goods, so I chopped them up so they were almost the consistency of ground nuts.  You could use a food processor if you have one, or, if you’re like me and don’t have a food processor or… are Amish, you can just use a knife)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Melt the margarine.  Add the brown sugar and mix until it’s combined.  Then add the flour, salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, egg, and walnuts and mix just until combined.  Stick it in the fridge for about a half an hour – do this.  Don’t skip it. Otherwise, you’ll have a crumbly gross mess on your hands.  Roll it out and cut out the shapes you want.  Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottoms.


  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. shredded coconut
  • 1 c. almond slices
  • 3/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the sugar, milk, extracts, and salt in a bowl. Mix in the coconut and almonds. Add the flour to the bowl and mix until well incorporated. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the bottoms are golden.

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

21 Feb

WARNING:  This post is video-tastic

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This is what my voice sounds like today.


This is what my voice usually sounds like.


Okay, fine.  It doesn’t sound exactly like that.

But that gives you an idea of how terribly my throat hurts this weekend.

This is a list of the movies I watched on Saturday and Sunday:

Toy Story 3

Julie & Julia

How to Train Your Dragon


Benny & Joon


Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

The Princess and the Frog


This is my mind being blown by finding out today that Anastasia is not a Disney movie.


And now…

This is my weekend in numbers:

0:  number of hours I spent doing homework

1:  number of hours I spent working on my drawing before feeling light-headed and woozy

2:  number of times I had ramen noodles for breakfast

3:  number of unrestful nights of sleep

4:  number of pints of orange juice I’ve consumed

5:  number of pints of tea I’ve consumed

6:  number of ice cream cones I was able to use up with this recipe

7:  my favorite number

8:  number of movies I watched this weekend

9:  my other favorite number

10:  number of toes on my feet

11:  number of minutes it took for these cupcakes to disappear

12:  number of hours I spent doing something other than sleeping or watching movies

13:  an unlucky number

14:  approximate number of cupcakes this recipe makes

15:  number of pictures I took of these cupcakes

16:  number of hours I spent watching movies

17:  my other favorite number

18:  number of times I thought about baking, but felt to crappy to actually get up and do it

19:  how old I am

20:  number of hours I spent sleeping

1,000,000,000,000:  level of awesomeness of these cupcakes

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  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 7 OREO’s, finely ground
  • 12 – 16 whole OREO’s
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • t tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. oil

Preheat oven 350°F.  Line your cupcake pan with paper liners, and place one whole OREO on the bottom of each liner.  Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Then mix together until just combined.  Scoop into pan and bake for about 25 minutes.


  • plain old buttercream frosting
  • 3 – 4 OREO’s finely ground

Mix the OREO’s into the buttercream, and tada!

The Triple Threat

24 Jan

Alright, folks.  Fasten your seat belts.  Get ready for an avalanche of awesome.  An inundation of incredible.  A flood of fascinating.  A deluge of deliciousness.  A fountain of “f**k yeah!”  And a Niagra of “no freakin’ way!”

Yes way.  I have recipes.  That’s right.  Plural.  Brace yourselves, ’cause this is gonna be amazing.

These recipes have nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that I baked them all today (okay, fine, I baked them yesterday), and they are all vegan.  Duh.

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First, we have the florentines.

We make these at the bakery where I work back home in Portland.  Basically, they’re almonds and corn syrup, but I decided to put my own little spin on them.  At the bakery, we either dip the flat ones in chocolate, or we roll ’em up and stuff ’em with mocha buttercream, then dip the ends in chocolate.  Wow, they’re good.

Or, they were.  I can’t eat them any more, because they’re not vegan.

So, I made these.  I wanted mine to be smaller, so I used my mini cookie scoop that I rave about all the time.  I was going to mold them around mini muffin cups when they came out of the oven so I could stuff them with the  buttercream, but they kept sticking to the molds, so I stuck with the little tacos.  *Sigh*

Also, after about four pans of them, I realized I wasn’t baking them long enough.  Of course, the pan after I realized this burned.  Whoops.  So, I upped the oven temp a little, and that’s how these happened.  I filled them with buttercream and dusted them with powdered sugar.


  • 8 oz. sliced almonds (crush about half of them into smaller pieces)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup (I used this instead of corn syrup for two reasons:  1.) I don’t like using or storing corn syrup, and 2.) I never use corn syrup, so it didn’t make sense to buy a whole bottle for one recipe)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 stick non-dairy margarine

Toss the almonds and the flour together in a bowl.

In a sauce pan, over medium-low heat, melt the margarine.  Then, add the sugar and maple syrup, upping the heat a little and stirring until the mixture is simmering and bubbly.  Add the flour-almond mixture and stir until it’s all coated and gooey and delicious looking.  Then, take it off the heat, transfer into a bowl, and let it cool off.

Scoop onto your cookie sheets* and bake at 350°F for… oh.  Shoot.  I have no idea how long these baked, so just wing it.  Probably somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

*Be sure to space your cookies fairly wide – only four or six to a pan, as they spread like mad.

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Next, we have blueberry cream cheese danishes.  Just the name makes me drool.  And I made them!  Successfully!

Here’s the kicker:  I used frozen puff pastry.  Ok, you all have exactly 30 seconds to boo and yell at me and throw tomatoes at your screen, telling me how I really should just learn how to make my own puff pastry, because it’s a valuable life lesson if you’re going to continue on in the baking milieu, and that you can’t believe that I used frozen dough when I’m always complaining about people using cake mixes and claiming that they actually made a cake.

Ok, time’s up.

I know  I should have made my own puff pastry, but I’m going to make it up to you.  I fully intend to learn how to make puff pastry in the next month or so, the problem is, I want to learn how to make it in a kitchen, not in my third floor, carpeted lounge with a teeny tiny oven and a crazy table that’s two feet shorter than what a real kitchen counter should be.   I go home Friday night, so within two weeks of today, you will be able to laugh at my hideous attempt at puff pastry, and I’ll repost this recipe.  Deal?  Ok.

Although the pastry came from the store, the rest of the idea is totally mine.  Trust me.


  • 1 recipe of Amy’s puff pastry (which currently does not exist), or a package of the Pepperidge farm stuff, which is vegan!
  • 1 8 0z. container of Tofutti’s cream cheese
  • a heaping 1/4 c. sugar
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • splash of almond extract
  • blueberry preserves (NOT JELLY!)

Thaw out your puff pastry according to the box.  Ahem, I mean prepare puff pastry according to a recipe.

Beat together the cream cheese, almond, vanilla, and sugar until creamy.

Now, to assemble your pastries.  Cut the pastry dough into strips about 1 1/2″ by 6″.  Take a strip and smack it against the table a few times, then twist it up length-wise.  Then, take the long twisted piece of dough and wrap it around your pinky finger, making a flat circle disc thing – aka, your danish.  (And, yes, it is important that it’s your pinky finger, otherwise you end up with a big gaping hole in the middle of your danish, letting all the good stuff fall through to the pan.  Don’t do that.)

Take your handy dandy mini cookie scoop (if you don’t have one, you poor, sad, pathetic soul, you can use a teaspoon or half teaspoon) and dollop a little bit of the cream cheese mixture into the center of your danish.  Again, be sure you can’t see the pan through the middle of the dough – these are danishes, not doughnuts.

Then, top off the cream cheese with a scoop of blueberry preserves, again using your nifty cookie scoop.

Then, stick ’em in a 350°F oven for about 40 minutes (maybe more), or until the bottoms are nice and golden brown.

Once they’re cool, top them off with your favorite glaze.  I usually just start off with a cup or so of powdered sugar, then add milk or lemon juice to it until you get the right consistency.

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Now, blueberry lime muffins.  I had leftover cream cheese mix and blueberry preserves, so I whipped up these bad boys.  I think my roommate’s exact words were, “holy crap, that’s good.”  So you know they must be good.


  • 1 3/4 c. AP flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 c. nondairy milk + 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • juice and zest of one lime (I’m going to play the poor college student card one more time – as I wasn’t aware I was making these when I rode my bike to the store the other day, all I had in my room was True Lime, which is basically powdered lime, but it worked fine too)
  • the rest of the cream cheese mixture from the danishes
  • blueberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix dry ingredients together, then add the wet.  Scoop batter into muffin cups, add a mini scoop each of the cream cheese mix and the blueberry preserves and a little more batter on top, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when you touch them.  This recipe made exactly twelve for me, and if you make the muffins and the danishes at the same time, you have exactly enough to do one package of puff pastry and twelve muffins.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my recipes!  More to come later today…

Gingerbread Cupcakes

15 Dec

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It’s finals week.  And I got roped into making cupcakes for two classes.  Two.  Plus, I needed gifts for people.  So somehow, yesterday morning, I found myself in the lounge for five hours making four dozen gingerbread cupcakes.

I have never liked gingerbread.  I make it every year, because I know how much everyone else loves it; plus it’s  a Christmas classic and the little men are super fun to decorate.  But I never actually ate it myself.  However, I had a bit of a coming around this year.

I made gingerbread cookie dough on Sunday and stuck it in my fridge for this week.  And the dough tasted pretty good – for gingerbread.  So then I though since I had the dough, I might as well make cupcakes and use the cookies as little toppers.

And the cupcakes were good too.  I brought them to dinner at my writing prof’s house last night, and someone asked me, “are you sure you’re not lying to me?  like, these are actually vegan?”

Yes they are.

GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES (from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

  • 1 1/4 c. AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger (I happen to not like ginger that much, so I did about half of this and you could still really taste it in the cupcakes)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (I left these out and the cupcakes still tasted great)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c. light molasses
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. soy milk
  • 2 tbsp soy yogurt (I couldn’t get my hands on any soy yogurt, so I just used “sour milk”:  add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of soy milk and let it sit for a few minutes.  The important thing about using the  yogurt is the enzymes in the yogurt, and the vinegar/lemon juice will do the same thing)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake tin with liners.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk the oil, molasses, maple syrup, soy milk, and yogurt in a separate bowl.  Add the wet to the dry and mix just until combined.  Scoop into your cupcake liners and bake for about 19 minutes.  Top off with cream cheese frosting and a gingerbread cookie (see recipe below).



  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1/4 c. soy milk
  • 2 c. AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon (again, I didn’t have any cloves but they still tasted great)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Keep your oven at 350°F from your cupcakes.  Whisk together the oil and sugar for about 3 minutes.  Add the molasses and soy milk.  Sift in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing in between.  Wrap up the dough and stick it in the fridge for a few hours (up to three days in advance).  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thick and cut out shapes.  Place on baking sheets and bake for about 8  minutes.


**Note:  You might want to make your dough beforehand, either a day before or just before you start making your cupcakes so that it can chill before you bake it.