Shortbread Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies – Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

Yay! It’s the Food Blogger Cookie Swap recipe day! I love being a part of this every year. It’s so fun for me to bake for other people, and it’s fun to receive cookies, too! It’s always a pleasure to help support Cookies for Kids Cancer, and Oxo and Dixie Crystals always treat us bloggers so well! This year Oxo sent this great nesting measuring cup set, and Dixie Crystals sent a Silpat sheet for baking. Awesome! These definitely make my cookie baking more fun. 🙂
Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

This year was a bit crazy with shipping – sometimes it’s tough to be at the mercy of the USPS! The cookies I sent out were picked up on a Monday and then sat in a local facility for 3 days. Even though I’d paid for priority 2-day shipping! But they finally all made them to their intended recipients, so that’s always a good thing! My cookies were staggered out a bit, which was great, but one got stuck at the post office and I had to go and pick it up. Doesn’t USPS know how important cookies are?! 😉

The first cookies we received were from Kristen at Dinner for Two Blog. She made Chai Snickerdoodle cookies. They made it without much breakage, and they were crisp and you could really taste the chai in them! These would be great with coffee or tea – but we didn’t make it that far, haha!
Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

The second batch was from Kristina from Cucina Kristina. She had made Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies. The post office was not so nice to these, as they didn’t all arrive in once piece, but I was able to save a few to nibble on! They were crisp, buttery, and you could really taste the lavender!
Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

The batch I picked up at the post office were from Abby at The Frosted Vegan. She sent Maple Ginger Cookies with Dark Chocolate. These were still nice and soft, and had a great dark chocolate flavor with a good hit of ginger.
Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

It’s funny how my recipe came about. I wanted to make a vegan recipe gluten-free, and when I was testing the recipe, I swapped out the flours with no problem, but apparently forgot to add the brown sugar (although I didn’t know it at the time), so the cookies were buttery and crisper than usual. Not hard and crispy, mind you, just a more shortbread-like texture. The cookies were tested on vegans, non-vegans, and those were both gluten-free and not gluten-free. They were enjoyed by all, so I knew that they were a winner. When I went back to the recipe to bake the cookies for the swap, that was when I realized that I had forgotten the brown sugar the first time, but I missed it the second time, too! I even typed it in the recipe I sent to my cookie matches, so I guess now they’ll know that they can make these cookies TWO ways! How I missed it twice is beyond me, but the result was still a delicious and tasty cookie! And really? How can anything with Justin’s peanut butter cups be bad?!

Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
(recipe adapted from Sticky Fingers’ Sweets by Doron Petersan)

3/4 cup earth balance buttery sticks, softened
1 cup + 1 1/2 T (7.68 oz) evaporated cane juice
*(1 cup (7.7 oz) lightly packed brown sugar)*
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from the carton, not the can)
1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted and cooled
3 1/4 cups + 2 1/2 T (1 pound, 1.25 oz) gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Namaste brand, but Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 Baking Flour would be a great choice, too)
1/3 cup (1.9 oz) brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)
1 bag (4.7 oz) Justin’s dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat mats) and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine earth balance, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
In a glass measuring cup, whisk together coconut milk and coconut oil. Slowly add mixture to the sugar mixture and mix to combine.
In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Add to the sugar mixture and mix until a dough forms. If the dough seems too dry, add 1 T of coconut milk at a time until the dough is your desired consistency. Add chocolate chips and chopped peanut butter cups, and mix to combine.
Using a cookie scoop, scoop onto prepared baking sheets. Leave about 2 to 3 inches between each cookie and gently flatten with your fingertips.
Bake for 9 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. (these will be pale cookies, so be careful not to overbake!) Let cool on baking sheets about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Makes 3 1/2 dozen small cookies. Store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days. These freeze very well, too!
*add brown sugar and try a new recipe, ha!

Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

I love being a part of the cookie swap every year. It has it’s challenges, as everything does, but it’s always so fun to share cookies and a love for baking. Happy Cookie Swap!

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Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies (vegan & gluten free) – The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

It’s the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap day! I’m so excited to finally share this recipe with you! I look forward to the cookie swap every year (this our third year to participate). I had fun working with this recipe to get it just the way I liked it. I tested them on vegans, celiacs, and non-vegans and everyone gave them two thumbs up. I’ll take that as a good sign!! The recipe calls for sweet potato puree because they are in season and they lend a nice flavor to the cookie. But if you can’t find any, or don’t want to make any yourselves like we did, feel free to substitute pumpkin. It works just as well! These are soft, chewy and delicious. And if you have anyone in your life that’s afraid of vegan and gluten free foods, try these cookie out on them. They might surprise themselves!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies (v/gf) #fbcookieswap

First, let me share with you the cookies that we received!

The first cookies we enjoyed were Chocolate Biscotti Cookie Bars from Shannon. They were super peanut-y and chewy. YUM! We had to stop ourselves from eating the whole package!
Chocolate Biscotti Cookies #fbcookieswap

We then got two packages in the same day. YUM! Cookie overload. 😉

Chai Cookies from Emilie. Mmmmm. The chai flavor was subtle, yet super delicious. The chocolate was an added bonus!
Chai Cookies #fbcookieswap

And last, but not least, Cardamom Snickerdoodles from Beth. We are huge fans of snickerdoodles around here (especially Nick), so these were a huge hit! (and vacuum-sealing her cookies? brilliant!)
Cardamom Snickerdoodles #fbcookieswap

Now onto the cookies WE sent out this year!
Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies (v/gf) #fbcookieswap

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies
2 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Namaste)
1 1/2 cups gluten free quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup earth balance buttery sticks, softened
1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 flax “egg” (1 T ground flax + 2 T warm water)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweet potato puree
1 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together earth balance, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Blend in flax “egg”, vanilla extract and sweet potato puree. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips. Let batter rest 5 – 10 minutes (this just gives the oats some time to absorb the liquids so the cookies don’t spread too much).

Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop drop onto parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies (v/gf) #fbcookieswap

Bake in preheated oven 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown and cookies are set. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. These also freeze extremely well!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies (v/gf) #fbcookieswap

Enjoy!

Lemon-y Beyond Chicken Noodle Soup for 2 (or 4 if you’re like us!)… (vegan & gluten free) – Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Hey y’all, it’s literally been forever since I’ve blogged.  Needless to say things have been very busy at work and I’ve also not been drinking as much beer lately.  Sacrilege I know.  Anyway, Jackie and I were talking the other day and she brought up the Virtual Vegan Potluck (VVP).  I love the VVP!  I get so excited every time it comes around, so I was all for putting something together.  I actually have been working on this soup for awhile.  Its so easy and so comforting, and I found out after the fact that the special ingredient this time around is a prominent part of my recipe.  BONUS!

Jackie and I are often struggling with recipes that are made for families.  I’m all for that, and I scale appropriately as I can, but sometimes its just nice to have a recipe with smaller portions.  I also get into the mode where my freezer is so full that it can’t stand any more leftovers, but I’ve just got to have some soup.  I think this soup/recipe is the perfect answer for all of that.  This can all be made in a large sauce pan, and its SO EASY!  I think you’ll all appreciate just how fast this can come together and how simple it is.  Its so comforting and I guarantee that it’ll kick a cold right fast too.  What are you waiting for, go throw this together, have a bowl and keep reading through all the recipes of the VVP.  Enjoy!

PS… We’ve also tried a few different options that have been equally delicious so I’ve called those out for you in the ingredients list.

Lemony Beyond Chicken Noodle Soup (vegan & gluten free) VVP

Lemon-y Beyond Chicken Noodle Soup for 2
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 medium leek diced, white part only, rinsed (Optional)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 strips of Beyond Meat Lightly seasoned Chicken Strips, diced
5-6 cups water (depending on how brothy you like your soup)
2 tsp (Better than Bouillon, Chicken Flavor)
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried thyme
1 dash freeze dried chives
3/4 Cup Small Gluten Free Noodles
Juice of 1 Lemon

1. Heat EVOO over medium heat, add vegetables and salt and sweat vegetables for ~10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are somewhat tender, but with a bit of tooth.

2. Add water, chicken, spices, bouillon, lemon juice and bring to a boil.

3. Add noodles, cook per instructions until al dente/tender ~8 minutes.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon-y Beyond Chicken Noodle Soup (vegan & gluten free) VVP

Enjoy! Happy Virtual Vegan Potluck! While you’re here, please check out the other blogs, especially the superb 2 on either side of us. 🙂

To go to the beginning of the potluck go to VVP December 2014.

SO Delicious Pumpkin bread (vegan)

I’m going to admit it. I’m totally in the mood to decorate and celebrate all things Christmas. This is SO unlike me, but I’m going to blame it on the fact that Thanksgiving is just so darn late this year. Plus, I don’t really care about Thanksgiving. It’s nice that Nick gets two days off from work, but that’s really about it. Let’s get serious, people. We can make mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and vegan turkey any day of the year! I’ve never understood the hoopla.

That being said – and I hope you’re still with me! – I’m totally not over the pumpkin thing. I can make pumpkin things any time of the year as well, and I do. But because we bought a 6-pack of organic pumpkin at Costco for super cheap, I’ve been thinking of ways to use it. You may be thinking, “another pumpkin bread recipe?! lame.” Well, yes. This is another pumpkin bread recipe. But it’s also awesome! Every year I look forward to the dairy free drinks that come out around the holidays. This year we picked up some SO Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk. This stuff is pretty darn tasty. It’s thicker than your traditional coconut milk, but not as thick as an eggnog-like drink. I found a recipe online and totally went my own way and made it vegan! BOOM.

The result? Delicious, soft and extra pumpkin-y goodness. Slather this with some earth balance and you won’t be able to stop. I ate 2 pieces in about 2 minutes. YUM.

SO Delicious Pumpkin Bread

SO Delicious Pumpkin Bread
1 cup SO Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk
2 flax eggs (2 T ground flaxseed + 4 T warm water, whisked together)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt and spices. Beat together coconut milk, flax eggs, oil and pumpkin puree. Add dry ingredients slowly, and mix well after each addition. (be sure to scrape down the sides as needed) Bake in prepared loaf pan for 45-55 minutes, depending on your oven. Bread is done when edges have browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

SO Delicious Pumpkin Bread

Enjoy!

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! What’s on your vegan menu this year? I’d love to know!