Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas cookie transformation

Baking cookies has always been one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I've eaten the same homemade goodies for about 36 years now and baking with my mom is one of my earliest memories. I've been bummed because all of our family recipes include highly processed and genetically modified ingredients that I now avoid. Adios butter flavored Crisco and Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, sigh :(

I changed my eating habits soon after my wedding back in the summer of 2011 after my husband's Leukemia diagnosis. With some leftover William-Sonoma registry credit I bought a few vegan cookbooks to help support our new lifestyle. A sales lady recommended the just released Babycakes Covers the Classics by celebrated baker Erin McKenna - the doughnut on the cover instantly sealed the deal with my sweet tooth. McKenna includes recipes from her famous NYC hotspot bakery - all free of gluten, dairy, eggs or refined sugar. German chocolate cake, whoopie pies, gingerbread pancakes with agave-maple syrup, doughnuts topped with rich vanilla glaze, sticky honey buns... The pictures in this cookbook will make you drool and forget all about that butter flavored Crisco.

Unfortunately this awesome cookbook has been gathering dust for over two years now because I was my heart was stuck on my stupid old recipes - shame on me! Enthusiastically I went out and bought the ingredient xanthan gum (a binding and thickening agent necessary for holding gluten-free baked goods together) after my Babycakes purchase and it has been hidden way unopened in the back of my pantry. I have been gung ho about converting breakfast, lunch and dinner to plant based but holding back on my beloved baking. Last week I had two Christmas parties that required I bring a dessert. I couldn't bring myself to supporting pro-GMO companies, so I brought out Babycakes and quickly decided on the Snickerdoodles recipe.

I had never baked with melted coconut oil before and finally got to open up my bag of xanthan gum - it was a little different, but not too big of a change. My biggest worry was how they were going to taste. I was not disappointed one bit - they were DELICIOUS! They come out flat and chewy, which is exactly how I like cookies. All my friends gobbled them up and were excited to learn they were vegan and gluten-free (the batch I made was low gluten with the spelt, but would be free with rice flour). Next I'm going to try sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and her take on Nilla Wafers and the Thin Mint - I'll pass them along it they're as good as the Snickerdoodles!
I didn't take this picture, but this looks just like how mine turned out.

from BabyCakes Covers the Classics, serves 36

1 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup of vegan sugar (I used organic sugar from Trader Joe's)
3 Tbs ground cinnamon
2 cups rice flour (I used spelt flour but rice flour would make it gluten free)
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum (I bought Bob's Red Mill from Whole Foods - $$$ but you get a huge bag)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs melted refined coconut oil or canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbs vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tbs of the cinnamon until evenly incorporated. Set aside

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 1/3 cup of sugar, the flour, flax meal, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and the remaining 1 Tbs of cinnamon. Add the coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix with a rubber spatula until a thick dough that resembles wet sand forms (it really does look like wet sand!). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Working in batches, drop the dough by the teaspoonful into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll around to coat the dough all over. Place on the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Gently press each cookie with a fork to help them spread. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate the baking sheet and continue baking for 7 minutes more, or until the cookies are crispy around the edges. Let stand on the baking sheets for 15 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. 3 Studies PROVE Why Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by consuming Coconut Fat (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from large medical magazines are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!