Tuesday, May 29, 2012

brown sugar coffee cookies.

After many days of home baking, boating, and biking, I arrived back in the Miniapple early this morning.

Thing #1: New obsession: Joy the Baker and her podcast. They had an episode about the "hippiest" things they do. It's like listening to myself do a podcast.

Thing #2: Grocery shopping. Target has a new kind of sparking beverage for me to buy...this one has a grapefruit flavor WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME, TARGET? Also, I finally forced myself to buy instant coffee granules. We're currently in the middle of a love affair because of...

Brown Sugar COFFEE Cookies (adapted and made vegan from this recipe on Joy the Baker)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (or if you're like me, three times that amount)
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and coffee.

In a larger bowl, beat together butter, oil, and sugar for about three minutes. Add vanilla, cornstarch, and non-dairy milk and beat til smooth

Add dry ingredients to the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture and beat til a dough forms. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350ยบ. Drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto greased or lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on pans for five minutes before moving to wire cooling racks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

challah: a love story.

I don't always make things that aren't vegan, but when I do, it's usually for good reason. Something about altering traditional Jewish recipes just doesn't sit right with me. Good Jewish food is something I don't get all the time...or ever...in Minnesota. So when I come home, I go crazy. Delis are no longer scarce and I seriously get my fix of them. I'm only home for few more days, and I thought I'd go out with a bang. Challah time.

Baking bread scares me. I think that's pretty understandable. But when I woke up this morning and was perusing through my great grandmother's recipe box filled with recipes for all the best Jewish food, I decided to take on the challenge.

It went surprisingly well. I used this recipe because I trust whoever runs that blog with my life.

I want to tell you something about baking challah bread. The time in between putting it in the oven for baking and taking it out is this hard to explain ethereal experience. It smelled. So good. I took periodic peeks inside my oven (even though "every time you open your oven, you let out five million degrees of heat") and was instantly taken over by a mix of squeals and laughter. When something I bake goes extremely well, I get real excited.

Tasting it was pretty much the same story, except there was dancing involved. I immediately sent a picture to my mom.

Monday, May 21, 2012

vegan chewy sugar cookies.

That was a reference to the popular Archies song, "Sugar Sugar"

Today was the first day I successfully veganized a recipe. I really like sugar cookies. In fact, they might be my favorite kind of cookie. Not the roll and cut ones, those are super lame and boring. I mean the Mrs. Fields, chewy, laden with rainbow jimmies kind of sugar cookie. I was nervous about adapting a recipe, but I recently committed myself to a baking life sans shortcuts. Basically, I'm going to use real sugary sugar and real (vegan) butter. What's the point of eating dessert if it's healthy? That's no fun. Also, sister Sam taught me how to take pictures of food today. She has a fancy camera and took all of these.

I added yogurt to replace some of the fat and add some real nice flavor. Next time, I think I'll experiment with vegan sour cream or vegan cream cheese.

Vegan Chewy Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plain soy yogurt (or  veggie sour cream, or cream cheese)
2 tbs cornstarch
6 tbs vegan butter (or margarine), melted
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and yogurt, then add cornstarch, melted butter, oil, milk, and vanilla. Whisk it together real well, y'all. For at least a minute.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and combine until a soft dough forms. Now, I think at this point it's super important to refrigerate your dough. That way, it won't spread as much when you bake it and the cookies will turn out chewier. The longer the fridge time, the better. I was an eager beaver and only waited about an hour and a half.

When you just can't stand it any longer, preheat your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll those puppies into 1.5in balls and flatten them slightly to allow for more even cooking. At this point, you should probably press them into some sugar and/or rainbow jimmies. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown, even if the tops don't look done (they'll finish setting up when they sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet). Cool on metal racks and then go crazy.

on any given day: episode two.

When you're visiting home during the summer and have nothing to do, there's really only one thing to do.

We craft.

Sister Sam needed to brush up on her friendship bracelet making skills, and I just thought it might be a good idea to make the smallest dream catcher I could. As for small dog Emma, she just liked the sunshine.

 Shaina had too much fun.

Try this one out:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

on any given day: episode one.

I'm beginning to realize it's summer, and with this comes a lot of excitement. After a night of bonfiring and attempting to sing Middle Brother songs with friends, it seemed only fitting to make granola.

Reasons why granola is the best to make in your house:
  1. You can clean out your whole pantry
  2. You have to use a really big bowl 
  3. Spreading it on a pan is the greatest thing because there's so much of it
  4. It makes your house smell like holy things
  5. You can put whatever the hell you want in it

Uncooked granola taking up an entire frame. Satisfaction.

We put in a new shelf from a lovely crate someone was throwing away.

Our backyard is somewhere worth spending sunshine time.

Currently kombucha brewers.

It happened to be the greatest ever outside today, so my roommate, Mark, and decided to go hiking. Well, I mostly demanded we go hiking. Minnesota is so beautiful and I've been to a total of zero of its hiking sites. We went to Battle Creek Regional Park. It was pretty exciting, mostly because they have lots of sandstone perfect for leaving your mark. 

Of course, we'll be grilling tonight. Happy summer, friends.

Monday, May 7, 2012

for the ten year old in you.

I like summer camp. I like summer camp a lot. Not for the group sports or swimming, but mostly for the camp crafts. There are a few things I am admittedly a master at and lanyard is one of them. I think the most strings I ever did on a lanyard was like 20 strings...

Anyway, this summer I'll be working at a day camp, so I thought I'd brush up on my camp crafts. I also have a lot more time on my hands now that this semester is over.

I present to you: the god's eye. Classic. You can use popsicle sticks or real sticks (I used real sticks because I'm edgy). I have a ton of random quantities of yarn because during the winter, I'm a knitting fiend.

It's super easy:

in its natural habitat
  • Two sticks--cross 'em
  • Wrap yarn around the cross in a figure eight just to keep them together
  • To start the first rotation, you go counter-clockwise around the four ends, bringing the yarn under the stick, wrapping it infront of the same stick, and then going under the one to the left. 
  • And you repeat and repeat and change colors by tying a new string on and repeat and repeat.
a real fine looking god's eye.

I could write tutorials for camp crafts for days on end. But you just get this one. I'm considering adding tassels to mine and hanging it somewhere.

Later Gators.

chocolate chip champies.

It's a beautiful day in Minneapolis! I got lost on my bike trying to find a certain thrift store...but found my way home. So what better way to celebrate my homecoming and the freedom of summer with some baking!

Chocolate chip cookies are an absolute must in my home-home. Someone always wants them and I believe they were my first vegan baking experience. I remember my mom was just the happiest because "she could eat them"...I come from a line of notoriously sensitive stomachs. 

So here's the deal. I've been struggling to find the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe for approximately fifty years. I've just recently played with recipes using Earth Balance (expensive), molasses (fine), and Ener-g Egg Replacer. I never used Ener-g before. I'll keep experimenting with it, but for now...not my favorite. 

So! I went back to my vegan cookie roots and used the recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I tasted the batter, because I had to, and I totally remembered why I loved it in the first place. 

  1. You only use one bowl
  2. No Earth Balance
  3. They don't taste like flaxseeds
  4. The batter is super visually pleasing

Here's the result:

Just being cookies outside

Hanging out with its friends on a cooling rack

Nom. Nomnomnom WHY did I ever stray away from you, Post Punk Kitchen? Go make cookies, you guys. I think I'll craft.

And might I recommend a soundtrack?