I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t consider myself a good cook. I especially don’t consider myself a good baker, but after the success I’ve had recently, I might have to change my opinion. The Key-Lime Habanero Cheesecake I made for the Virtual Vegan Potluck was a huge success at work. Robert even took some for his coworkers and they really liked it as well. I am making it again for a BBQ coming up in June and a whole new set of people will get to try it.
So I made one recipe that was successful. What’s the big deal you ask? Well, I have been very encouraged and inspired to try new recipes since the VVP and since I made a commitment to losing weight. I bought a lot of fresh foods but I thought I would also need some healthy snacks. And for this I turned to Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
Cookies really shouldn’t be the first food you turn to for healthy snacks, but these gals made sure to include a Wholesome Cookie section in the book and their Fruity Oaty Bars caught my eye. Loaded with healthy whole grains, nuts, and fruits but without the sticky-sweetness that you get in most packaged granola bars, these cookies (bars, really) are a filling snack that won’t weight you down. They are slightly chewy and contain no refined sugar. One batch yields approximately 16 bars and I found that eating one between breakfast and lunch was the perfect snack to tide me over.
I was a bit intimidated by the ingredient list, as it calls for spelt flour, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, and several other things I’ve never heard of or used before. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And boy, am I glad I ventured! Despite the unusual (to me) ingredients, these cookies came together very quickly. I actually bought enough ingredients to make two batches, in case one didn’t work out. But the first batch came out perfect, so I made the second batch to take to work. And again, everyone loved them. A few of my favorite comments were “It tastes just like a granola bar!” and “These are great because they aren’t overly sweet”. And “Reia, you are an excellent cook!” Okay, that last comment came from my own head. Still, everyone was impressed that they were vegan and very tasty. I intended to take these as a snack for hiking last weekend but the Colorado weather once again made a fool out of me for assuming it would be nice and rained all day Saturday.
There are many other cookie recipes from this book I want to make. Obviously coming from these two authors they are all winners. The recipes cover just about every kind of cookie you can imagine, from the common chocolate chip to more unusual like tahini lime. They have a recipe for Minonos, a vegan version of the deliciously decadent Milano cookies from Pepperidge Farm. There is a whole chapter about the different kinds of ingredients used and what substitutes are commonly used for vegan baking, as well as some general tips for cookie success. After reading this I felt much more confident in my baking skills and even the most complicated-looking recipes don’t look nearly as scary. The directions are clear and well-written and helpful tips are provided throughout. You can find the book on Amazon as well as their other compilation Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
I do have almost a whole bag of wheat germ leftover from making these. Are there any suggestions as to what I can do with it? I don’t like having stuff just sitting around my kitchen; space is at a premium so I try not to buy things that only get used once. Any ideas would be helpful!