Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 25: And To All A Good Bite!


And so, this is Christmas...the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ! It really is the greatest thing ever. Beyond cookies and decorations and's so hard to get caught up in all of this. To be honest, during this whole cookie process I've had to remind myself of the real "reason for the season." Sure, it's cliche. Sure, it's a phrase that's tossed around as much as the holiday football. But it's true. Christ is born and because of His life and death, we have life forever should we choose Him. I love it...all of it. I hope you've experienced this same love and joy this year...

This Christmas also brings the end of Moor Food's lovely little project - 25 Days of Christmas Cookies. It's been quite the ride, but here I am on the other side..slightly worse for wear, but here nonetheless. I knew this final cookie had to be pretty special. Not just any old cookie recipe, but something really great. Something for my lovely Moor Girls who have so diligently eaten at least one of every single cookie I've made. Ladies, you are amazing! And you look pretty darn rockin' too...who says cookies aren't part of a balanced diet? Just come on over to the Moor House and we'll whip you into shape! Anyways, I love you all and this recipe is dedicated to you...

It's a classic recipe, commonly seen at Christmas. But no one can top this version. Period. You can bring your fancy houses, Shrek characters, and every other gingerbread shape you could think of. But, none of these even compare to what I'm about to give you. So, without further ado...

Moor Girl Gingerbread
makes 7 lovely roommates (plus some extra dough)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • about 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 TBS ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/3(ish) tsp. baking soda
  • 6 TBS Earth Balance vegan butter (slightly softened)
  • about 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 TBS milk of choice
Combine dry ingredients in food processor until just mixed. Add butter by tablespoon into dry mixture and pulse until mixture resembles sand. Gradually add molasses and milk until all of the dough is moist and forms soft dough. Remove dough from food processor and place between two large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate overnight (or freeze for about 20 minutes, until firm). 

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator or freezer and peel away top layer of parchment. Lay this piece back on top and flip dough, then remove second layer of parchment and set aside. Cut out desired gingerbread shapes (7 ladies in this case) and lay about two inches apart on lined baking sheets. Bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool for about two minutes.

 Decorate with Royal Icing...

Royal Icing
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 TBS cream of tartar
Blend all ingredients together with hand mixer until no sugar lumps remain. Use food coloring or sprinkles to enhance icing and cookies. 

Merry Christmas to ALL, and to all a good BITE!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 24: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

The recipe for these cookies starts as the filling for a vegan pumpkin cheesecake. You add flour and sugar and chocolate chips and get these wonderful little nimblers. Usually I use regular flour, but this time I decided to try almond flour. Which led to the "cookie bite" part. Almond flour is an awesome gluten free alternative, BUT it creates an extremely mushy dough - much more like a batter. As I was mixing in the almond flour (made from raw almonds in my food processor), I realized there was no way the dough would stay together on a cookie sheet, so I busted out those little mini Christmas cupcake liners and made cookie bites! They really are just mush in cup (sorry in advanced family, it'll be a challenge eating these little guys), but the flavor still holds true to the original cookie recipe..well mostly, those little chunks of almonds are a little different. They taste a lot more wholesome than the regular cookie, and are kind of cute with their Christmas outfits on! So, the moral of this story is...use regular flour if you really want a cookie, but if you don't mind the mush, almond flour all the way!

Oh another moral is this (lessons from Grandpa Sturm)...wait until the cookies cool a bit before popping them in your mouth. Ice cubes and cookies make for water-y cookie mush..not OK...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
makes 4 dozen

  • 12 oz. silken tofu
  • 8 oz. vegan cream cheese (Tofutti) or Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour of choice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger*
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves*1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
*note for spices: these are all approximate, I've also made these using 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F. Line mini muffin tins with muffin liners or baking sheets with parchment paper. Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in food processor or blender. Blend thoroughly (make sure everything is completely incorporated and there are no chunkers left in there). Pour into a large bowl and stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonful into mini muffin cups or onto parchment lined baking sheets. If using mini muffin method, bake at 350F for about 16 minutes. If using drop cookie method, bake at 350F for about 9-12 minutes. Remove and let cool! 

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Blessings for a spectacular celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 23: Hazelnut Oatmeal Lace Cookies

These are pretty little things....very delicate and light, with a wholesomely sweet flavor. The hazelnuts and oatmeal get a little toasty while they bake, which sets off the gooey, sugary flavor just perfectly...

That's all..


Hazelnut Oatmeal Lace Cookies
makes about 75 

  • 2/3 Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 3/4 packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 organic cane sugar
  • 3 TBS flour of choice (I used Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour mix)
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine oats, sugars, and flour. Add melted butter, egg whites, and vanilla and blend well. Finally, add chopped hazelnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lined baking sheets and bake at 350F for about 6 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving...normally I'm not an advocate for cool cookies, but these get my approval...

Parent Reactions...
Dad: "Mmmm, these are really good, baby..."

I miss my roommates...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 22: Italian Wedding Cookies

Another late night post. Whenever I come home, I suddenly lose complete track of time. With family plans, running errands (especially during the holiday buzz), and this time unpacking my life, the time just sort of slips away. All of a sudden it's 10pm and I still have to make today's batch of cookies! I know, I know...this is totally optional, all by choice. But, I always relate to Julie & Julia when Julie has the dilemma of whether or not to continue her blogging extravaganza during all of the hullaballoo she went through - her mom didn't believe in her and eventually told her to quit (not true in my case), she got into HUGE fights with her hubby over focusing too much attention on the blog (hubby? what hubby?), work conflicts, blah blah blah...but she kept going! And so will I...there are only 3 days left, I already know what my final cookie will be (I know, it's killing you...), and I have really enjoyed making this commitment day after day. Baking is something I love, and I love being able to share this joy with all of you, so...I will press on!!! And today (night) I give you the Italian Wedding honor of the many lovely and hilarious conversations I've had about this upcoming venture to Italy and all that it might possibly entail...if you have to ask, you'll never know...
Italian Wedding Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

  • 3/4 cups Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cups ground almonds
  • 1/2 TBS vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter in large stand mixer (perk of baking in my parents' kitchen). Slowly add 1/4 cup + 2 TBS powdered sugar until well combined. Add ground almonds and vanilla extract and mix well. Gradually add flour add mix until thoroughly combined (I left the mixer going on medium-low speed the whole time I was adding ingredients, then just mushed it together with my hands a bit). Scoop out by half tablespoon, roll into balls in the palms of your hands, and place onto baking sheets about an inch or two apart. Bake at 325F for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool, then roll in powdered sugar. Buon appetito! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 21: Eskimo Cookies

After a looong day of driving, a lovely nap, and the first of several Christmas celebrations, I still had to make today's cookies. I almost bailed..."I can make two tomorrow!" I thought. But then I remembered the commitment I made at the beginning and knew I had to complete the task, so I went with an easy classic that I've almost got memorized. My mom grew up with these, and the recipe comes from her old Betty Crocker for Kids cookbook from 1955. It's a lovely little paperback book with the classic pictures of children baking and playing in the kitchen (I'll upload a picture of it tomorrow). They are a no-bake recipe that you can make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat. The original recipe calls for rolling the finished cookies in powdered sugar, but I decided to give them a little holiday twist and roll half of them in crushed candy canes - I haven't tried one yet, but they smelled delightfully winter-y! My mom tried one and said it was good, but she isn't a huge fan of mint and prefers the classics. This will definitely be a recipe I pass on to my chilluns someday, Lord willing I am blessed with a family too! Enjoy!

Eskimo Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 TBS water
  • 3 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2 cups oats
  • optional for rolling: crushed candy cane or powdered sugar (my mom suggested espresso too)
Place softened butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add vanilla, water, and cocoa powder and mix until thoroughly combined. Finally, stir in oats. Place bowl in refrigerator and allow to set for a couple of hours, if not overnight. When firm, remove from fridge and roll into 1 inch diameter balls, then roll in candy canes or powdered sugar. Lastly...EAT! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 20: Flourless, Butterless Italian Hazelnut Cookies

In honor of my last day here in So Cal, before I depart on the road to Italy, I wanted to make some sort of traditional Italian cookie. These looked super simple and toasted hazelnuts are always such a yummy addition to ANYTHING! They're sort of can roast hazelnuts on an open fire too right? Also, these cookies have no butter and no flour, only half a cup of sugar and two egg whites so they are pretty light, gluten free, and not too unhealthy! Really, you need make these cookies right now...mangia miei amici!

Flourless, Butterless Italian Hazelnut Cookies
makes about 40

  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted (you can skin them if you want, but I was too impatient)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (NOT wax paper..I learned that the hard way...) Pulse nuts and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Scrape into bowl. Beat egg whites in separate bowl until they form stiff peaks. Fold whites into hazelnut mixture, then add vanilla and fold together gently until thoroughly combined. Scoop by 1/2 tablespoon onto lined baking sheet and give the baking sheet a few good smacks on the counter to settle the dough so it spreads a little bit. This will produce a flatter, crisper cookie after baking. Place in oven and bake at 325F for 7 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Buon appetito!

Roomie Reactions...
Megan: "Mmm..I like the flavor! They're very nutty!"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 19: Browned Butta' Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe goes out to my dear Pure Barre friend and co-worker, Brittany Egbert, to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I hope you have a really blessed and wonderful birthday my dear!

I realized I hadn't done a chocolate chip recipe yet and per request of another Pure Barre instructor, Lauren Hall, I wanted to try a recipe using browned butter too. So with these two lovely ladies in mind, I give you the chocolate chip cookie gone brown...word...

Browned Butta' Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 2 Ener-G Egg Replacer eggs (or two regular eggs..I just didn't have any)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (preferably semisweet)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently until butter turns golden brown (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Pour in butter and whisk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by tablespoonful onto lined cookie sheets and bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Let cool and serve with a big ol' glass of milk! 

Roomie Reactions (and Brittany)...
Megan: "Mmmm...buttery goodness!" 
Jenna: "My fave cookies so far!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 18: Moor Christmas Sugar Cookies

We had our Moor House Christmas celebration and went out to a yummy dinner at Memphis in Costa Mesa. Then came home and watched The Grinch on VHS while we decorated sugar cookies! It was enjoy this lovely little recipe for cookies and frosting, don't be a grinch, and get going on that Christmas spirit...

Inside a snowflake like the one on your sleeve, there happened a story you must see to believe...

Moor Christmas Sugar Cookies
makes...a lot...
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 10 TBS. Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
Mix together flour and baking powder. In a larger bowl, beat together sugar and butter with hand mixer. Add vanilla extract and egg whites, beat thoroughly. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and blend well. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out dough on flat, floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters of choice, cut out cookies and place about 1 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375F for 7 minutes. Remove and let cool completely then frost...

  • 1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 TBS coconut milk
Cream together butter and sugar with hand mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until creamy, then add coconut milk 1 TBS at a time. Beat together thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to use. I divided the batch and dyed some red and some green and left the third bowl white...this is what we got!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 17: Pistachio Cherry White Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti are another Italian cookie that I grew up loving and eating every Christmas season. My mom makes them as gifts to give away and they always look so pretty and taste delicious. This combination of lovely green pistachios, deep red dried cherries, white chocolate chips really creates a sense of Christmas in these Italian dipping cookies. They pair really well with a hot cup of coffee or tea, which will soften the crunchiness of biscotti  and make them easier to eat. And the easier they are to eat, the more you can eat, and that's the whole point of cookies..

Pistachio Dried Cherries White Chocolate Biscotti
makes about 30 biscotti

  • 1 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup raw, shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Blend with hand mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Whisk in eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract into dry ingredients and blend on low speed for about 1 minute. Stir in cherries, pistachios, and white chocolate chips. 

Divide dough in half and form into two approx. 16 inch logs on the parchment lined baking sheet, space about 5 inches apart, and flatten about 2 inches. Bake until golden brown, slightly less than 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 15 minutes.

Reduce oven to 250F. Transfer biscotti to cutting board and cut with a serrated knife into 1 inch thick strips. Return to baking sheets cut side down. Bake until firm and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on cooling racks. These are really good for dessert and a nice breakfast treat!
Roomie Reactions...
Sara: "The crunchiness of the biscotti made my mouth water."
Jenna: "Crunchy and sweet...takes me to Italy!"
Jamie: "I liked the flavor combos!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 16: Spicy Chocolate Stars

These caught my eye when I saw that they would pair well with a fruity Italian wine, especially after my wine fundraiser last night. Which went extremely well! I'm so blessed by all of the support I received...thanks everyone! Everyone seemed to really like these cookies, too. They are a deep, rich chocolate that is enhanced by the little bit of cayenne - it really kicks you in the back of the throat when you least expect it! So, get out that nice rich Italian wine and make a batch of these to curl up with on a cold winter night...

Spicy Chocolate Stars
makes about 4 dozen (depending on size of cookie cutter)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TBS organic cane sugar
  • 1 large egg white
Lightly whisk flour, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, and salt in medium bowl. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer with the bigger blade whisks, combine butter and both sugars until creamy. Add egg white and beat thoroughly. Slowly add dry ingredients until incorporated. 

Turn dough out onto a work surface (silpat mat works well) and knead until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and press into a disc. Place each disc between two pieces of wax or parchment paper and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Place in freezer for at least an hour, until very firm. 

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from freezer and, working with one disc at a time, peel off top layer of paper. Using a small-medium star shaped cookie cutter, cut out stars from dough and place on lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Repeat with second disc and the scraps of each one. 

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, until just firm, making sure you turn cookie sheets about halfway through baking. Let cool for 2-3 minutes. Serve with some vino, kick back, relax and enjoy the night!

Roomie Reactions...
Megan: "I've never had spicy chocolate before and you don't realize it's spicy until right at the end and then it's like BAM!"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 15: Winter Wonderland Meringues

Today I'm having a support night for my Italy trip that's coming up this spring. I'm going for an Arts School of Missions through the organization Operation Mobilization, where I will be receiving training as a dancer to potentially pursue long term ministry leadership. I'm so thankful for the many, many people who have been such a support to me during this process! God has been so faithful to provide continual confirmation that this is the path He is leading me down and tonight is a continuation of that. I am blessed and happy to share this opportunity with my friends and family down here, and so to share some of it with you, here is one of the recipes I made tonight! Also, if you want more information about this trip and how you can help, please email me at Thank you so much and God bless...

Winter Wonderland Meringues
makes about 100 (depending on size)

  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup egg whites

Preheat oven to 215F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large, slightly cold metal bowl, begin beating egg whites with hand mixer until they start to froth. When they start to froth, slowly pour in sugar and increase speed of mixer. Beat egg white and sugar mixture until they form stiff peaks when you remove the whisks. A stiff peak occurs when you pull straight up on the whisks to remove them, and the mixture comes to a little peak that stands up after you have taken out the whisks. When you reach this point, use a spatula to scoop the mixture into a pastry bag or large ziploc bag with one corner cut off. Swirl onto lined baking sheets so they look like little piles of snow (or snowman poop as we so lovingly dubbed them). Place in oven and bake at 215F for about an hour. Remove when done and allow to cool completely, then store in refrigerator until ready to eat, otherwise they will begin to melt and get really sticky - not so good. 

Roomie Reactions...
Jenna: "They're like marshmallows! Very good.."
Jamie: "Mmm...they melt in your mouth!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 14: Rice Nog Cookies!!

That's right. Rice Nog. Nog for those who cannot have dairy. Nog for those who maybe don't want to drink something as thick and...weird as eggnog. The idea came when I asked my roommates for ideas about what kind of cookies I should make. Sara's series of responses included "something peperminty!! something ginger bready!! something egg noggy!!! something candy caney!! something tastey!!!!"

So I saw that and wondered if it was possible to make an "egg noggy!!!!" cookie? So I hit the food blog payment and found a few recipes for eggnog cookies. However, with the girls in the house who are lactose intolerant, I wanted to make sure this cookie was something everyone could try. Which led me to the idea of using RiceNog instead! It's a lot more mild than eggnog, kind of tastes like Horchata, but not as watery. Also, by adding a little nutmeg to the mix it really brings out the eggnog-y flavor. That's right I said eggnog-y...things like this happen in the Moor House...

Rice Nog Cookies
makes about 7 dozen (crazy, I know)

  • 1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup Rice Nog
  • 3 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour mix
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Rice Nog Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 TBS Rice Nog
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Cream butter and sugar together with hand mixer. Add the egg whites and beat together. Then add the Rice Nog and thoroughly mix. Sift in the Gluten Free Flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg. Mix all ingredients until just combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded half tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes. For the icing, mix all three ingredients with hand mixer and refrigerate until ready to use. Cool cookies for 2-3 minutes then drizzle with icing and serve! I hear artists really like them...

Roomie Reactions...
Megan: "I like that they are light and don't have a heavily sweet flavor!"
Jamie: "I think it kind of tastes like Christmas, because it has Christmas seasonings in it."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 13: Nutella Almond Butter (banana) Cookies

To be completely honest, I really didn't want to make cookies today. I'm really tired, because my roommates and I partied really hard last night...

Did you buy it at all? Ok good, because it totally isn't true. We went to a little area in Long Beach called Naples Island to look at the ENORMOUS houses that are always decorated with a million beautiful lights, then came home and watched The Santa Clause until 1am....we are party animals, let me tell you!

Back to making cookies, obviously I'm not going to give up on this project so I wanted something easy and quick for today, which led to these bad boys...or girls. It is Nutella after all..I think Nutella is a little more feminine than masculine. These really are the easiest cookies and I got to use more of my home made almond butter..yummmm!

Nutella Almond Butter (banana) Cookies
makes about 2 dozen

  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 egg white
Preheat the oven 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Using a hand mixer, mix everything together in a medium bowl until well combined. Scoop by 1/2 tablespoon onto baking sheets and slightly flatten by pressing with the back of a spoon...
or the bottom of a glass...
or something else that flattens well....
Bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool for about 1 minute. Like most cookies, these are better when eaten warm. 

Roomie (and Brent) Reactions...
Megan: "I like the hint of banana and it's very slightly sweet, not overwhelming."
Brent: "Oh my gosh! Is there banana in these? I never thought to put banana in cookies, but it's so good!"
Jamie: "It's different than any other cookie I've ever had because of the texture which was soft. Almost like batter and of course I love the batter..."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 12: Molasses Cookies

I don't really like molasses very much. My mom told me to get some blackstrap molasses one time because it has a lot of iron in it or something...but honestly it's really gross by itself. However! When combined with cookies or cake, it is DELISH!!! It develops a much more subtle flavor and takes you away on a journey to Grandma's house in the woods...sitting by a fire, sipping hot cocoa, and listening to Christmas music. I used a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and almond flour in this batch, which gives the cookies a little bit of a nutty flavor. These cookies are really wholesome tasting and would go well with a big mug of rich, dark hot hop to it!

Molasses Cookies
makes 2 dozen
  • 6 TBS unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 TBS organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup molasses
In a large bowl briefly whisk together the applesauce and sugar. Add the flours, baking soda, and spices and beat with hand mixer until just combined. Finally, add molasses and beat for another minute with mixer. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for about 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll a little less than a tablespoonful of dough in a ball and place on lined baking sheet (repeat for all dough). Sprinkle the cookies with the cane sugar before you place them in the oven. Bake at 350F for 14 minutes. Remove and let cool for 2-3 minutes before enjoying on a chilly winter day...

Roomie Reactions...
Jenna: "Oh my gosh Lauren, these are perfect! The sugar adds a nice crunch on the outside, but they're really soft inside..mmm good job."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 11: Sugar Plums

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads...

It may not be the night before Christmas and the time spent snuggled in my bed has been limited, but with all the Christmas spirit in the air my head has been filled with dancing sugar plums. So I decided to look them up and see if there was such a thing. Turns out, there is! They are little balls of dried fruits and nuts blended together, then rolled in sugar to give them a little sparkle. And if you are going to dance through the heads of little sleeping children, you must have a little sparkle to keep them charmed...that goes for Stina too...

Sugar Plums
makes about 32
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw red walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 3 TBS orange juice
  • about 1 cup organic cane sugar (for rolling)
Pulse nuts in food processor until finely chopped. Add dried fruit, orange zest, and spice; pulse until well combined. Pour in orange juice 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until the mixture sticks together. Roll about 1/2 tablespoon mixture in palms to create little balls, then roll in sugar until well coated. Keeps covered in fridge for about a week...if they last that long...

Roomie Reactions...

Mady: "Mmm...these are really good. I like the cherries a lot."
Stina: "These are really good! Why haven't I had these before? They're like everything I like together!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10: Waltz of the Snowflakes Cookie

...The Nutcracker turns into a Prince and takes Clara on a journey to the Land of Snow, an enchanted forest wonderland where they are welcomed by dancing snowflakes. The Prince escorts Clara to the Land of Sweets where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The prince tells her about their daring battle with the army of mice and she rewards them with a celebration of dances. Clara awakens from her dream and finds herself by her Christmas tree with her beloved Nutcracker...

Waltz of the Snowflakes Cookie
makes about 2 dozen
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup(ish) finely crushed candy canes (I pulsed mini candy canes in a food processor)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour and baking soda. Add Earth Balance and sugar, and blend until creamy. Beat in egg white and vanilla extract. Finally, fold in white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes. Drop by tablespoon onto lined baking sheets. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes. Let cool for about 2-3 minutes, serve with sugar plums and snowflakes. 

Roomie Reactions..
Stina: "MMMMMM!!! It's so balanced. I don't like white chocolate cookies because there are always big chunks of white chocolate and it's too sweet, but this is perfectly balanced with like the buttery cookie and sweet white chocolate. Again, I want to eat the whole plate!"
Jenna: "They were delicious."
Nick LeFors III: "I had one of your was very good!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 9: Les Petits Gateaux Noir

This cookie is dedicated to the lovely ladies of ADX and their Fall 2011 banquet tonight. We will be travelling back in time to the glamour and mystery of the era of film noir. Any excuse to dress up like the elegant femme fatales of this time is a good excuse in my opinion. A little red lipstick to top off that fantastic LBD and birdcage hat...bon appetit indeed! So to all of you wonderful women, my dear sisters in Christ - without whom I would not be the woman I am today - I thank you, I love you and I give you...

Les Petits Gateaux Noir (Cookies Noir)
makes about 30
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 TBS. ground flax + 3 TBS. water, simmered together)
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
  • about 3 oz. dark chocolate chopped (I used Green & Black's Organic 72% Dark Baking Chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream together butter and sugar with hand mixer until just incorporated. Add flax egg and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Slowly blend flour, baking powder, and baking soda into wet ingredients. Stir in cherries and dark chocolate. Drop by tablespoons onto lined baking sheets and bake at 350F for 12 minutes.

Roomie Reactions...
Mady: "Yummy! I love the cherries."
Megan: "There like better than regular chocolate chip cookies!"
Jessica: "Mmmm...I like these. They're yummy!"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 8: Vegan Thumbprints

These cookies were a nice break after yesterday's extravaganza. Of course the madeleines were really fun to make, but honestly I'm a little tired. I think it set in after the long process of making and decorating the madeleines. Part of me wants to give in to the tired and take one day - just one little day - off. But I will persevere! It's been so fun trying new recipes and really spending time doing something I love. Regardless of how time consuming this project is, I am going to stick with it and finish!

So, to continue the journey, I give you...

Vegan Thumbprints
makes about 30 cookies

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 cups rolled oats (pulsed lightly in a food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • a little more than 1/2 cup raw agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • jam of choice (I used Mimi Davis' homemade strawberry jam...thank you to the Meemsters!)
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, almond meal, oats, and sea salt in a large bowl. Add agave and applesauce to the dry ingredients, and mix until fully incorporated. Drop by 1/2 tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheet. Using thumb (or other digit) create a small indent in the center of each cookie to make room for the jam. Place about 1/2 teaspoon into each indent. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool briefly...long enough so you don't burn yourself (ahem, Jenna and Megan)

Roomie Reactions...

Megan: "They're very hot. But they're very good! It's sweet but not too doesn't need chocolate or anything!"
Jenna: "It's really tasty and doesn't taste too sinful. The jam is a nice surprise after the first bite!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 7: Dark Chocolate and Candy Cane Dipped Madeleines

Madeleines - the pretty little shell-shaped, cake-y cookies from France. I had always been intimidated by them until tonight. I whipped out that madeleine mold and got to work. They were much simpler than I thought and turned out beautifully! I Christmas-ized(?) them with a dip in dark chocolate and crushed candy canes. They are pretty little things...

...I might even hang them on the tree...

Dark Chocolate and Candy Cane Dipped Madeleines
makes 45
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 6 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 18 TBS. Earth Balance vegan butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • about 30 mini candy canes, crushed
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl beat sugar and egg whites together with a hand mixer for about 2-3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Finally, beat in melted butter. Place a large piece of plastic wrap over the dough and press so that it is flat against the top. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

Preheat oven to 400F with the rack in the middle of the oven. If you are using a non-stick madeleine pan, spray lightly with non-stick spray, but if you are using a silicone madeleine mold (which is what I used) no preparation is required. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling almost to the top of each mold. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven when done and release from molds onto cooling racks to cool slightly before decorating. 

Melt chocolate either over a double broiler on the stove or in the microwave, being careful not to burn. Pulse candy canes in a food processor until finely crushed. Once madeleines are slightly cooled, dip one end in the chocolate and immediately into the candy canes so they stick to the chocolate. Allow to cool completely so the chocolate hardens. 

Look at them...aren't they pretty!!

Roomie Reactions...

Megan: "Mmmm...very good. I like these."
Jessica: "Yummy!"
Sara: "Delicious!"
Jenna: "Oh my gosh! So yummy and pepperminty! It's like Christmas in my mouth!"
Stina: "These are SO good!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 6: Oatmeal Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies

Long name...amazing cookies! Gluten-free, vegan, gooey, rich...the list goes on! The original recipe calls for peanut butter, but I love homemade, raw almond butter so I whipped up a batch and used it for these cookies. Nut butters are really easy to make at home. Simply grab some raw nuts of choice and blend in a food processor until you have the consistency you'd like! You can add honey, agave, cinnamon, etc...and still have a delicious butter. I like to keep it simple and just use raw almonds - especially if I'm going to be using the butter in other recipes.

These cookies almost have the consistency of no-bake cookies because they are so gooey post-oven. You can bake them longer than 10 minutes, but I love my cookies more on the soft side than the crunchy side. The dark chocolate adds an extra *oomph* to make these healthy cookies a little more decadent...but you can still eat one without feeling like you just swallowed a stick of butter dipped in sugar. That's gross..don't do it. Eat one of these instead...

Oatmeal Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies
makes 2 dozen

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Trader Joe's gluten free rolled oats
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 TBS. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine applesauce and sugar, and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add banana, vanilla, and baking soda and mix well. Add almond butter and blend well. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and cinnamon. Drop by tablespoon onto lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes, then enjoy the gooey goodness with a big ol' glass of cold milk. Or a cute little friend...

Roomie (and coworker and client) Reactions...
Jamie: "Dude the cookies from today were so stinkin' good that it's not even funny"
Stina: "Yummy!"
Megan: "They were so good!"
Brittany: "Supes delish!"
Sophia: "Sooo yummy!"
Lisa Maris: "Best. Cookies. EVER. I don't like to play favorites but day 6 cookies RULES!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 5: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I guess this is sort of another remix of a Gram Sturm classic. I used a pretty standard snickerdoodle recipe and added the pumpkin. And while it seems so simple, it's one of those magical combinations that makes you wonder why you hadn't thought of this before! That famous cinnamon and sugar sparkle snickerdoodles are famous for, pairs perfectly with the pumpkin - reminiscent of pumpkin pie or a pumpkin spice latte...

And the great thing is that now all the pumpkin is on sale at the store because it's "past" pumpkin season...ridiculous idea, but awesome for Lauren and fellow pumpkin fans...

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
makes about 30 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cups organic cane sugar (or brown sugar) plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. In another larger bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add egg white and pumpkin puree and blend thoroughly. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix until completely incorporated. 

In another small bowl, mix together the rest of the sugar and cinnamon. Take about 1/2 TBS of dough, roll into a ball. Roll this ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place onto the baking sheet. Do this with the rest of the dough. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass, to about 1/2 inch thickness, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake at 400F for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Enjoy!

Roomie (and co-worker) Reactions...

Brittany: (about her 2nd cookie) "Mmmm...even better than the first one."
Vanessa: "They're so light! And I normally don't even like pumpkin!"
Stina: "It was like, fluffy! Yumm"
Jenna: "So soft and chewy!!!"
Mady: "So moist and yummilicious!"
Megan: "They were so good!"
Sara: "Omg!!!! The best everrrrrrr!!!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 4: Gram Sturm's Persimmon Cookies...Remixed

This cookie has become something I look forward to every Christmas when my grandparents come visit. My Gram will bring a gazillion of her two most famous cookie recipes - persimmon and snickerdoodle. My dad gobbles up the snickerdoodles, my mom and I sneak one or the other every now and then, and my Grandpa complains about how we're all ruining his "shrink". But in the big scheme of things, we all look forward to my Gram showing up with those dozens of tins of cookies and would be a little sad if she didn't

I knew I wanted to include these in my 25 Days of Christmas Cookies, but of course with a few modifications. Not because the originals aren't good! I mean hello...they're cookies from Gram! Of course they're good! But it is nice to spice things up every now and then, right?

I used a special kind of walnut I'd never seen before called Red Walnuts, and they really are red! The flavor isn't much different from a regular walnut, but they add a festive color to the cookies. I also used dried cranberries instead of raisins, which my Gram uses when she makes them. I like the way the tartness of the cranberries complements the sweetness of the persimmons, but feel free to use raisins if you prefer!

Gram Sturm's Persimmon Cookies...Remixed
makes 2 dozen

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/2 TBS ground flax + 1 1/2 TBS water
  • 1/2 cup persimmon pulp (about 2 persimmons pulsed in the food processor for a couple minutes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream together Earth Balance and brown sugar. Add flax mixture and blend. Mix in persimmon pulp, walnuts, and cranberries. Sift in dry ingredients and stir until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 17-20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with a warm up of tea...and maybe a phone call to Gram...

Roomie Reactions...

Jenna: "Mmm..yeah! They taste healthy, but in a good way. I'm a fan of these Lauren!"
Jess: "They do taste healthy!"
Jamie: "It tastes like something you would eat at Grandma's house!"
Megan: "They're very light and not too sweet. I like it!"

Day 3: Cookie Dough Truffles

I guess these aren't technically cookies, but there's cookie dough in the title so it's going to count. These are lovely little balls of heaven. Vegan, gluten-free, no-bake (which I found out aren't actually better than bake, because waiting for them to freeze takes longer than waiting for them to bake). And who doesn't like eating the cookie dough before it's baked? And with this, there's no risk for salmonella! Ideal me thinks...

With the coconut flour in the dough and coconut oil in the chocolate coating there is a hint of almond joy flavor, but not so overwhelming as to cause those not in favor of coconut to turn up their noses. It's a wonderful little sweet treat that you can eat and eat and eat and eat...

look at that, I'm a regular Dr. Seuss-ette!

Cookie Dough Truffles
makes about 20 truffles
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup raw agave
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS almond flour
  • 2 TBS coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
Stir butter and agave together. Mix in flours. Fold in chocolate chips. Shape dough into teaspoon sized balls and place on cookie sheet in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile...
Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together. To coat truffles, place 2-3 in the bowl of melted chocolate and roll until completely covered. You will get messy...
Place each covered truffle on a plate or lined baking sheet and in refrigerator until completely solid. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk..or wine...or a Christmas moose...
Roomie Reactions...
Jamie: "Oh my gosh they were sooo good!"
Sara: "I think instead of a different cookie for every day, you should just make these every day!"
Stina: "I just wanted to eat chocolate and this was perfect!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

December 2nd...
  • 5am- wake up
  • 6am- Pure Barre
  • 7:15am- drive home
  • 8am- make cookies
  • 9:30am- Disneyland
  • 7pm- complete loss of all mental function
I decided that when I started this project I'd have to be OK with losing sleep for 25 days. But what's 25 days in the big scheme of things? Especially when they involve Christmas and cookies...

These little balls of joy hold the winning combination of chocolate and peppermint that is so fondly thought of around the holidays. With a minor adjustment of vanilla to peppermint extract ratio (thank you Stina for your expert taste buds), there was a lovely kiss of fresh mint nestled in the chocolate pillows. 

So here I give you - to accompany the mochas, patties, M&M's and kisses - Chocolate Peppermint Cookies!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
makes 12
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)
  • about 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. (or slightly less) peppermint extract
  • 1 egg white
Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Melt chocolate chips in small bowl in microwave for one minute. Stir chocolate chips until completely melted, set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and espresso powder in a medium bowl. Add butter, sugar, both extracts, and the extract. Beat with hand mixer on low speed just until incorporated. Pour in melted chocolate and blend completely. Drop by tablespoons onto lined baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 375F. Allow to cool for a minute or two, then enjoy like Sara...

Roomie Reactions...
Sara: "Mmm! It's the perfect balance of peppermint."
Megan: "I like these. A lot. I like that you get a hint of peppermint, but not too much."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 1: Yogurt Covered Cranberry Cookies

December 1st. The day we welcome many things in the Moor House: a live and fully lit Christmas tree, Christmas music dancing like sugar plums (or Sweaty Betty) through the air, and the end of No Shave November. Oh and of course the first day of Moor Food's 25 Days of Christmas Cookies. I may be crazy, but when it comes to cookies and Christmas I don't mess around...

Today's recipe is one of my favorite's and a Christmas classic. Cranberry White Chocolate - the remix. Thanks to my local Whole Foods Market - of which I am a frequent frequenter - my eyes were opened to these magical little treats, called yogurt covered cranberries. And sometimes yogurt covered ginger pieces. So to start off this little project I give you Yogurt Covered Cranberry (and sometimes ginger) Cookies...

Yogurt Covered Cranberry Cookies
makes 15, easy to double

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup Whole Foods Market yogurt covered cranberries 
In medium bowl cream together Earth Balance and brown sugar. Beat in egg white and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda and beat until just combined. Fold in yogurt covered cranberries. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 375F for about 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for about a minute then dig in, like this...

Or with a special someone...

May your Christmas season continue to be merry and bright!

Roomie Reactions...
Jamie: "Mmmm...they're so melty! I like them like this."
Megan: "They're not good. They're great. And, you get all the flavors in every bite!"
Jenna: "You've got to be kidding me! If they're all going to be this good I'm in big trouble..."