A continuing story of self-discovery, growth and re-evaluation...
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
WEDNESDAY, 16 JUNE 2010
Firstly, I must tell you:
I finished my Saroyan and I love her.
She's blue and cotton and oh-so-lovely...
Secondly, in a major fit of jonesing for Chocolate-Chip Cookies (and I'm talking the US-style cookies, not biscuits, not crunchy, crispy or hard English-made things at all) I decided I had to make (or attempt to make) these Vegan-friendly.
This is when I was met with another challenge (as if I had already thought the first bit would be a cake-walk)... The "good", reputable recipes for chewy cookies contain flax seeds. Because I am allergic to oh-so-many things, a lot of various seeds being just a portion of them, I decided to try to make my cookies without them.
But where to start??
What, on earth, can I use to replace flax seeds to give me the "chew" I wanted in my cookies without adding any animal-derived products? Asking this question on a Vegan forum sparked a LOT of debate.... One poster suggested adding more molasses but it was argued that because of the sugar content it would actually -crisp- the cookies.
Someone else suggested using banana or apple sauce, but as was later pointed out; these act more as binding agents than chewiness-givers (yes, that is an official baking technical term *grin*).
This debate went on and on and on among people who have been eating and cooking Vegan-friendly goodies a LOT longer than I have so I left them to it and began experimenting.
After all, what could it hurt to get it wrong a couple of times, right? It would mean I would have a place to start, a template, if you will, of a great cookie "blank" that I could then amend, chop, change the recipe(s) for as I saw fit based solely on the results I was getting from actual cookies.
I took some of their advice (I added a little more molasses, about 1/2 - 1 tsp more) but the mixture was very, I don't know.... grainy.
Because I'm relatively new to Vegan-baking but have been baking for decades I decided that -I- knew best and that I needed a more cohesive cookie dough than this particular recipe had produced.
Oddly, thankfully, luckily even, I had something in my baking arsenal that would (hopefully!) fit the bill.
I measured, made notes, mixed, shaped, balled, pressed, baked and prayed. My cookies didn't -spread- the way I wanted them to, the way I -needed- them to. I watched. I waited. I prayed some more. I even turned up the heat, hoping that I could -melt- the little beggars.
What I got first was the cookie on your left. A hard, little hockey puck of a cookie. A little nugget much like the cookies I have earlier explained I -didn't- want. Damn.
Back to the baking-board. Clearly I wasn't meant to leave them in for -that- long. Oops. What about actually -timing- the little beggars, Tanya?! Baking them for about as long as normal cookies bake, perhaps?
Well, lo and behold! Timing, baking at a slightly lower temperature and viola! A cookie to be proud of!
These cookies have been Vegetarian- and Omnivore-approved! (I don't happen to yet know any Vegans so I can't say they're Vegan-approved but the people who -did- eat them said they tasted just like (or better than) the cookies available with milk and eggs and allsorts inside them.
Meet the Mrs B bakes Chocolate Chip Cookie.
P.S. I must confess that these cookies, and the reception of same, have made me immensely proud. I managed, with my severely limited Vegan-baking knowledge, to make a -good-, a damned-good cookie, if I do say so myself (and if I listen to the semi-official Mrs B bakes taste-testers).