Monday, January 2, 2012

Better Than Girl Scouts

And finally the whirlwind tour ends!

Christmas was a blast! We just got back from our one-week tour of the whole fam, starting at Cape Cod, then to Boston,  Virginia, Pennsylvania, and finally my old stomping grounds of Hanover. Along the way, I got some lovely animal-friendly gifts, including several cookbooks: Candle 79, Veganomicon, Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  All spectacular!

Candle 79 is a cookbook from the New York restaurant of the same name. I am dying to go there someday and order the whole menu. The recipes are quite fancy -- perfect for having an impress-your-guests dinner. I sense I'll be using this one a lot this summer as all the lovely produce bursts forth from our garden. (Thank you, Mark and Chris!)

Ryan made a great jambalaya dish and the jalapeno cornbread from Veganomicon for the Byers/Fleming reunion in Virginia. (Thank you to one of my student's parents who gave me a bookstore gift certificate! Best gift you can give a teacher!) It's the second year that the family has held a cooking competition for the men. Each man present must make a dish and serve it to the family. They do this all at once, but luckily it's a big kitchen. Then afterward the votes are tallied. Sadly, Ryan did not win overall for his recipes (sigh...better luck next year, sweetie!) but the winner (my brother-in-law Brendan) won with a fabulous stew that he made vegan for us! (Everyone else had it with a dollop of cheese on top, but I'm telling you, it did not need it.) I'm hoping I can talk Brendan and his lovely darlin' wife Sara Anne into sharing this recipe with us and letting me share it with y'all.


Eat Drink, and Be Vegan is equally wonderful. (Thank you, Mary!) Yesterday, I made the Thai Corn Chowder and it was just delectable. (Made with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, limes, etc.) A happy happy thing for the mouth and tummy.

But the grandaddy of them all was the Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (Thank you, Spence!) I've only tried one recipe so far, but it is one of the most spectacular things I've ever made in my life. It was the Lazy Samoa cookie recipe, based on the Girl Scout cookie of the (almost) same name. But way way way better. (My enthusiasm got the better of me and I scared a good friend on the phone as I described them. "They're even better than Girl Scout cookies!" she quoted me later,  laughing, but upon eating them, she too was hooked and better understood my overzealous delirium.) I'll share the recipe with you here, as I've already received four requests for the recipe.


Lazy Samoas

2 C grated unsweetened coconut
1/3 C unrefined coconut oil (you can find this in the oils section of Whole Foods, in a jar)
3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 C nondair, y milk
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Decorating
1 C dark chocolate chips (I use Guittard)
2 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Pour the grated coconut into a large heavy skillet and toast over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and toast coconut to a light golden grown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. (It's true! Mine went immediately from white to light brown at about 10 minutes. So don't be wandering about doing other tasks, or it will surely burn.) Promptly remove the coconut from the heat and stir it occasionally as it cools. If the coconut continues to turn overly brown promptly pour from skillet into a large dish and spread around to help hasten cooling and stop cooking.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, non-dairy milk, flax seeds, and vanilla until well-blended and smooth. (Keep the coconut oil at room temperature. You may need to use your mixer for while to make sure it's totally blended.) Sift in the all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt, and mix to form a thick batter. Fold in the toasted coconut.

4. Scoop about 1 Tablespoon of dough 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Flatten each cookie with the back of a measuring cup and use your fingertip to work a small hold into each center. (Note: the measuring cup trick didn't work well for me. I just used my hands.) Bake for 8 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden. (I stopped mine at 8 minutes and didn't let them get golden - I tend to overcook cookies -- and they came out great.)

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Transfer the cooled cookies onto waxed paper, then place them onto a cutting board or other firm surface that can be easily slid onto a refrigerator shelf. (I just put them on a cooled baking sheet.)

6. While cookies are cooling, melt chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler (I used the microwave), then stir the coconut oil into the melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Dip cookie bottoms into the chocolate and return them to the waxed paper. Now drizzle the remaining chocolate over the cookies, either by dipping a fork into the melted chocolate (I tried this and it worked great) or by pouring the chocolate into a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip. Chill the cookies for at least 30 minutes to completely firm up the chocolate. Store the cookies in a loosely covered container in a very cool place.

The authors of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar,  Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, should get a Nobel Prize or something. You'll see why when you try them. If everybody ate these, the world would be at peace. Trust me on this one.


So that was some of my Christmas fun. Oh. And I got a Vitamix from Santa! More to come.

So I'm curious...what kind of animal-friendly goodies did Santa or Hannukah Harry give to you?


  1. I will attest, these cookies were simply off the chain! I'm lucky to be married to such an adventurous vegan chef!

  2. A Vitamix from Santa? Oh my, you must have been very nice in 2011 :)