Learning how to cook is a never-ending process. It can be exhilarating, demoralizing, and certainly agonizing! Even so many years after first learning how to boil water (and not insisting loudly on Facebook that water can burn!), I still get moments that show me that my skills are not always on par with my imagination. Sometimes it’s good to take one or two steps back and simply reflect on the basics and try and get them right before attempting grand adventures! Enter cookies :D
Cookies are something I rarely get right, but just adore as a quick treat to dunk into my tea. Emma (MIL of renoun) and I have been plotting to make vegan, gluten-free rusks for a while, but time passes us by quicker than we can grasp it. In the here and now, therefore, I have to make do with my own tinkering in the kitchen.
The one cookie I adore and have much sadness about not munching is a lemon cream. Lemons make me giddy and grabby for everything yellow, and these cookies, though not neon, are certainly a fair contender for nom of the day. I made the filling yesterday as a experiment of sorts, and it came out so much like the original lemon cream that I nearly fell over myself figuring out what I could do with it. The graham cookies I had for the vegan Tim Tams wouldn’t work, and so I nobly set out to do research for alternative.
The cookies I decided on are basically based on these amazing sugar cookies by Shosana. I faffed around with the milk quantity since my mixture was mostly just flour and I didn’t want to up the coconut oil ratio. I would say that applesauce will work just as well to replace half the milk quantity used in this variation, and also it will be delicious :) These are possibly the easiest and best cookies I’ve made – I “tested” about six or so before I had to put them away in a tupperware, for fear of scarfing down the whole lot. I probably could have eaten everything and washed away all evidence of its existence, but I much prefer sharing over barbarity, though I don’t think I would have felt ill – these cookies are light but delightful.
Cookies (makes 35-40 bite-sized cookies):
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 90ml soy milk
- 1.5 cups cake wheat flour
- 1/3 cup sugar of choice (can also use 2 TBSP sugar and 2 packets stevia if you like!)
- Mix together your wet ingredients with a whisk.
- Add your flour in stages to the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. After a while you’ll have to set that aside and mix with your hands until a nice dough is formed. Add more milk if needed to mix dough, but make sure it doesn’t become too soggy.
- Place your dough between two sprayed sheets (or dust with some flour) and roll out thinly.
- I take long to cut out cookies, so preheat only at this stage to 180C.
- Using a cookie cutter of choice (or otherwise just slice out squares) get your desired shapes and numbers of cookies, then place them with a bit of space around each one on a baking tray. There isn’t baking soda or baking paper so they won’t spread out – don’t worry!
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are brown.
- The point isn’t to brown them, so they will ultimately remain a light-coloured cookie. Remember that as they cool they will harden up, so don’t feel you need to bake them to a crisp.
Lemon cream filling/frosting:
- 3/4 cup sweet potato – peeled, sliced and steamed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/8 + 3 tsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 TBSP custard powder
- 1 tsp lemon essence or 1 dropper NuNaturals Liquid Lemon NuStevia
- Blend sweet potato and milk in a food processor until the sweet potato is broken down considerably.
- Melt the coconut oil, then mix in the custard powder thoroughly. You might still have some custard powder granules, but that’s fine.
- Let the coconut oil mixture cool down for a minute or two, then add that and the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and blend til smooth.
- Once the cookies have cooled completely spoon a heaped tsp of the lemon cream filling and squash between two cookies.
- Store in the fridge for best results.
I was halfway to the gym when I got a frantic text from Man-thing saying the cookies were amazing and “EVIL delicious”, which is testimony enough for these humble little treats. Honestly, I’m just so thrilled to have made cookies that were actual cookies. If you’re scratching your head you clearly don’t have trouble with the basics! I utterly failed at making microwave oatmeal this morning, so these were a roaring victory for me.
Speaking of victory, I totally smashed up the gym today with my energy and bounciness – I could easily have jogged around the block a few times when I got home. I want to say the cookies were the deciding factor, but I think my blood pressure pills did the trick! They somehow raise my BP to a wonderful normal level, and suddenly I have energy to do stuff like normal people! Usually the gym is a nightmare because I feel faint by the halfway mark, but yummy cookie sugar, a hearty protein-packed lunch, and these little darling tablets did the trick. I use food to try and cure myself of all sorts of things, but sometimes there comes a point where cold hard medication does the trick, and I don’t think there should be any shame in that. I tried protein boosts, more fruit, less fruit, more starch, no starch…all the combos I could think of, and these nuggets of oomph are the only thing that work with me. That’s ok – modern medicine is a wonder!
It still feels good (quite literally!) to spoil oneself with delicious, healthy food, even and especially on a budget, which is why Meatless Mondays fill me with glee. The internet explodes with amazing recipes that feature my kind of cooking; cruelty-free nomness!
One ridiculous morning I showed up at the gym at 06h30 where the only patrons were me, the instructor, and some one or two other randoms. The instructor was super impressed and was gabbing about how it’s better to start something any day of the week – not to always “wait for Monday”. Well, here’s your chance to follow that fine philosophy. If you were intimidated by Meatless Monday, or didn’t know about it until it was too late, have a gander and add these dishes to your to-do list for the week ahead. You don’t need alliteration to get good food in your belly! Also, most of these are pretty speedy and low-cost, which is always great. Adapt according to your tastes and what’s in the fridge – you’ll feel less intimidated or more eager if you don’t have to make a special shopping trip just to sate your appetite.
Meatless Monday Links:
Ok, marfigs, what about dessert? Where’s the pudding in all this mess of gloriousness?
How isn’t that the proper way to finish off the day – lusting for the next day, just to make food?
What are your favourite quick dishes for the weekday?