Gah! With our days numbered, it’s becoming a logistical scramble to get everything set up and ready so that the production line of baking can occur as efficiently as possible. We’re planning on baking an assortment of goodies to plonk in our cookie boxes, so planning is essential. Or that’s just how my mind works. I don’t even want to show you how many lists I’ve made *shameface*. This morning I quickly baked up a loaf of coastal crackers, so that I can defreeze them on Tuesday morning and quickly bake them up for that evening and the next day. I love those things! Tomorrow it’s plum ketchup and lemon curd, and then more odds and ends, such as a quiche and bobotie. Gah!
Anyway, today my sister-in-law and her man, let’s call him Foxtrot, came over to play a few rounds of Settlers of Catan, since he had never played it before. It’s a really fantastic way to boil one’s blood and also to suss out personalities, such as SIL batting eyelashes to get him to move the robber from her spot. Man-thing and I have obviously been married too long since that doesn’t seem to work on him :p I quickly zapped up a banana bread this morning for that, as well as prepared a tester round of sugar cookies (in prep for prezzies) using the vegan margarine we discovered in the stores. I went onto the Vegan Society of South Africa website and found out that Olé marg is usable, so hurrah! As much as I adore coconut oil, it’s too expensive and too oily in some baked goods, so I wanted to find an alternative. Even though it says it’s not for baking the cookies worked just as well with it, but I was amazed (and rather horrified) and the extreme taste it leaves in the cookies – coconut oil is wonderfully neutral and light-tasting in comparison. So my overall impression is that it’s OK for mass baking projects like this, but for smaller scale, year-round baking I’ll stick to wonderful coconut oil. Man-thing claimed that he didn’t get the overpowering “marg/butter” taste, but I think it’s probably because I haven’t touched the stuff in more than two or three years that I can suss out its distinct flavour.
Nevertheless, I actually just wanted to share this very simple sugar cookie recipe from Self.com (of all places!). I don’t even know how I land up at these random websites, but I’m very, very glad I did! This is the least butten-laden, sugar-drenched sugar cookie recipe I’ve found, from all the wonderful recipes that have been circulating this past month or so on the different blogs. Simple and easily vegan-ized through subbing the marg for vegan friendly stuff and the egg with egg replacer. Best of all, it’s very versatile – there are a bunch of recipes for Raspberry Linzer Torte cookies or Pumpkin Pinwheels – one really can do anything. I leave out the almonds because the instructions completely forget about them, but we plan on sprinkling some on a portion of our cookies anyhow for a bit of show! Happily one can also make this and then leave it in the fridge – I left the tester batch dough for 10 cookies overnight in the fridge and nothing tragic happened (although it may have allowed the evil marg to infiltrate the molecular barriers of some of the other ingredients).
Since these were just for us to test I used 1/2 nutty wheat and 1/2 cake wheat flour, but for the actual gifts we’ll use the lighter flours for brightness of colour, since not everyone is concerned about denser, more wholegrain flours. Nevertheless, these are so bladdy healthy – at only 38 cals a cookie! – that one can really ‘fatten’ them up with slashes of chocolate or whatever the heart desires. I have a whole list of mods, which I’ll share on Tuesday! 😀
Another thing we quickly threw together (though the planning was a bit more laborious) was some of these brownie jars that have been circulating the feeds. I’ve been keen to gift these jars since we got one from a cousin for my kitchen tea and it was such a novel idea to me at the time and was such a happy thing to have around when I had an intense craving for something naughty. I used this recipe from Vegan Richa, simply because it looked quick and easy! The jars we bought were a bit big so we added some nuts and cranberries in little bags (to avoid contaminating everything) along with choc chips in a bag and then plonked the typed instructions inside. I’m so chuffed with this rather straightforward idea that I figure it’ll be an easy go-to for gifting throughout the year, since who says no to cookies or brownies when half the work is already done? Someone sinister and shrivelled inside, that’s who.