There are only two people on planet earth that have volunteered to eat avocado cake, as made by me. One is in Cape Town, and the other is obviously one sole individual, who, whilst not proximally challenged, nevertheless does not possess enough stomach to eat a whole cake just because I happened to make it. So while I bide my time and try and lure in more people to knowingly eat avo cake (with green frosting, mind), I decided to make that individual some green-coloured munchies. I figure cookies are a good gateway food, so I decided to modify a recipe I’ve been itching to try with the ingredient I got from pal Diaan – Matcha powder. Matcha powder was one of those magical unicorn ingredients that confused the hell out of me when I first started researching about vegan recipes. It featured in one of my first forays into the whole amazingness, the pre-workout superfood energy bites from the Veggie Nook. I probably only ate these as “pre-workout” snacks once or twice, and then the rest as “life is tuff, FOOODD” snacks, but whatever.
Looking back on my early traipses into vegan baking and food-making, I realize with horror that much of my food was green – yes, I enjoy the pants off green food, but I don’t think it made anyone less than skittish when raising a morsel to their lips under my hawk-like supervision. Nowadays I’ve taken a more relaxed approach to sharing the munchies I’ve made, but I still can’t help myself from introducing just a little jazz. That’s where the Matcha comes in. It’s green, but subtly so.
The recipe I based these cookies on is Sarah’s Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies – as sure as I was that there was food colouring in my house over the holidays I was sadly deluded, which is why they didn’t form part of our gifts. I was also nervous about this whole standing cake mixer with paddles, since I donated my paddles to the trash can many moons ago when I was a flighty student with little but endless toasted sandwiches and chocolate on the brain. The highest form of cuisine (homemade, that is) was the stir-fry. I was so impressed with myself for adding jam or sliced pears that I would brag for weeks on end. Well. Let’s just say I can assure myself I’ve moved on slightly from that stage in culinary foolhardiness. Today, however, I was determined. So I decided to use a hand beater for the vegan butter and sugar stage, and then just go all earthy with a wooden spoon when it came to adding the dry ingredients. Ha! I have realized, however, that I would truly suck as a farm lass churning my own butter, since my brain went all “this is hard work” after a few scant moments at the helm. Sheesh.
- Firstly I halved the recipe, but that’s not important. Again, I need to be more social or something to have people to give all the excess to, since I don’t always eat more than one or two helpings of whatever it is I make (dessert or sweet-wise), and I want a clear kitchen and fridge so I can move onto the next project.
- To the dry ingredients I added 1/4 TBSP of Matcha powder.
- I also added 1/4 TBSP of Matcha powder to the wet ingredients in place of the red food colouring, just to make bladdy sure it was going to turn out green.
- I left out the cocoa powder and added its equivalent in almond flour, since I’ve learnt valuable lessons in leaving out ingredients (obviously it changes the chemistry of cooking). Also, almond flour (in small, affordable quantities) is amazing and adds a delightful, fluffy richness to whatever it mingles its noble crumbs with.
- Lastly, to balance out the ridiculous amount of sugar, I added splashes of cinnamon, which apparently helps with sugar levels. Also, tasty.
Alas, no matter how green one’s batter looks, Matcha powder doesn’t bake green, or at least these cookies didn’t turn out as green as I’d hoped. I suspected it wouldn’t, given the small amount of Matcha powder I used, but I resisted the temptation to add some spirulina to the mix for that extra boost of colour. Nevertheless, that slight green wisp, the puffy and fluffy sweetness of the cookie…oh man, so delicious! Seriously, I got 22 cookies out of halving the batch and I could easily eat them all over a weekend with soy milk, peppermint tea and lots of riveting movies. Instead I’m going to stay true and share, though it takes a certain amount of willpower to do so. I must admit I didn’t use half a cup of powdered sugar over the cookies, which is probably why they’re not crackling or crinkling with sugar, but ah well. Half the batch will go to my FIL, and I don’t think diabetics care much about how much it crinkles when they start to get woozy. Also, I’m never sugar when powdered sugar refers to sugar that’s been blended down or icing sugar instead, since I suspect no amount of sprinkling would leave that beautiful white and snowy look of the original cookies. Nevertheless, I am *very* happy with my batch! I may have over-baked it by 1-2 mins, but that may be because of the almond flour, so I suggest to start eyeing it harshly here by 8 minutes. My tops were delightful but some of the undersides seem burnt (but don’t really taste like it!).
Anyway, since my life is a collection of lists, I figured I’d list some things that I plan to do in the year ahead:
- Better my food photography, now that I have an awesomecakes camera and equipment that actually captures light, even at night! (Seriously, the old camera destroyed a large part of my soul, which explains why I got so fed up that most of my snaps were more about stocktaking than actual aesthetic pleasure, having lost my cool once too often) This includes learning about plating, which is what I’ve noticed more predominantly in everyone’s blogs this year.
- Start to develop my own recipes. I’ve consciously tried my best over the past year or so to always modify the recipes I base my own output on – sometimes because I’m pigheaded, other times because the ingredients aren’t available or I’m allergic/Man-thing expresses loathing. For the last six months at least it’s been more about changing up and modifying recipes because a) I’m sure no-one wants to see the same recipe on different websites (unless it’s over at Foodgawker or Finding Vegan, or other extremely time-consuming but soul-pleasing black holes), and b) because I feel I should start to bring some input of my own considering means, location and unique brain function.
- Try out different cuisine and new ingredients – make my own sushi, bake with yeast, flirt with rice paper…all challenges in their own right to my star-struck mind, but nothing the internet can’t help overcome (and a few willing test subjects).
- And, on a different note, start up my Masters in Political Philosophy! I’ve been faffing about with a research degree in History which has taken me in circles, so I took action in mid-October and got accepted – I can simply not wait to be thrust into a completely new intellectual environment and be set a thousand books to read and pages of research reports to write. I must admit I’m nervous as a bagful of kittens by the riverside about being so out of practice on many levels, academically, and especially because I’ve had little experience in the Philosophy Department, other than where I dabbled with my Honours thesis. Nevertheless, structure and (hopefully) synergy! Whoop!