Have Yourself a Merry Little Friday!

Happy Friday to you!!

Recipe review time!  I’ve been good and posted up some pretty decent vegan recipes, and now it is time to try out a recipe from someone else!  I found a great little recipe on ohladycakes and just had to try it out.  It is for pumpkin cinnamon roll cookies.  Autumn inspired baking?  I’m IN!

http://www.ohladycakes.com/2011/11/pumpkin-cinnamon-roll-cookies.html

There’s the link that will take you to the original recipe. 

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And this is an example of the final product!  Little yummy tasty nom-noms if you ask me!

I ended up cutting the recipe in half because I just don’t trust myself.  I’d eat the whole batch if it turned out half-way decent.  And let me tell you–they were amazing!  So I’m very glad I don’t have a ton of these little guys sitting around, staring me in the face all weekend, saying “eat me! eat me! eat me!”  ….heh. 

More photos:

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The cookie dough was easy to make and easy to work with.  Plus!

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It rolled out and rolled up like a champ!

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Once chilled, it sliced up like a boss.  Not crumbly, not too sticky…just perfect!

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Waiting to go into the oven!  Look at how lovely.  🙂  I trimmed off the uneven edges and had a little taste of the raw cookie–super yum.  I was pretty excited to see how they would bake up!

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They baked like a boss, too.  The house smelled great and I was literally dancing around the kitchen watching them.  Yes, I like my sweets.  🙂

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Oh wait, you get glaze? Um, yes please! 

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Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh!  …YES. 

This recipe gets high marks for:

1.  Easy.  This recipe, given it has a couple of steps, was still pretty easy.

2.  Taste.  Like heaven! 

3.  Cuteness.  I made my cookies small, about 2 inches by 2 inches.  Easy to pop in your mouth!

4.  Looks impressive.  No joke. 

5.  Originality of recipe.  Pumpkin + cinnamon roll + cookie?  Uh, that’s AWESOME. 

I don’t really think I’d change anything about this recipe.  They could, perhaps be a tad sweeter, but that could mean I just need a wink more glaze.  Uh, more glaze?  Ha, yes please! 😉  Um, I like my sweets. I’d give this recipe a solid 9.5.  It is right on the fringe of getting a 10.  These cookies are pretty addictive.  Make them, share them, and enjoy!

So, here is the actual recipe, if you don’t feel like going and seeing what ohladycakes is up to.  But I honestly recommend going to her site.  She has some really amazing things on there and I want to eat them all!

From OhLadyCakes:

PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLL COOKIES

 

1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
1 tsp unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
Filling
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Glaze
1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp almond milk

 

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, molasses, vanilla extract and milk on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and continue beating for an additional 30-45 seconds. Add the baking soda and salt; mix until combined. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix until all of the flour is incorporated then pinch the dough to test the consistency; it should be smooth and have a bit of elasticity. If it’s too dry, add additional milk, or if it’s too sticky, add additional flour.
Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough out into a 10×18 rectangle (approximately 1/4″ thick). Brush with butter then sprinkle with brown sugar (up to 1/2 cup) and cinnamon. Roll dough tightly, starting at the long end, into a log. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes, or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/2″ segments and line on baking sheet. Bake at 350˚F for 9-10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze by mixing the sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle with glaze. Store in an air tight container for up to three days.
Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies
 
 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies + General Cheer!

Happy Fall, y’all! 

Today is the first official day of fall!  To celebrate and make sure I start the season right, I made some very tasty, fall inspired cookies!

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I also busted out my brand new pumpkin body lotion and fall-smelling candles to boot!  So now my house smells like a pumpkin and I do, too!  But back to the important stuff:  COOOOOOKIES!!!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cookies (me want it.)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 Heaping tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp. Allspice

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (Lightly packed)

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Softened Earth Balance Baking Sticks

1 Cup Pumpkin

1 Ener-g Egg Replacer

1/2 Tbs. Vanilla

2 Tbs. Maple Syrup

 

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Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh!  Flavor profile Pumpkin Bomb ‘Splosion! 🙂

Directions:

1.  Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 

2.  In a larger bowl, cream your “butter”.

3.  Beat in the sugars, ener-g, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Cream until light and fluffy.

4.  Add the pumpkin to your sugar/butter mix and combine.

5.  Slowly add your reserved dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, mixing until nicely combined.

6.  Using a spoon or small scoop, drop the cookie dough onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

7.  Bake for about 10 minutes (check the bottoms for done-ness).  If you made larger cookies than me, they will obviously take longer.  I’m trusting you all to know when the cookies are done.  🙂

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Notes:  These cookies taste very pumpkin-y and make your house smell AAAHHH-MAAAAAY-ZING!  They are better once they have cooled 100%, and it will be hard to wait!  You could easily roll them in a little cinnamon sugar before baking.  To me, it seemed like they needed a little….something.  The naked cookies were yummy, but they needed GLAZE.  Yes.  When in doubt add more sugar, right?  …right.  😉

Glaze (these amounts are approximate; I suggest futzing with the ratios to get the taste right for your taste buds)

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Almond Milk (or alternative milk option of your choice; doesn’t need to be vanilla either, it’s just what I had handy)

1 tsp Maple Syrup

8-10 Drops of Lemon Juice (this helps make it a bit less shockingly sweet)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir together until smooth.  Drizzle over cookies.

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These cookies will certainly help perk up a ho-hum day and fill your house with some fun, autumnal cheer!  They are pretty easy to make, too.  Nick said that these cookies would be good with raisins in ’em.  …I guess I could see that.  Me?  I just want to eat them!

I’m going to bring some with me tonight because we are headed to Santa Barbara to go see Son of Doo-doo and Heather!  Yay for game night!

Next order of business: Kickstarter!  I got my 7th backer today!  Huzzah!  Thank you to all my backers and to all of you who are helping to spread the word.  I am so grateful.  🙂  Keep up the good work and I might share some pumpkin cookies with you!

Oh, wait, you missed the Kickstarter link?  Here it is again!

Do you need even more ways to stay in connection with all things pirate?  Like Modern Pirate Quarterly on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/Modernpiratequarterly

 

 

 

Weekend (awesome!) & Banana Bread Recipe! (finally, right?)

Hello again!

I hope you are enjoying your Saturday morning!  Here is something to help perk up your weekend (if you are bored, that is!).  You can make some banana bread (or as I call it,BoooooooOOnaaaahnaaah bread.)  Join the party and call it that.  I dare ya! 😉

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Ingredients:

2 Cups all-purpose flour

3/4 Cups white sugar

1/2 Cup dark brown sugar, packed

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 Cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 cups mashed banana or about 4 large very ripe bananas

1/4 Cup canola oil

2 Tbs. Maple Syrup

1 Tbs. Vanilla extract

1 Cup Mixed Nuts – Walnuts, Toasted Pecans, Roasted Almonds (optional but seriously recommended)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First, measure out the almond milk and add apple cider vinegar.  Stir to combine and set aside. My rule of thumb for this is to let it sit at least 10 – 15 minutes before adding to the rest of the liquid ingredients.

In one bowl, mash the bananas.  I like a crude mash that yields hunks of bananas once the bread has been baked.  If you don’t like this, then mash into more of a smooth banana paste.  Then in the same bowl, measure out and combine your liquid ingredients, reserving the almond milk mixture as it still needs to do its thing.  You will add this part last.

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Sorry for the poor photo quality on this guy–but my hands were sticky from the bananas and I snapped this photo on the fly!

In another bowl, measure out your dry ingredients and stir together.  Add your chopped nuts and stir into this mix.  I’ve found that if you do this, the nuts get better dispersed into the bread and don’t settle to the bottom of the loaf. 

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Here it is in process.  Note the almond milk + vinegar chillin’ and gettin’ ready.  🙂

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Once that almond milk has sat for the appropriate amount of time, add to the liquid ingredients, stir to combine, then add the liquid ingredients into the dry.  Stir together until just combined.  No NOT over mix, I repeat, do NOT over mix!  You will have nasty, heavy bread and that will for sure suck. 

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Prepped and ready to go!  I made the recipe + 1/2 again as much to get a third loaf. 

Next, pour into your greased pans.  I find that this recipe yields two medium sized loaf pans.  I have put it all into one pan before and it took for-freaking-ever to bake.  So I split it into two loaves and it still takes about 45 minutes to an hour to bake.  Sorry for the imprecise bake time here, I honestly lose track of how long, because as the bread is baking I go do other stuff.  I trust you guys will know when it’s done–just bake until a tooth pick comes out clean and the bread is toasty on top and starts to pull away from the sides of the pans.  If you do decide to bake in one loaf pan, I suggest you turn the heat down to 325 after the first 45 minutes as I’ve found that the top will brown faster than the insides cook and you could have a tricky loaf on your hands–one that *looks* done, but on the insides is still gooey and not baked!  The larger loaf will take a hour and half at least. 

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This recipe makes the house smell SO FREAKING GOOD!  It is right up there as one of my most favorite things to bake and eat. 

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Yep.  Enjoy it!  Make some this weekend if you have browning bananas.  🙂

I’m not sure what’s on the agenda for us–there is a car show going on and we may go check that out.  A BBQ at Lake Cachuma might also be in order!  Have a great Saturday y’all!

 

Coconut + Almond Thumbprint Cookies + Weekend Fun Times!

Wow, do I ever have a lot to talk about!

I think I’m finally over my cold!  Yay!  I was able to get my first run in, in a week!  I took it a little slow, but I feel pretty good for doing it.

Also, I’m eagerly awaiting the first physical proof of my book to arrive.  Fingers cross, it’ll be today!

Next, let’s start with a recipe.  I got a little creative and improvised this recipe, coconut + almond thumbprints on Saturday for post wine-tasting fun times back here at our house.  I’d give them a solid 8 out of 10 though I’m not sure how I’d improve them.  Everyone else gave them closer to a 10 out of 10 and kept going back to get another one to nibble on.  I guess they were a hit!  My mom always says that stuff tastes better when you don’t make it.  So perhaps it is this at play here, in my desire to only rank these cookies an 8?  I do have to say that I liked their consistency and that they weren’t too sweet.  Of course, they reminded me of marzipan, one of my all time favorite things to eat, so if you too like marzipan, these might be the cookies for you!

Coconut + Almond Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1 + 1/3 Cup Raw Almonds – Processed into a meal

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 Cup Almond Butter

1/4 Cup Coconut Milk

1 tsp Almond Extract

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

Jam of Your Choice

Coconut to roll cookies in, if you choose

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In one bowl, combine all wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Add wet to dry, stir to combine.  Form balls with dough (I used the size of my palm as my guide) then roll in coconut.  Lastly, use your thumb and press out centers of cookies and add a little doll-up of jam.  Bake for about 9 minutes or until they start to brown and jam becomes melty.  Let cool on baking sheet before transferring to a paper towel or cooling rack.

Photos for you all!

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Now I’m sorry, I don’t have any photos of the final, baked cookies!  I thought I’d get a chance to get a picture before heading out, but alas, time did not permit!  Rest assured, they look pretty much the same as that last photo when they come out of the oven.

Next, here are some photos of wine tasting!

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Everyone had a nice, relaxing time.  Yes, it was hot, about 93 degrees!  But the trees had misters all woven in throughout the branches that misted down on us and with the little breeze, it was pretty comfortable!  Afterwards we went to the Farmer & Cook again and it was a hit.  Great food, gluten free & vegan options, what’s not to love? 🙂  My dad said the jalepeno poppers were the best he’s ever eaten!  I couldn’t try them since they were loaded with cheeses–and pop they did!  All. Over. The. Place. lol

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I *think* we had too good a time however, and it bugged our server!  She seemed annoyed by all the fun we were having, joking about, laughing way to loud, you know, the usual.  It is a terrible thing when you really enjoy your family and would pick them for friends, isn’t it? 😉

Yesterday, the beautiful weather continued and Nick and I took a walk downtown, then headed to the beach.

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Here are my boys as we walked out on the wharf.  While I didn’t think we were out in the sun too long, my shoulders and back got a little crisped and a bit pink.  Not bad, but my skin is now a bit itchy/sensitive today.

After our walk, we stopped in at a little spot right off the wharf and got a drink, and just chilled.  Literally.  It was pretty hot!  We fed the Bubs ice cubes and he napped in the shade as we sipped our drinks–iced tea for me, a beer for Nick.  It felt like being on vacation!  After our little relax-y time, we headed home and I made more granola!  Oh yeah.  I’m nursing an addiction to the stuff, I feel.  I’ve messed with the recipe just a bit, added chia seeds, steel cut oats, and cut down on the raw buckwheat groats.  I think I’ve got it just about right.  I made a giant double batch and hopefully it will last all week.  Ha, *hopefully!*

Now, I know I owe you my banana bread recipe.  Don’t worry, I’ll post it here in the next few days.  Also, I haven’t forgotten to share my Aloo Mattar recipe, either.  The leftovers have been eaten, and yep, it’s good cold.  So I’ll have to share that one as well.  I’ll save that for when I run out of things to post! lol  Well, you know how it goes.  My brain will only think up so much in a day….and I can only bake/cook/EAT so much anyway!  Fortunately I have the Doo-Doo contingent in Santa Barbara that I can take goodies to.  🙂

I have a pretty slam packed day today.  Aside from my usual biz dev, emailing, project management, regular job-y stuff, I also have Birthday Trees to pen, and I need to look into flights to Portland for Christmas.  Nick and I have worked out a deal regarding Christmas–we trade off years and every other year we are either here with my family, or in Portland with his.  This year is his year.  So I’ll be looking into flights today.  Also, I’ve set myself a target of finishing up gathering together my favorite birthday trees.  I’m going to bet there is also a dog walk on the to-do list, too.

The weather today is overcast, and the heat has passed, for now, which I’m grateful for.  Our house didn’t cool off last night!  Anyway, I hope you all have a great Monday and had a very enjoyable weekend!

Chocolate Chew Cookies aka “Crack Cookies” + Weekend Round-up

Happy Sunday!

Well, I’m just dragging today.  I don’t know if it is because the sun hasn’t come out yet, or if it’s because I just didn’t sleep well last night.  I was plagued with nightmares.  I woke up trying to scream but couldn’t.  I kept feeling like someone was in the room, but I *knew* better, but in my half asleep state… I think this really helped make the nightmares more potent.  Ah well.  Nothing a little coffee can’t fix! 🙂

I did bag out on my run this morning and opted to nibble on a cookie and a tofu dog thingy for breakfast.  It was the closest thing to eating an egg.  Yes, Jessica math goes like this:  1 cookie + 1 tofu dog = 1 egg

Do not try this ratio in baking.  😉

Okay, I’ll start with the fun, and as promised, here is the cookie recipe!  When I was younger, I called these cookies “chocolate crack cookies” because they are addictive, like crack! So p.c. of me, I know.  Plus, they tend to get a lovely crackle top on them, so if you are more comfortable thinking of them in this light, then run free with your bad self!  My mom is going to kill me when she finds out I’ve posted this–she’s a recipe hoarder. lol She don’t share with no one! But I’m a fan of spreading the wealth and sharing the good stuff.  Why keep it all for me?  I’m pretty sure that once I share this blog, she’ll read this, and never share another recipe with me again.  Little does she know that like the secret pirate ninja I be, I sneaked in and took photos of all the recipes I really like and use often, so they are handy-dandy on my phone.  Heh heh heh!  😉  ….besides, Mom, this recipe has been modified from its original version to be vegan-good!

Chocolate Chew (Crack) Cookies – Vegan

Ingredients:

2 Heaping Cups Vegan Chocolate Chips Melted (I like the semi-sweet vegan ones from Wholefoods)

3/4 Cups Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (at Room Temp.)

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

3 Eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed and ready to go)

3 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp. Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Use a double boiler and melt the chocolate, slowly, on a low heat, checking often.  I do find that vegan chips are a little more fussy when they melt and are prone to burning–you know, getting crumbly and not melting right.  This could also be that I’m just impatient.  lol  Once nicely melted, set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients, sift or mix together, set aside.  Beat “butter” until creamy.  Add sugar, whip until smooth and fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat again until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the egg replacer and keep beating.  I did find that this mixture did whip up and behave fairly similarly to how non-vegan dough acts/looks at this point, which gave me hope.  Add in melted chocolate, combine nicely, then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Form balls, roll in sugar, the bake!  No time in the fridge needed for this dough!  If you find that the dough doesn’t want to combine toward the end, add a few drops of water (literally, it doesn’t take much) to the remaining dough.

Photos!

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Here is the dough, ready to bake.

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I ran out of granulated sugar!  Can you believe that?  Well, powdered sugar will work, too!  I also got creative and used coconut sugar on some of the dough balls, just to see how that would turn out.

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My little coconut sugar minions of goodness, in baking formation.

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Oh yeah.  Eat your heart out. 🙂  Note the “cracked” top?  Crack cookies, baby.  Not crack baby cookies.  That’d be wrong.

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Here’s the loot!  This recipe made 29 medium-sized cookies and 11 lil’ babies for tasting.  This recipe was modified from the original and the amounts cut in half so that I could use a hand mixer–if you want a ton of these cookies, double the recipe and use a free-standing mixer as my little handheld could barely mix in the flour.  Plus, until I checked how these would turn out, I didn’t want to commit to that much potential waste.

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Money Shot!  So. Chewy.  🙂  Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes and let cool for a few on your baking sheet before transferring onto a cooling rack or paper towels.

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In a bag and ready to go!  I attached a little note to each–one said, “Welcome Doo-Doo!” and the other said, “Welcome Son of Doo-Doo!”  🙂  I think I’m funny!

Anyway, I heard that the cookies were well enjoyed by all.  The coconut sugar did turn out and was tasty.  I’d also say that if you are a chocaholic, you could drizzle chocolate on top of the cookies or dip in melted chocolate instead of using sugar.  These would also be great cookies for an ice cream sandwich or if they stick around too long a get a bit stale (doubt that would happen, but in this unlikely event) you could smash up and use for a cookie crust for a pie of some kind.

So today’s agenda boasts several notable things!

1.  I’ve handed off the jpgs of my book to my publisher to convert into pdf format. YAY!  What a relief!  That was holding us up so bad and was a huge source of frustration!

2.  Blog (duh, have to do that–it’s like taking a sanity pill.  I’m sure all you other writers out there feel the same way.  If you aren’t writing, you are not feeling super groovy!)

3.  BBQ at the Papa’s!  And YES I get to meet Son of Doo-Doo!  I haven’t met either of Karen’s kids.  I’m a bit nervous/excited/nervous.

4.  Hit the store to get salad fixin’s and fruit and maybe the stuff to do some guacamole.  🙂

Yes, I know I mentioned in a previous post that there are some heavy topics that I wanted to talk about, namely, sharing my publishing joy with my dad.  Basically, when I finally shared with him, he was less than excited, I suppose he was about the same as my mom?  Mild interest.  On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being no interest, and 10 being jubilant, he was at about a 2.  Oh well.  I guess it comes back to this:  If you are looking for approval, you are always looking outside yourself and having to use measures and judgments.  If you acknowledge you, you include everything, everyone, and suddenly the greatness you be can just, well, be!  So I’m really done seeking approval.  Easier said than actually done, I suppose.  I write because I love it.  I asked Nick yesterday, “Is there anything you love so much, you’d do it for free?”  He said, “Not really….I guess if the project were cool, I’d design it for free…..” I said, “Well, I love writing.  I do it for free I enjoy it so much.”  I guess it’s hard for people to relate when they haven’t experienced this kind of love.  Haha, I guess it’s like parenting?  That definitely pays crap, right? 😉

So on that “hm” note, I’ll bid you all a’do.  Make the cookies.  🙂  Eat and enjoy!  See you all later!