Completely Board Post #15: Maple Pecan Cookies

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

It just wouldn’t be MoFo if I didn’t bake cookies.  Cookies are probably my favorite sweet, and they’re fun to share.  And while it’s not always a popular idea with a certain sister of mine, sometimes I just want a non-chocolate cookie.  These Maple Pecan Cookies from Wholly Vegan (MoFo 2012) seemed to fit the bill.

Maple Pecan Cookies Pin

From the picture, they looked soft while still a little chewy, so I decided to use the flour mixture that I use in the similarly textured Sparkled Ginger Cookies: 1.5 tsp xanthan, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup garfava flour, 3/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 cup of arrowroot. In case you haven’t read my posts on cookies before, instead of a using a sifter, just “sift” the flours through a fine mesh sieve.  Unless there’s something I’m missing, cleaning xanthan out of a sifter can’t be done.

My review of my version of these cookies is mixed.

The dough is super sticky and hard to work with (refrigerate or freeze it for a little while and lightly flour your hands and it helps).  Unlike the gluten version, this dough does need to be flattened out.  I flattened the cookies out some and still ended up with puffy, cakey cookies instead of the chewy ones.  I did flatten out a few toward the end and got closer to the cookie in the picture and closer to what I would want.  I also made them too big (only got 35 out of a double batch…oops) and had to cook about 14 minutes.  At the correct size, I think 11-12 minutes would have been perfect (longer than the original, but that usually is the case with my gluten free cookies)

Gluten Free Maple Pecan Cookies

Honestly, if cookies were always all about me, I might not bother again or would at least make them all smaller and flatter.  They were good, but they weren’t crazy good to me.  The best part was that lovely pecan half right in the center.

However, I took them to my church small group meeting and people seemed to love them. I’ve come to the conclusion that it wasn’t a failure of a cookie so much as a failure to reach my own expectations.  They haven’t become a new staple, but based on other people’s reviews, I would make these again occasionally.  So, try them…they might be right up your alley.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

Ok, it’s time for some cookies up in here.  Honestly, it’s surprising it has taken me four days.  I’ve been eyeing the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar since the day I got the book.  For some reason though, I’ve been intimidated by them, and had yet to try them.  Until now.  Why, oh why, did I put these off?

They are a little bit more labor intensive than your typical cookie.  But, they aren’t your typical cookie. They are arguably the best cookie I’ve ever made.  I sent a few with my sister to our hair stylist.  They were immediately requested (read: demanded) to be added to this year’s Christmas cookie basket.

The original version is over on The Post Punk Kitchen blog, but here is my gluten-free version.  They look a bit different, but they are still pb/chocolate perfection.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows | Veg-am

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

(makes 2 dozen)

Chocolate dough:

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar (I used turbinado, but any sugar should work)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Arrowroot
  • 1 Tbsp Tapioca Starch
  • ¾ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • ¾ cup creamy salted peanut butter (I used the no-stir Skippy Natural)
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl combine oil, sugar, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla extract and mix with a fork until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Using a fine mesh sieve, “sift”  in flours, xanthan, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. (don’t use a real sifter – they’re nearly impossible to clean once they’ve had xanthan in them).  Mix to form a moist dough.  As with a lot of gluten free cookie doughs, this will probably be a bit stickier than what you’d expect from a traditional cookie dough.  If you add flour to the expected consistency, you will end up with a dry, crumbly finished product.  To make it easier to work with, refrigerate the chocolate dough while making the filling.

Make the filling: In another mixing bowl beat together peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is too dry (as different peanut butters have different moisture content), stir in another tablespoon of almond milk. If dough is too wet knead in a little extra powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking 2 sheets with parchment paper.

Shape the cookies. Create the centers of the cookies by rolling the peanut butter dough into 24 balls. To keep the chocolate dough as cold as possible, only pull out about a quarter of it at a time.  Working on waxed paper,  using a generous tablespoon of chocolate dough, flatten into a disc and place a peanut butter ball in the center. Fold the sides of the chocolate dough up and around the peanut butter center and roll the chocolate ball into an smooth ball between your palms. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and repeat with remaining dough.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows | Veg-am

Flatten the cookies a little (This was an optional step in the original recipe, but I found that it gave me a better distribution of peanut butter in the gf version. I did try it both ways.)

Place dough balls on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart, and flatten the cookies a little (this was an optional step in the original recipe, but I found that it gave me a better distribution of peanut butter in the gf version)

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows | Veg-am

Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove sheet from oven and let cookies for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to complete cooling. Store cookies in tightly covered container.

I’m not usually a big fan of warm baked goods, but these are super good while still warm.  They are also good at room temperature.  And frozen.

If you like your cookies warm, the original recipe says they’ll heat in the microwave in about 10 seconds.  I haven’t tried it, but it sounds about right.

Warm cookies.  Cold almond milk.  You’re welcome :)



Classics are Classics for a Reason: Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the tv world, the classics are in re-runs. Really…what could be better than Wally borrowing the Beav’s “turtle dirt” to make it look like they had taken a bath?

Today has just been one of those days.  I had three different options of what I wanted to post today (which means you get at least 3 more classics when I get them done) and none of them worked out for today.

So in true classic style,  I’m going to do a re-run from 2008.  It’s one of the few things I made in 2008 that I haven’t really changed.  They are a staple in my party attendance, party hosting and Christmas cookie baskets.  Besides, what discussion of food classics would be complete without a chocolate chip cookie?

For the last couple months I’ve been desperate for a good chocolate chip cookie. It’s not that chocolate chip cookies are really a need, but when you haven’t had one in over a year, it surely seems that way. I finally found a recipe I thought I could work from! The 
original recipe was posted by Isa on the ppk

I deglutenized and changed a couple other things to meet my needs/preferemces. I usually have to try a recipe a couple times before I get the flour substitution just right, but I hit a winner first time with this one. My friend Sherry is often very hesitant about trying my cooking for fear that I will make her try something weird. When she tried these, she told me she didn’t really care what was in them and not to change a thing. Then she packed up a few and took them home.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about two dozen two inch cookies (I actually got 21)

Flour mixture:
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup garfava (garbanzo and fava bean) flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/4 cup arrowroot
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened rice milk
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chips – they are vegan and soy/gluten free)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two large metal baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour mixture with a whisk or a fork. Be sure to combine them really well so the xanthan will be evenly mixed through. Set aside.

Mix together sugar, oil, milk and 1 Tbsp tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel. There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.

Add 1 cup of the flour mixture, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough is a little sticky, so you’ll probably have to use your hands to get the chips really mixed in. For most of the cookies I’ve made, the gluten free version is much different from a “regular” cookie dough (less stiff, gooey-er) — they will still work.

For about 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes* until they are just a little browned around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

The only little tweak I’ve made since 2008, is that now  I flatten them a little before they bake.  It’s more of an aesthetic thing, so it’s not necessary, but they look more like a classic chocolate chip cookie and less like a little pillow. 

Remember the Kids (with vanilla wafers)

Entertaining Thought #6:

If you’re having a party that involves littles (like that Christmas open house or that family reunion), don’t forget that their tastes may be totally different from yours. Rather than focus completely on grown up fare, remember to give the kids something they’re familiar with.  It’s more comfortable for them and better for your cooking ego.

One of my favorites growing up was vanilla wafers.  Here’s a gluten-free, vegan version.(using Alton Brown’s recipe as a guide) You can serve them straight up, or make minis (reduce the cooking time) and make little peanut butter sandwiches.

Vanilla Wafers

Makes approximately 34 cookies

1 cup sorghum flour
6 Tbsp tapioca flour, divided
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup soy-free Earth Balance
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3 Tbsp almond milk
1-1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract  (yes, that’s TABLEspoon)

Using a fine mesh sieve, sift together the sorghum flour, 5 tbsp of the tapioca flour, xanthan gum and baking powder.  Set aside.

Cream the earth balance and sugar using a hand mixer on high speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp tapioca flour and the almond milk.  Continuing to scrape down sides as necessary, beat on high for about 1 minute until it is well blended and looks creamy (sugar granules are ok).

Add the vanilla extract and blend on low for about 15 seconds until well incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated.

Chill mixture for about 30 minutes.

While mixture is chilling, line 2 pans with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F

After chilling, roll dough into equal sized balls (about 1/2 Tbsp each), place on parchment paper and flatten with the palm of your hand.

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Bring on the kids!

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #4: Banana Nut Bread Cookies

You thought I still wasn’t going to post these, didn’t you? Actually, my Saturday has been chock full. I got the pleasure of celebrating the big 5th birthday of the ever-adorable Livi. Her equally adorable mommy (Sarah from I’m Vegan and No I’m not Starving) spoiled me by making gluten free/soy free pumpkin cookies, a hummus & veg plate and a fruit plate. And her Daddy, who probably wouldn’t appreciate being called adorable, even put forth the effort to go find some soy-free chocolate coconut-milk ice cream! BTW, if you saw Sarah’s post yesterday both her rainbow cupcakes and her fondant were amazing! But now I am back home and ready to post…
After 2 tries trying to make these agave sweetened and ending up with less than stellar-results, I went back to my old standard: turbinado sugar. This version was a hit with family and friends that tried them. Some game night friends were very happy to have some left behind for this morning’s breakfast. After I offered to leave some, I found out that one friend was prepared to request (read: nearly demand) just that. The cookies went especially well with a nice dark cup of French Roast Coffee (Thanks, H, for being a great barista!)

These are not your typical cookie. You’re going to think the batter is too thin to give you a decent cookie. But they have a nice banana nut bread consistency with a little crispy edge, almost like a thin muffin top.

And, as a bonus for you xanthan gum haters, there isn’t any!! Bananas are a great binder so I didn’t need it to keep the cookies from falling apart. Without further adieu, I finally present to you…

Banana Nut Bread CookiesMakes approx 3 Dozen

Ingredients:Group 1

1/4 cup rice milk (I used unsweetened, double check that it’s gluten free – some brands use barley)
1/2 cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup turbinado sugar
Group 2
3/4 cup garfava flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Other: 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (this is one case where the paper is probably necessary. Because it’s a thin batter, I think it would really stick).
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients from group one with a wooden spoon until well combined. Don’t overmix and don’t use beaters, it will make the combination of bananas and arrowroot really gummy.
Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the ingredients in group 2 into the banana mixture. Sift in about half, mix with a wooden spoon, sift in the other half, mix with a wooden spoon.  Fold in the walnut pieces.
Drop the dough (really more like batter) onto the parchment paper by rounded measuring tablespoon. Leave at least 2 inches of room for them to spread. I found that it worked better to put 9 on the pan at a time than my usual 12. When I tried 12, I ended up with conjoined cookies both times.
Bake until golden brown and the edges are just a little darker than golden, about 16 minutes. Leave on the pan for 5 minutes after removing from oven. Place on wire rack to cool completely.
Voila! Banana nut bread taste in a convenient cookie form!
Personally, I don’t eat my baked goods warm. But if you roll that way, I have the sneaking suspicion that these would be good warmed and topped with a little soy-free Earth Balance.
As always, if you have any questions about the directions, feel free to ask. And if you try them, report back and let me know what you think!
Tomorrow, for the last banana post, we’re moving back into savory territory :)

Taking the Day Off & An Oldie but A Goodie…

Here it is – halfway through the Vegan Month of Food! On one hand, it’s hard to believe that it’s gone so fast. On the other hand, in order to keep having fun, I want the day off from cooking! But I made a commitment to post every day, so I’m going to do my best to post every day.
While I was at the salon today getting a much needed haircut, it struck me exactly what I should post for my day off. One of the employees put in her “order” for Christmas cookies. It’s only October! But she didn’t want to miss saying something before my planning began. I take in a cookie basket every year. Apparently last year I didn’t make the Sparkled Ginger Cookies. (Well, I did make them…because I had plenty. I just didn’t put any in the give-away baskets.)
I’m pretty sure these were the first cookies I successfully deglutenized. Keep in mind that these ARE gluten free and the people I give cookies to are not. Yet, they are requested by friends and family a lot.
When I originally posted these, I think I had about 4 regular readers. It wasn’t during mofo or anything. So I’m guessing most people never saw this post of my gluten free version of Vegan With A Vengeance’s Sparkled Ginger Cookies. Here ya go…


Sparkled Ginger Cookies (repost from December 2008)

The original recipe came from Vegan with a Vengeance. Isa Moskowitz has graciously granted me permission to post the whole recipe here with my substitutions.

4 TBS turbinado sugar (reserved for top of cookies)

Flour mixture:
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup garfava flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/2 cup arrowroot

1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (the original recipe doesn’t specify blackstrap, but I love the cookies dark and rich)

1/4 cup rice milk
1 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Place the 4 tbsp turbinado sugar in a small plate or bowl.

Sift together the flour mixture, baking soda, salt and spices. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, rice milk, cup of turbinado sugar and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well. Roll into 1-inch balls, flatten into a 1-1/2 inch diameter disk, press the cookie tops in to the reserved turbinado sugar and place 1 inch apart sugar side up on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, let cool on c

ookies sheets for 3 to 5 minutes, transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy the perfect holiday cookie!

By the way, at some point this month, I’ll double up so you get all 6 foods all 5 ways.

1 food 5 ways, Cashews, Way #5: Cashew-Apricot Shortbread

Take a look at this picture.

Do you know what it is? My first cookie recipe! Yep. I’ve deglutenized lots of other people’s cookies. But this is the first cookie I’ve made with my own “flavor profile”. (I did learn the general ratios of shortbread from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar’s Choc-chip Chai Shortbread…you can use the same flour ratios here to deglutenize those…yum!)
The best description I can come up with for that flavor profile is Turkish…Not quite Mediterranean…not quite European, but a nice blend of the two. They look like a hard, crunchy biscotti. But they aren’t. They are delicate, lightly sweet, perfectly buttery and have the tiniest hint of lemon and spice. But they still pair just right with a cup of black coffee or even mint tea.
Oh wait, you want a recipe? Well, here ya go.
Cashew-Apricot Shortbread Cookies (yields about 28)

Group 1:

1/2 cup vegan shortening (Like Spectrum)
1/2 cup soy-free vegan margarine (like Soy-free Earth Balance – if you’re not soy free, this doesn’t have to be)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tsp lemon zest
Group 2:
1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup garfava flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Group 3:
1/2 cup chopped roasted cashews
1/4 cup chopped dried apricot

Preheat oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and margarine with electric beaters until smooth. Add the rest of Group 1 ingredients and beat until creamy.
Over the bowl, put the ingredients for group 2 in a large wire-mesh strainer and “sift” half of the mixture into the bowl with the shortening mixture. You can do this by shaking the strainer, tapping the side of it, or “stirring” the ingredients inside of the strainer with your finger. Once 1/2 the flour/spice mixture is in the bowl, mix well with a wood
en spoon (don’t use beaters). Add the remaining flour/spice mixture and mix into a thick, smooth dough. You might need to use your hands at this point. (You could use a real sifter, but those are a pain to clean once it’s had xanthan in it. I find the strainer much easier. In fact, once after I had xanthan in a sifter I just ended up throwing away because it was all gummy inside)
Add the cashews and apricots. Mix with your hands until evenly distributed.
Divide the dough in two equal portions and make logs about 1/2″ thick (mine ended up being approximately 3.5×7). Wax paper is a good surface for this.
With a thin knife, slice logs into slices about 1/2″ thick and place them on the baking sheet. If the blade of your knife is wide enough and you’re careful, you can use the knife blade to transfer them to the sheet (that’s how I do it), otherwise use a thin metal spatula. If they crumble in the slicing you can just press the pieces back into the cookie.
Bake for 12-14 mins until edges are golden brown. Leave on cookie sheet for 5 minutes to cool. If you try to remove them from the sheet immediately from the oven, the WILL fall apart. Believe me, I tried. After the five minutes, move the cookies to wire cooling racks until fully cool.
Now start brewing the coffee…
I hope you enjoy these as much as I and the people who tested them for me did. The only negative reactions I got were from a couple children under the age of ten who live by the chocolate chip/oatmeal raisin only rule. And, after all, these are a little bit of a grown-up cookie. Even my dad, who thinks chocolate should be in everything, said that he really liked them. If/when you try them, please report back and let me know how they go.

Playing catch up: "Splurge" Saturday

This is my first “splurge” post for Vegan MoFo. Let me warn you now that I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if every one revolved around some kind of frozen dessert. I’m crazy over “ice cream.” When you’re a soy free vegan, there aren’t a ton of options, but thankfully some of the ones that are available here in the US are REALLY good. One such option, as mentioned in an earlier post, is Coconut Bliss and I used it to its full potential in this splurge.
First of all let me apologize for the less than stellar picture. It was dark outside when I got this little gem out of the freezer. And I wasn’t about to wait to eat it until tomorrow. Now moving on to the good stuff…

Ginger-coconut Cookiewich:
1/4 cup naked coconut variety of Coconut Bliss

Put the Coconut Bliss between the two cookies and wrap tightly (I used press and seal, but regular plastic wrap would probably work just fine). Freeze for at least one hour. Take it out, unwrap it and try to make it last for as many bites as possible. The last bite will make you a little sad.

Point value: 8

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