Veguary 3rd: Sexy Red-Hot Shortbreads


Sexy Red-Hot Shortbreads

Of course I spent my work-free snow day baking, what a silly question to ask.

This is my own recipe, but it is heavily inspired by Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.  I have no words that are sufficient to describe this book’s awesomeness.  I can only offer this video as a rough equivalent.

Red Hots

I tried to make a cookie with a flavor profile similar to Red Hots candy, without all the sickliness of red-dye overload that comes after eating 100 of those frickers… because we’ve all been there.  Admit it.

Accordingly, this cookie makes a great addition to your Valentine’s Day plans.  Just add sparkling wine and your favorite human.

Sexy Red-Hot Shortbreads
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

For the topping:

1/2 cup turbino sugar
2 tablespoons pink or red decorator sugar
2 tablespoons coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg

For the cookies:

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (Earth Balance brand comes in helpful pre-measured blocks)
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (same as above – EB all the way)
3/4 cup powered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1&1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a shallow, wine-mouth bowl, mix together the topping ingredients.   Set aside.

Using an stand mixer, cream together the shortening and margarine.  Slowly add powered sugar and extracts.  Beat until fluffy and smooth.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together flours, spices, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to creamed ingredients.

Start pre-heating oven to 350F.

Divide the dough in two.  Form each portion into logs, roughly 15 cm by 5 cm (6 inches by 2 inches). Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1 cm (3/8 inch) thick slices. Gently press one side of the cookie into the topping.  Place the cookies topping side up on the cookie sheet at least 5 cm apart – you should be able to fit one dozen cookies on an average-sized cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until puffed, firm and slightly brown on the bottom. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

From Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

This post is for all of you readers with rugrats as it is a surefire way to become parent of the century.  This is because the recipe clearly states that you can have these cookies for breakfast.  “Cookies for breakfast?” You say?  “That’s unpossible!” You say?  The book says nay, not unpossible, and I have to agree.

The difference between right out of the oven and a few hours later is massive.  Immediately out of the oven they are perfection, a few hours later they are hard, but still chewy in the centre – so not ruined – but only a shadow of their former selves.

Be warned, if I ever sit on your kids, then I am serving these for breaky.  Just try and satisfy them with toast after that.

Co-worker (non-vegan) rating: 3 photocopiers out of five (they tried them cold, so it really wasn’t a fair fight)

Hubby (fellow vegan) rating: 4 film reels out of five

Skill Level: easy

Ingredient weirdness rating: low, you should be able to find everything you need at your local.

Overall HHH rating: 3.5 ankle biters out of five.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

From Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romer

These cookies are listed in the “Fancy” section of the book, but this can’t be due to appearance.  These cookies sit on the plate looking very unassuming.  It isn’t until you’ve taken a bite that you discover why they are fancy.  Hidden inside a layer of chocolate cookie is a center of peanut butter goodness.  Yum.

The recipe calls for a small amount of black cocoa powder, which you can substitute with more regular cocoa powder.  Black cocoa powder is still elusive to the HHH, so I used more regular, but I am left wondering if that extra chocolate kick might have pushed this cookie into awesomeness.

The center is tasty enough, but I wanted it more icing-y.  Next time I will add more icing sugar.

The cookie is best eaten straight off the baking sheet.  For a New Year’s Eve gathering I brought a dozen of these cookies to my friend’s house raw and ready to bake, so we could all enjoy them at their best.  I had one, their dog managed to swindle two, and hubby and my friend split what was left.  Her husband abstained stating “if I have one, I’ll have ten”.

Friend (non-vegan, but occasional vegetarian) rating: 5 pink wigs out of five

Hubby (fellow vegan) rating: 4 film reels out of five

Max (the beagle) rating: 5 possible stomach pumps out of five

Skill level: moderate, the two layers make this recipe a better choice for someone who has had some kitchen experience

Ingredient weirdness rating: low, except for the black cocoa, you should be able to find what you need at your local

Overall HHH rating: 3.5 Dick Clark’s out of five

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

From Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

These cookies are beautiful to look at and they taste as good as they look.   That’s the pickup line I would use on them: “I bet you taste as good as you look” and it would work because it is true…but I digress.

The recipe calls for both chocolate and vanilla extract, but states you can just use more vanilla, which I had to do.  The hardest part was keeping focused through rolling 24 balls and then pressing them into cinnamon & sugar. The secret ingredient is cayenne powder, which leaves a delightful heat and spice in your mouth after you taste sweet, but not-too-sweet, chocolate.

I made these cookies on the night before I went back to work after New Years.  The next day I wanted them out. of. my. house. or I was in danger of continuing the over-eating fest well into 2011, so I brought them into work and forced them on my equally overfed co-workers.   The forcing didn’t continue after the first bite.  I felt like a crack dealer and I was giving the first hit for free.

The texture is one of this cookie’s best features.  As a co-worker stated: “the mix of crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside makes them like, ‘open a cookie shop’ good.’”

Co-worker (non-vegan) rating: 5 photocopiers out of five

Hubby (fellow vegan) rating: 5 film reels out of five

Skill Level: easy, although preparing the individual cookies for rolling in sugar does require some stick-to-it-ness.

Ingredient weirdness rating: low, you should be able to find everything you need at your local.

Overall HHH rating: 5 Day of the Dead celebrations out of five.