Although my favorite way to cook is by toiling before a hot stove in anticipation of savory concoctions to delight my belly, sometimes I just want to bake. That was how I first delved into any sort of food preparation--memories of which are mostly associated with classic childhood treats, such as cupcakes and cookies. I've always had soft spots for both, but particularly for the latter, perhaps because of the ubiquitousness, portability, and versatility of cookies; they come in myriad shapes and flavors, can contain a huge array of add-ins, sandwich various types of fillings, even adorn other sweets (i.e., doll up ice cream, act as a pie crust). Sure, the current cupcake craze has proven that cupcakes are just as unique and customizable as cookies--and I do occasionally enjoy them, with help in large part from the adorable and deliciousness-filled Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World--but they won't ever replace cookies as my baked good of choice.
Having loads of vegan cookie recipes at my fingertips tends to make narrowing down my baking decisions somewhat difficult. That recurrent task became even more difficult after I snagged a copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, which boasts so many amazing-sounding cookie recipes to add to the others I've come across elsewhere, I don't know when I'll ever get through trying all of them. Fortunately, no one seems to protest when I decide to bake cookies, and certainly unsuspecting friends always appreciate care packages filled with tasty, homemade morsels. The intended gifting of them always seems reason enough for devoting some time to a quick spell in the kitchen, which was exactly the case earlier this week. I put Vegan Cookies to use, baking from two different recipes--one I had not yet attempted, the other a tried-and-true favorite.
My first batch came in the form of Pignoli Almond Cookies. I love nutty foods, so these nut-packed gems sounded perfectly appealing. And these Italian-inspired cookies brim with nuttiness; the triple hit of whole pignoli (pine nuts), almond paste, and almond extract make for sweet, buttery treats with both chewiness and crunch. Although I followed the recipe exactly as written, the cookies still didn't turn out as expected, spreading and flattening into soft, somewhat delicate discs, unlike the firmer-looking, mounded cookies pictured in the book. I worried the cookies wouldn't hold up through the shipping process. Fragility aside, they were at least delectable--an opinion already echoed by one care package recipient.
For my second batch, I baked Minonos, those wonderfully homemade, vegan facsimiles of the well-known, non-vegan Milano cookies. I also followed the recipe to the letter here, fortunately yielding a batch of well-formed, chocolate-kissed goodies. Normally, semisweet chocolate chips provide that ever-important glue binding each pair of cookies, but I actually had enough bittersweet chocolate available to do them up right this time (the authors suggest bittersweet chocolate for achieving a more "authentic" taste). While I fell in love with these cookies upon first baking them (with semisweet chocolate), I enjoyed them even more with the bittersweet chocolate. The cookies also seemed sturdy enough for travel, following a coffee dunk test. Yum.
So, my dear readers, I'd love to know: What are some of your favorite cookie recipes? If you've baked from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, which of the recipes do you recommend?