Pigging out. Sort of.

Hello, 2012. It’s so nice to see you. You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to meet you…I’ve been in a dysfunctional relationship with 2011, and I’m not sorry to see it go.

Like any good relationship, 2012, this one will start with cookies. I’ve been wracking my brain thinking of the best recipe with which to welcome you into my life.

There are so many cultures that welcome New Years into their lives with food…Almost always, those foods are circular (so cookies were a go). But grapes have been done (in the form of raisins); collard greens, though okay in smoothies, might have been visually unappealing; and sauerkraut? Well, I’m brave, but I’m not that brave.

And then, 2012, I remembered the New Year’s Eve I spent in Austria with one of my best friends and his family. On New Year’s day, they served us little marzipan . And that made me think of the New Year’s ham that had, in the past, graced my step family’s table (kosher we are not). And then my feeble little brain, already overtaxed with visions of sugar plums past, made the almost unimaginable leap to the cookies I made for one of my former roommates as a thank you gift  earlier in the year: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Covered Candied Bacon cookies. (Adapted from the ridiculously inspirational How Sweet It Is.)

The thought looked something like this: Bacon. Ham. Pigs……vegan? Yes.

And so, 2012, I took a risk. A leap of faith, if you will. And I ask you to take that leap of faith with me. Because, oh my god, was that little leap worth it:

I give you 100% Vegan Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter “Bacon”* Cookies!

Happy New Year!

Because it looks like bacon...

...and it smells like bacon...

...and it tastes like bacon...

...But it's 100% VEGAN!

Let’s make this relationship a good one, 2012.

Love & Cookies,

KP

*My “bacon” is a recipe adapted from Just the Foods‘s Imitation Bacon Bits and made with Textured Vegetable Protein, which is just a fancy word for defatted soy flour, or, more colloquially, soy crumbles. Sounds kind of not-yummy, I know; you’d be surprised, however, just how ridiculously tasty this fake bacon can be. I’m not a huge fan of “fake meat” when it comes to dinner; I prefer to accept that I’m not eating meat and enjoy the unique tastes of the different vegetable, nut, and legume proteins that I’m adding to my diet. But that said, this fake bacon is really, really, really good. And, somehow, it works when you throw it in a Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie.

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The Holidays Are (Mocha Coco-)Nuts!

It’s that time of the year again.

No, not the time of the year when people spend cold days cozying up with their families by the fire, opening gifts and making resolutions; the time of year when people can’t find parking in the mall parking lot at 8 am. The time of year when peace and goodwill only applies after you’ve elbow-checked at least three people while trying to find the cheapest (insert-product-you-must-own-now-here), and then yelled at the barista for making your coffee 5 degrees too cold.

Needless to say, my day job is in retail.

I don’t know if it’s a symptom of my “profession,” or just a real sea change, but the holidays don’t feel like holidays anymore.

And for those of us on the other side of the cash register, sometimes the only thing that can get us through the ultra-long holiday shifts is a little extra boost from modern American (wo)man’s best friend: caffeine.

Personally, I gave up coffee when I went vegan back in August, but I figured that my fellow coworkers might need a day-after-Christmas pick-me-up.

And so I bought espresso beans.

And covered them in chocolate.

And then, for no reason other than the fact that “Mocha Coconut” is so much fun to say, I added coconut.

Better than Snow

And thus, Vegan Mocha Coconut Cookies saved the retail Christmas. (Or at least brightened up a few of my friends’ days…)

Love & Cookies,

KP

Orange You Glad…

It’s almost Christmas, and, let’s face it: I’m sick of Christmas cookies.

Blasphemy (sort of), I know. But here’s why:

In 2007, I signed up for email newsletters from Allrecipes.com, Epicurious.com, and FoodNetwork.com. I read them for inspiration–and, before Twitter, they helped me get an idea of baking trends and seasonal flavors. And every year, come December, all three websites try to outdo themselves with suggestions for Christmas cookies.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like gingerbread. I’m not a huge fan of candy canes, but I can see their worth. Shortbread and sugar cookies will always have  a place in my heart, whether or not they’re decorated with red and green frosting or cut out to look like snowflakes. But it gets old after a while. Every year, we see variations on a theme, and every year, I yearn for something different.

And then I happened to stumble upon, as I often do while jumping from blog to blog in a quasi-ADHD fashion, a link to a blog talking about a traditionally English Christmastime treat: Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.

If you have never had a Chocolate Orange, I ask–no, I implore you to go find one, smash it on a table, eat it, and then come back and finish reading my blog. No, seriously; I’ll wait.

Done? Ok, good. Because, frankly, you’re a better person for having added that amazing-ness into your life.*

And so I had an idea: Chocolate Oranges are Christmas-y. Oranges are in season right now. Chocolate and orange taste amazing together….Why not make a Chocolate Orange Christmas cookie?

Done.

What you see next is a brief montage of citrus and chocolate-y goodness, from the candied orange peels to the divine cookie integration.

(PS, there is no “zest” in these cookies. I used an orange flavoring I found at Whole Foods–made from sunflower & food-grade orange oils–instead. There are, however, chunks of orange peel, candied in sugar and then smothered in chocolate. You’re welcome.)

Candied Chocolate-Covered Orange Peels

Yes.

 

Just...yes.

*I swear they’re not paying me to say that. Those things are just awesome.

Happy holidays.

Love & Cookies,

KP