VEGETARIAN JOURNAL



Vegetarian Journal 2004 Issue 4

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

by Peggy Rynk


Recipe Index

The fragrance of homemade cookies just out of the oven or the sight of a freshly filled cookie jar is enough to bring joy to the hearts of both children and adults. And munching on them while they’re still warm is a pure delight.

Cookies come in great varieties, and most are easy to make. They can be crisp or chewy, soft or firm, moist or crumbly. Most of us have our favorites, too, whether they’re chocolate chip, peanut butter, lemon, or another kind entirely. Most cookies are a welcome dessert or snack, pack easily into lunch boxes and knapsacks, and look beautiful piled onto a decorative plate when company comes. When my son was small, I always kept a supply of fresh, homemade cookies (along with chilled fruit juices) on hand for him to share with his friends.

When time is limited—as it often is—you can still easily make fresh cookies for yourself, your family, and your guests. Just choose a bar cookie recipe or an icebox one. Bar cookie batter can be stirred up in just a few minutes, baked for about a half-hour in most cases, then cut as soon as they cool a bit. Icebox cookie dough can be put together a day or two ahead, shaped into rolls, wrapped in plastic wrap, then chilled until you’re ready to bake them. This can be at the very last minute if you want the fragrance to waft through the house as guests arrive.

If you come across a non-vegan cookie recipe you would like to adapt, this is simple to do in most cases. Cornstarch and arrowroot powder (found in Asian and natural foods stores) both work well as egg substitutes. Use approximately 2 Tablespoons of either one for each egg the recipe calls for, and mix in with the dry ingredients. Then, add a little extra liquid—soymilk or fruit juice, for example—when adding the wet ingredients. Nonhydrogenated vegan margarines (be sure to read the label) easily replace butter.

Cookie-making leaves lots of room for creativity. Use the ingredients you like. If you prefer one extract over another—almond instead of vanilla, perhaps—use it. If a recipe calls for raisins and you prefer dried cherries, use the cherries. You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose—and vice versa—if you choose. Bread flour will also work.

When baking, you can use whatever cookie sheets and pans you have on hand. It’s helpful to know that the lighter the color of the sheets or pans, the less heat they hold—and, therefore, the more delicately browned the finished cookies will be. If you’re shopping for new cookie sheets, consider buying insulated ones and line them with parchment paper when you use them. The cookies will have beautifully golden bottoms, and you won’t have to grease the cookie sheets or the parchment paper.

Many cookies, even those that contain only two or three grams of fat each, may contain more fat than you’d like if you’re tempted to eat them by the fistful. Therefore, a good way to serve them is to place two or three on a dessert plate beside a dish of fruit sorbet or ices or chilled fresh fruit. Cookies are excellent, too, with hot tea.

Cranberry-Applesauce Bars

(Makes 20 bars)

Perfect for the holidays for both company and family.

Ingredients Measure
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon lemon or orange extract
3/4 cup soymilk

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and sugar. Stir in the cranberries.

Make a well in the center and add the oil, applesauce, extract, and soymilk. Stir to blend well.

Spread mixture evenly in a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan, and bake for about 30 minutes or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into bars.

Total calories per bar: 127 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 22 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 112 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams

Almond Sugar Cookies

(Makes 4 dozen cookies)

Delicately flavored and crisp. Guaranteed to be a hit!

Ingredients Measure
1 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, softened to room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
About 1/4 cup water
About 4 dozen shelled whole raw almonds
Additional sugar, to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the margarine, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and extract. Stir in the cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Then, blend in the flours until a soft dough forms.

Pinch off pieces of the dough and shape into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Arrange about 3 inches apart on parchment-lined insulated cookie sheets or greased regular cookie sheets. Flatten each piece slightly with the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass.

Brush each cookie lightly with about 1/4 teaspoon water, just enough to dampen. Press an almond into the center, and sprinkle with sugar, according to taste. Use a shaker or a small strainer for more even distribution, if desired. Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Total calories per cookie: 83 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 10 grams Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 79 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Maple Pecan Bars

(Makes 24 bars)

These soft, slightly chewy bars have a rich, mellow maple flavor.

Ingredients Measure
2-1/2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 pecan halves

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, blend together the maple syrup, oil, soymilk, and extract.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the maple syrup mixture. Blend well.

Pour batter into a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan. Top batter with the pecans, spacing them so that when cut into bars, each bar will have a pecan in the center. Bake for about 18 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into bars.

Total calories per bar: 133 Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 19 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 93 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Cinnamon-Chocolate Chip Bars

(Makes 24 bars)

Richly flavored, the cinnamon and chocolate complement each other well.

Ingredients Measure
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
3/4 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup soymilk
3/4 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

Method

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, soften the margarine to room temperature.

Blend in sugar and cinnamon, then the extract. Stir in the salt and baking powder, then the flours alternately with the soymilk. Begin and end with flour. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spread batter evenly in a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or just until a toothpick barely comes out clean. Cool, then cut into 24 bars.

Total calories per bar: 120 Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 17 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 125 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Gentle Ginger Cookies

(Makes 3 dozen cookies)

Soft, slightly chewy, and full-flavored.

Ingredients Measure
3/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar or any vegan sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
Additional sugar, as needed

Method

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the softened margarine, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and extract. When mixture is smooth, stir in the salt, baking powder, and cornstarch.

Blend in the flour alternately with the molasses, beginning and ending with the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chilled mixture from the refrigerator. Rolling between palms of hands, shape into balls about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in additional sugar.

Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined insulated cookie sheets or greased regular cookie sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes or just until cookies are set but still soft in the center when pressed lightly with a fingertip. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Total calories per cookie: 89 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 13 grams Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 95 milligrams Fiber: <1 gram

Banana-Raisin Spice Squares

(Makes 24 squares)

A quick, easy cookie to stir up. Perfect for lunch boxes and picnics.

Ingredients Measure
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking powder. Then, stir in the raisins.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the bananas, oil, soymilk, and extract. Blend ingredients together well, but do not beat.

Spread batter evenly in a greased 15" x 10" x 1" baking pan. Bake for about 11 minutes or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

Total calories per square: 94 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 15 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 93 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams

Soft Molasses Cookies

(Makes about 40 cookies)

These barely sweet cookies are moist and richly flavored with spices.

Ingredients Measure
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup soymilk
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
Sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.) to taste (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Blend in raisins.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, molasses, extracts, soymilk, and mashed bananas. Stir until well blended, but do not beat.

Drop cookies (about 2 teaspoons batter for each) about 2-1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined insulated cookie sheets or greased regular cookie sheets. Sprinkle sugar lightly or generously, according to taste. Bake for about 12 minutes or until cookies have set. Do not brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Total calories per cookie: 47 Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 8 grams Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 55 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Pineapple-Lemon Cookies

(Makes about 40 cookies)

Shown on cover. The pineapple-lemon flavor combination makes these soft cookies an unexpected treat.

Ingredients Measure
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted or canola oil
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the margarine or oil, extract, and sugar. Fold in the canned pineapple.

Stir in the salt and baking powder, then the flours, blending well. Do not beat.

Drop mixture by Tablespoonfuls on parchment-lined insulated cookie sheets or greased regular cookie sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes or until set. When done, cookies should be only very lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Total calories per cookie: 61 Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 10 grams Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 60 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Unbaked Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Fudgies

(Makes 4 dozen cookies)

A winning combination of chocolate and peanut butter—and easy to make, too!

Ingredients Measure
2 cups sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups rolled oats

Method

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Add the soymilk and stir until mixture is smooth. Add the margarine. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, stirring until it is melted. Blend in the oats.

Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cool. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Total calories per cookie: 92 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 13 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 44 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Whole Wheat Raisin-Nut Strips

(Makes 3 dozen cookies)

Wholesome whole wheat flavor with the sweetness of raisins and the crunch of pecans.

Ingredients Measure
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup soymilk
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup broken pecans
Additional flour, as needed

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the soymilk, then the raisins and pecans, until a dough forms.

Sprinkle a sheet of waxed paper with flour and put the dough on it. Flatten the dough out slightly with hands and dust lightly with additional flour. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper, and roll dough out to a thickness of about half an inch. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4" x 1/2" strips. Place on parchment-lined insulated cookie sheets or greased regular cookie sheets about 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms of strips are golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

Total calories per cookie: 74 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 9 grams Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 73 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Citrus Slices

(Makes about 40 cookies)

Crisp, not too sweet, delicious!

Ingredients Measure
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour

About 2 Tablespoons,
depending on how much is absorbed by the dough

soymilk

Method

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the margarine, sugar, and extracts. Stir in the salt and baking powder.

Blend in the flour, alternating with a little of the soymilk, until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough. The dough should not be too soft or too stiff.

On a clean, lightly floured counter or large cutting board, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a log 10 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, several hours or overnight. (Dough can be made 2-3 days ahead, if desired, and kept in the refrigerator, rolled into logs and wrapped, until ready to use.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove plastic wrap from dough. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Arrange 2 inches apart on parchment-lined insulated baking sheets or greased regular baking sheets. Bake for about 16 minutes or until almost (but not quite) firm to the touch when lightly pressed in the middle. Cookies should not brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Total calories per cookie: 54 Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 8 grams Protein: <1 gram
Sodium: 48 milligrams Fiber: <1 gram

Peggy Rynk is a frequent contributor to Vegetarian Journal.


Excerpts from the 2004 Issue 4:
Cookies, Cookies, Cookies
Peggy Rynk helps to sweeten up your holidays.
2004 VRG Essay Contest Winner
Learn what made one winner go vegetarian in this first installment.
An Update on the Ornish Program
Studies provide evidence that it reverses heart disease, but Ben A. Shaberman finds out if insurance companies and hospitals are getting with the program.
Healthy Asian Cuisine
Nancy Berkoff, RD, introduces the steps and ingredients necessary to make great dishes at home.
Nutrition Hotline
How can eating more black beans benefit your health?
Note from the Coordinators
Notes from the Scientific Department
Scientific Update
Veggie Bits
Vegan Cooking Tips
Leftover "Meat" Creations, by Chef Nancy Berkoff
Book Reviews

The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.



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Last Updated
Dec. 19, 2004

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