When I was in high school I used to bake cookies all the time and on a whim. While I had the house to myself I would whip up a batch before everyone got home and surprise everyone with the gooeyness. Now that I am older, I have been looking for healthier ways to bake. Most recipes call for lots of eggs, butter, and milk which adds up to be a lot of cholesterol. I felt pretty bummed that I couldn't think of a healthier alternative, until Chris came home one day with a book called "The Joy of Vegan Baking"! To be up front, it took me about a year to actually make something from the book. Better later than never, right?
The first thing I decided to make were their Peanut Butter Cookies. It is pretty simple and the cookies come out all soft and plump.
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking soda(I used baking powder)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer(equivalent of 1 egg & you can find it in your local grocery store in the organic baking section)
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup natural peanut butter(I used smooth the 1st time, but you can use crunchy as well)
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter(I used Earth Balance)
3 tablespoons nondairy milk(I used my local store's soy brand)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
You will want to first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and put parchment paper on 3 cookie sheets if they aren't non-stick. I only had 2 non-stick pans, so I rotated them during baking time.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Before moving on to mixing the wet ingredients, you will want to set aside the small bowl of dry ingredients and prepare the egg replacer. In a cereal bowl, mix the water and egg replacer together with a whisk until thick and creamy. The original directions said to use a blender, but it is such a small amount that it didn't really work when I tried it. Whisking it quickly in a bowl works just fine.
Next, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, milk, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat everything at a medium speed with an electric hand mixer until it is well blended. Sorry folks, I don't have a Kitchen Aide. Add the egg replacer and beat till just blended. Then add the flour mixture from the small bowl.
Now take about a spoonful of the mixture into your hands and roll into a ball. I placed them evenly on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and then flattened them with the traditional criss-cross pattern with a fork.
Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. The book explains that you can bake them until they are lightly browned. This threw me off at first because I was expecting the edges of the bottom to brown, but nope. I waited too long and ended up with over-baked cookies the first time I tried. Keep it at 12 minutes max and pull them out. Set them on the stovetop, still on the cookie sheet, so they can bake a little more from the heat of the pan. Once you let them cool for 5 minutes, you can put them on a towel or a cookie rack.
The recipe says it serves 2 dozen, but I am generous in my cookie sizes so it came out to be less. Serve them warm, with a glass of milk of your choice, then eat responsibly!