A Sweet Surrender to the Cookie Invasion

December 21st, 2009 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

Do you own a cookie jar? Be careful, it seems that cookie jars incite theft and invasions.

But, since the later has been condoned by two of my favourite vegan cookbook authors, Isa and Terry, I’m willing to let down the drawbridge and invite all the sweet soldiers in for a cup of tea (for dunking those battle-weary biscotti in).

Terry and Isa’s most recent literary collaboration Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, could not have entered my life at a more opportune time. I have found myself with many invitations to events where the joy of consuming vegan baked goods could be introduced to the unsuspecting masses. Armed with 100 interesting new recipes to try, has resulted in many sweet seductions for veganism.

VCIYCJ truly has something for every cookie/bar lover-from the traditional (peanut-butter crisscrosses, oatmeal raisin) to the more adventurous (chocolate chip chai spice shortbread, citrus glitters). The authors provide fantastic recipes for decadent, party-ready treats, healthier fare for those who eschew refined sweeteners and white flours, variations for impressive brownies and bars and sophisticated sweets for impressing the adult cookie monster in your life.

If you’re already families with the culinary prowess of Isa and Terry then you won’t be surprised by the spectacular results you achieve when whipping up any of the treats in this new baker’s bible. Because of my trust in their ability to create omni-amazement I prepared batches of cookies for the office, cookie exchanges, bake sales and vegan cooking demos this month. On every occassion, recipes were requested and the backhanded compliment “I can’t believe these are vegan” was uttered.

Given that it is winter and I live up in the northern latitudes, it is a terrible time of year to try and take pictures. Unless it is the weekend, I’m never home when the sun is up. Terribly depressing, I know (that’s probably why my cookie consumption has reached an all-time high). So, there were a few cookies that I baked and did not manage to grab a picture of including:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies: Simple, sweet and satisfying. They tasted exactly as expected and were quickly devoured by a hungry brood of busy children.

Chocolate Crinkles: A very festive cookie with a powdered sugar topping. They impressed the audience at vegan cooking demonstration so much that I had to stop the presentation at one point to tell the audience where to find copies of the book in Toronto (because the whispering was becoming distracting).

Here are a few that I managed to get photos of:
No-Bake Pecan Chocolates Pecan: These are the perfect treat to prepare when you only get a few minutes notice before guests arrive. They require little more than a bowl and sturdy spoon. They are really sweet and have an amazing chewy texture.
Gingerbread Biscotti: If you love ginger, like I do, then this is the holiday treat for you. It would be a lovely accompaniment to an evening cup of tea, by the fireplace (or in front of the Fireplace Channel 175). The addition of crystallized ginger increases the delicious, spicy-sweet intensity. A personal favourite.
Chocolate Chip Chai Spice Shortbread: I love this spicy variation on a classic cookie. The additional flavour complexity is perfect for impressing your friends with how delicious it is to be vegan.
Sell Your Soul Pumpkin Cookies: The intro in the book to this recipe is fantastic. The cookies…also fantastic. They have a chewy texture that makes them so much more enjoyable then the cake-like pumpkin cookies you may have come to expect. These cookie require a little forethought and about 45 minutes of stove-top time prior to baking, but for a special fall treat, they are worth the effort.
Magic Coconut Bars: Okay, these are decadent. There is no denying the amazing flavour of brown sugar, chocolate, pecans and coconut. I made a batch of these to add to my gifts this year. I know my family (the ones who eat animals a lot of the time) will eat these and will be overjoyed with the fact that veganism can mean a whole lot more than crispy kale chips.
At the moment, I’m doing my best to reduce my consumption of processed foods. For me that includes sugars and flours. So, I used the recipes from Terry and Isa to inspire some raw dessert creations as well.
Here is my raw version of the magic coconut bars. The bottom is made from almonds, dates and coconut. The middle is a cashew, coconut, agave layer. I melted down some raw cacao and added a little agave for the next layer and topped everything with some chopped pecans and shredded coconut. They are not the same as their baked counterpart but…they are amazingly satisfying.
I also made a raw version of the spiced-blueberry bars from VCIYCJ. I used left-over nut pulp mixed with dates and the spices for the crust and topping. The blueberries were tossed with a little agave. The result was pretty good but I think this recipe could still be improved. I’m sure the baked-vegan version is already glorious!
So, I hope you all thank Isa and Terry for an especially delicious holiday season.
If you’re interested in hearing more about VCIYCJ or Terry’s upcoming book, Viva Vegan check out the podcast interview I did with her a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoy Terry. Her recipes are amazing, but her warm, generous presence is even more inspiring.

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