12.09.2008

tall tales, telltales


Make these now. Go ahead, do it. You won't be sorry.


Pistachio-Rose Water Cookies
makes about 34 cookies
(adapted from Veganomicon)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 c canola oil
3 Tbs soy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 Tbs rose water
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
juice from half a lime
zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 c shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (set aside in a shallow bowl or a on plate)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange shelves to divide oven into thirds.
Grease/line two cookie sheets.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
In a large bowl, using your fingers, rub the lime zest into the sugar. This really brings out the aroma and flavor of the zest. Whisk in the lime juice, soy milk, vanilla, oil and rose water. Add the cornstarch and whisk until dissolved.
Isn't this fun?
Add the dry to the wet gradually, mixing well.
Roll the dough into balls about 2 tsp in size and dip the tops into the chopped pistachios. Press down a bit, so the dough ball flattens and collects nuts.
Place the cookies, nut side up, on the cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. You should be able to fit 16 on a standard size cookie sheet.
Bake for 13 minutes, rotating from top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes.
When you take them out, they will still be soft. Place the sheets on cooling racks for 5 minutes, then transfer just the cookies to the cooling racks to continue cooling.


Okay, let's talk about this recipe. Or even the book. I checked this book out (Veganomicon, by sassy vegan ladies Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero) from the library and have been reading through it for four or five weeks. Yes, the book is overdue. I couldn't find one single recipe in this book that intrigued me enough to want to make it. I thought some of the combinations were too weird, or not weird enough. Just my opinion - I generally love the books by these authors, so maybe I'm just too familiar with their recipes already. Either way, nothing was catching my eye. But I was determined to at least make one recipe from the book, so when I spotted rose water at my grocery store, I snagged it and committed to this cookie recipe. Let me tell you, it has restored my faith in this book. I'm ready to re-read it with fresh eyes.
Cooking with so much corn starch was new for me, and I felt a bit like a mad scientist instead of a baker. I'm not sure what the cornstarch stood in for, but since it is a vegan recipe, I'm sure there's a good reason it's in there. I enjoy vegan recipes that use alternative items instead of stand-ins such as "vegan butter" or "egg replacer". I'd rather the cook just forget that route altogether and do something different. So this recipe, free of weird vegan things meant to taste like the real thing, was perfect for me. The only stand-in is soy milk, and because I accept that more readily than, say, egg replacer, I went with it.
Good thing, because these cookies are incredible. I'm already planning on making another batch on Saturday.

Then there's this. Bread pudding.

I took that picture right before I popped it into the oven. It turned out really well. Very delicious. Also a vegan recipe, so no eggs. Which means no custard, and I've never had bread pudding that didn't have custard in it, so I was curious as to how this would turn out. The soy milk mixture did not set like a custard would, but it did it's job pretty well of soaking and flavoring the bread. I think next time I'll just make regular bread pudding. This recipe, however, is easier, because you just whisk it all together. No scalding milk, no water baths.
I occasionally enjoy a fussy recipe, but most of the time I just love simple baking.

Bread Pudding
5 or 6 cups of stale bread, chopped into chunks
3 1/2 cups soy milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Toss in the bread cubes.
Whisk all other ingredients, pour over bread cubes.
Use a utensil (or your fingers) to push the bread down, making sure it all gets wet.
Throw on some raisins and almonds, or what have you. Drizzle the top with a touch of maple syrup.
Bake 40 minutes, until the bread is toasted in some parts and the pudding is set.

6 comments:

Danyell said...

Rosewater? Cardamon? I guess I'll just leave the baking to you. Although I also must share that I finally picked up Deceptively Delicious, a cookbook for sneaking your kids/husband vegetables. There's a brownie recipe with spinach and another one with beets. I gotta be honest, I'm pretty excited.

Jess said...

sneaky veggies. i love it.

Jamie Lee Condon said...

wow, these dishes are gorgeous!

Lainey Seyler said...

rosewater, i am intrigued. i've also heard of using lavendar water (or something) to cook with.

i totally agree with you on the strange vegan substitutions. tufu, fine. egg-replacer, err, no.

Jess said...

jamie - thanks!
lainey - yes, you can cook with edible lavender. i'm hoping to grow some next summer so i can experiment.

Danyell said...

Those cookies were pretty much delicious...