Saturday, October 22, 2011

Megan's Signature Vegan Whole Wheat Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This is THE oatmeal cookie recipe. 

I found this gem in the first cookbook I ever purchased, New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.  Back in my days of yore.  Me and these cookies go waaaaay back.  Before I learned to cook.  This was the first recipe I was ever great at, my sometimes only source of pride and confidence during many years of uncertainty.

These cookies have been mailed across the country, given as gifts, taken to potlucks, been frozen in 'bulk', been eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and anything in between, been camping, provided travel food for road trips and cross-country flights, been taken to work for ingratiation, followed several Thanksgiving dinners, been baked just to cheer me up, served as a Victory Cookie when I was already happy...probably more. 

These cookies make at least one person you share them with glow visibly with pleasure.  You can almost see exclamation points in their eyes.  These cookies will make you popular and loved.  These cookies will be a comfort to you when nothing else will.  These cookies....these cookies....these are my faaaaaavorite cookies. 

First I will give you my personalized adaptation of this recipe, with comments about variations.  And I'll include the original recipe as well, since that's where it all began.

Megan's Signature Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup really good butter or your favorite margarine (mine is Earth Balance Buttery Sticks), softened, and room temperature or warm if your room is cold
2/3 cup safflower or sunflower oil (for food-activism reasons, I never use soybean or canola oil)
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 cups demerara sugar (like white sugar, but not as processed/white/refined)
1 cup hemp milk (hemp milk is my favorite vegan milk - thick, creamy, non-GMO. Or organic soymilk. Or even just water)
4 tsp vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
at least 1 Tbsp cinnamon 
a dash of ground cloves
at least 5 cups rolled oats (more or less as it suits you)
dark chocolate chips (add some, mix well and see if you want to add more)
coarsely chopped hazelnuts (add some, mix well and see if you want to add more)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Begin to soften the butter/Earth Balance the best way you know how.  I will not tell you how I soften butter.
3. Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Mix well and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, measure the cups of brown sugar into the bowl keeping the shape of the measuring cup.  Pour the 'white' sugar over the brown sugar.  Set aside.

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter/Earth Balance sticks and oil together BY HAND.  I like to use my bamboo rice spoon to help break up any less than warm chunks of butter by slowly smashing them against the sides of the bowl.  Mix very very well.
2. Grab the bowl of sugar and combine the sugars with your fingers.  (That's my favorite part).
2.5 Cream the butter/oil mix with the sugars, combining until the mix is uniform, smooth and sandy.
3. Add hemp milk and vanilla and mix BY HAND until smooth.

4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing as you go.
5. Add oats and mix well.
6. At this point, you might need to add more hemp milk. The dough should be just on the verge of being a little too wet.

6. Add as much chocolate chips and hazelnuts as you want and some bad grammar too.

1. Eat some cookie dough! (No eggs, no worries!).
2. Portion onto an ungreased cookie sheet in heaping "table"spoons full (not a measuring tablespoon, but like a spoon you'd eat with).
3. Bake at 350 for 11, 12, or 13 minutes (depending on your oven).  They should be puffy and a little uncooked on top, and the bottoms should be JUST beginning to turn brown.  For these cookies, it is better to err on the side of them being under-done.  Never, ever, ever over-bake these cookies.
4. I like to bake one cookie sheet at a time, because I once had an oven that didn't circulate heat properly and I ruined a batch and cried for a long time and no matter what oven I'm using I still never bake more than one sheet at a time.  This makes making these cookies a long ordeal.  In between batches, you'll have plenty of time to play with your cat,
do the dishes, etc.
6. Cool on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
7. EAT LOTS OF COOKIES. Remember to save some for whatever you're baking them for.

The original from the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook:

1/2 cup margarine
1/3 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup soymilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cups raisins (opt)

Original Directions:
Cream margarine and oil together, then cream in the sugars. Add soymilk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix, add oats and raisins and blend well.  Bake at 350 for just about 15 minutes or until the undersides just start turning brown.


"In Joy!"

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