08 February 2008

Baking for Peace

I just love it when I'm looking at one of my favourite foodblogs and I realise that I have all the ingredients to make a really tasty-looking recipe. As soon as I saw the recipe for these World Peace Cookies on Peabody's blog, I knew I had to try them out as soon as I ran out of mooless pie. I have no idea what they have to do with world peace, but when one of my classmates said he was bringing in baklava for his birthday on Wednesday and wanted to know if anyone could provide some sort of vegan treat for the lactose intolerant people in our Turkish class, I jumped at the chance to try them out.

Unfortunately, the weather was less than perfect on Wednesday. As you can see from this photo, the snow started falling Tuesday afternoon while I was making the dough and didn't stop until the next night. By Wednesday morning it had reached obnoxious blizzard status, and the University of Iowa even cancelled classes for only the third time in about ten years (but the second time this academic year). For that reason, the cookies never actually made it to my class, but I did trudge through the snow to a meeting at the clinic where I work, and the women there pronounced them "mmm!"

I pretty much followed Peabody's recipe, though there were some challenges. The first issue I had was entirely my own fault - I had recently purchased a new bag of brown sugar and a new bag of powdered sugar for when the current supplies run out, but my cabinets are very overstuffed and so they had been sitting on top of two of the rubbermaid containers I use to house my baking supplies. So that I could get to said baking supplies, I balanced them on top of the soups on the top shelf of the spices and canned goods cabinet, which is directly over the rubbermaid containers and also the bit of counterspace where I put my bowl when I'm using the electric mixer.

Well, you may be able to guess what happens next. I sifted the flour into the bowl, and all was well. Then I opened said cabinet again to get the cocoa power out, left it open, and a minute later the brown sugar kamikaze-d from the top shelf into the bowl, knocking some of the already sifted cocoa powder out, upsetting the sifter, and getting cocoa powder all over my floor, counter, the brown sugar bag, my tea strainer, and a can of oats. Oops. Anyway, I persevered and went on to the next stage, which went off without much of a hitch. Peabody's towel-over-the-mixer technique worked well for the dry ingredients. I may have mixed a little more than preferable, but I hate chunks of flour in my cookies. I stopped as soon as everything was a uniform dark brown colour, and the consistency was fairly pasty.

The dough was fairly soft, and though it wasn't too difficult to get it into the above logs, I did have to be very careful wrapping them in plastic. It might have been helpful even just to gather the dough, wrap it, and chill about fifteen minutes before shaping into logs, but I managed. After four hours of chilling, they were nice and firm. Indeed the cookies did tend to want to fall apart a bit as I chopped, but I pushed them back together with a fair amount of success. Though I didn't end up with the perfect circles Peabody managed, I think they turned out pretty nice. Note the shavings of peanut butter chip, and keep in mind that if you are chopping through chilled peanut butter chips you do need a nice sharp knife. Treat the log as you would an onion, holding it together as you go.

The best part about vegan baking, as I always say, is that you can eat the dough. And so I did. See, mom? No salmonella! Note that instead of butter, I used Country Crock. I don't know if vegans consider this vegan, but it's all vegetable oil-based. If not, you could always use Earth Balance. For the baking, I went strictly with the twelve minute time. They spread out a little, and as you can see the tops crack a bit. They won't look very done, and the peanut butter chips will be all melty. Resist the urge! Wait until they are just warm, as suggested, to eat.

The verdict? Oh, yum! I don't drink milk, but there's just something about milk and freshly baked cookies that is absolute perfection. When warm, there's just a thin crispy layer and the inside is almost cake-like. When fully cool, the cookies are uniformly soft and nice and moist, but they don't crumble too badly, which is nice. The taste is very strongly peanut butter, with just the hint of chocolate, but I love it. It makes me think of these pints of chocolate-peanut butter ice cream my roommate Kat and I used to buy, impatiently stabbing at the frozen peanut butter core with the tips of our plastic spoons as we waited for it to thaw.


Carver said...

Those look delicious and I love the idea of world peace cookies. I haven't commented on all your recent posts but I've enjoyed them.

Peabody said...

Good tips about cutting the log like an onion. So glad you had all the ingredients.

LisaRene said...

I actually prefer to eat cookie dough instead of the baked cookies :) These (and the dough) look delicious!