I'm not much of a baker; in fact, I can't remember the last time I baked a cake. I usually go for sweet treats that involve chilling, blending, and otherwise not turning on the oven. But I love cookies, especially chewy, oatmeal cookies with lots of cinnamon and raisins... a portable dose of oatmeal that's ready for spontaneous snacking! My craving for these goodies was recently awakened, when my mom bought a jumbo cookie at lunch and allowed forced me to finish it.
It was awesome. And even more awesome was the realization that the ingredient list seemed to correspond very closely to this recipe, which Crystal discovered and shared with me a few weeks ago. I tweaked it a little to achieve the spices and texture of the Alternative Baking masterpiece. This included substituting pumpkin pie spice for their cinnamon, because I love the flavor of nutmeg with raisins. I used instant oats and finely-chopped walnuts to create a smoother texture. The sugars were creamed with the sugars for several minutes in a stand mixer to create lots of little air pockets, which expand when the baking soda and powder are activated by the oven's heat. And I tried to observe the cardinal rule of baking: don't overmix the dry ingredients!
Then, it was on to the next challenge: don't overbake! I've found this to be the trickiest part of vegan baking, and it's hard for me to resist sliding the sheetpan back into the oven when the cookies look pale and a little too moist. Go ahead and take them out: they will continue baking on the pan for a minute, and will firm up on the cooling rack. You don't have to worry about undercooking these egg-less goodies!
I poured a glass of chilled hazelnut milk alongside these warm cookies. It was my first time making nut milk, and its freshness is a distinct improvement over nut milk in aseptic packaging. Plus, hazelnut milk is not as easy to find in shops, and making it at home saves a trip to Whole Foods!
Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
makes 2 dozen large cookies
- 1 cup Earth Balance, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 "eggs" (I used 3 teaspoons of Ener-G egg replacer whisked in 4 tablespoons of water)
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups instant oats
- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Add egg replacer eggs and beat until well blended.
- In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to margarine mixture until well blended.
- Stir in oats, raisins, and nuts (if using).
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drop the dough by 1/4 cupfuls and lightly flatten with fingers.
- Bake for 13 minutes and remove baking sheets from the oven. Let cookies remain on baking sheet for 2 minutes.
- Transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.
makes 6 cups
- 3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
- 6 cups drinking water
- maple syrup, up to 1/4 cup
- Add hazelnuts to bowl of water. Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
- Remove bowl from refrigerator and pour soaked nuts and liquid into Vita-Mix or similar, powerful blender. Blend according to manufacturer's instructions, up to two minutes.
- Pour nut milk through a fine sieve or two layers of cheesecloth, into a clean bowl.
- Add maple syrup by the tablespoon to achieve desired sweetness.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.