Thursday, December 16, 2010

Veggie Might: Last-minute Substitution - Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

This week, I planned to present you with an alternative to the Christmas cookie, as well as one of my favorite sweets: daifuku, Japanese rice balls stuffed with sweet red bean paste. Three tries ended with me covered in sticky, gelatinous goo.

Let’s just say my technique needs work.

Time was ticking when I decided to scrap the daifuku. My baker’s pantry is still pretty well stocked from Thanksgiving, so cookies seemed like the best choice for a quick and dirty replacement. I turned to the dependable and consistently marvelous How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

Bittman’s How to Cook Everything books take the guesswork out of cooking and baking by showing you how to customize recipes for any situation. If you’re a novice or by-the-book cook, you’ll feel at liberty to make substitutions to suit your tastes or pantry, and you’ll eventually gain the confidence to switch things up on your own.

One recipe reminded me of my mom and I just had to try it: Oatmeal Apple Cookies.

My mom was always trying to get me and my siblings to eat healthy snacks when the rest of our friends and classmates were eating ding dongs and zingers. Oatmeal Apple Cookies are just the kind of cookies she would have made to put in my Muppet Movie lunch box next to the carrot sticks and carob-chip trail mix.

So, at least for today, think of me as your wacky, veggie aunt, offering you whole-grain and fruit cookies when everyone else has laid out chocolate-coated, butter-infused treats rolled in nuts and dripping with icing.

I made a ton of changes, based on MB’s variation ideas and some based on my own preferences. He provides a vegan option for most of the recipes in the vegetarian cookbook, and I used his applesauce-for-egg and almond milk for cow’s milk suggestions. I also used nonhydrogenated vegan butter for dairy butter.

Here’s where I ventured out on my own: the original recipe calls for dried apples. I’m not a fan of dried fruit in general and don’t keep it around, so I took a chance and used the real thing. I also swapped granulated sugar for maple syrup. Excellent decisions all around.

The cookies are moist, sweet, and delicious. They may be a little on the soft side —no crispy edges, my favorite part of a cookie—but full of apple flavor and definitely a crowd pleaser; CB, my Roommate, and two of my officemates gave thumbs-up.

The recipe whipped up quickly too, from peeling and grating the apple to pulling the last pan out of the oven, the whole enterprise took less than 90 minutes. Oatmeal Apple Cookies would add a tasty and fast, if not entirely festive, option to the Christmas cookie rotation. And they’re much less sticky than daifuku.


If this xx tips your canoe, swim on over to:

Oatmeal Apple Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen; 2 cookies per serving

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup apple, peeled and grated (about 1 medium apple)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup soy, almond, or rice milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 375. Peel and grate apple and set aside.

2) In a large mixing bowl, cream together vegan butter, syrup, and sugar with mixer, then stir in applesauce.

3) In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, baking powder, and salt.

4) Alternately, add milk and dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture until dough is formed, mixing in a little more milk if dough is too dry.

5) Spoon out tablespoon-sized dollops of dough onto ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool for a minute or two, remove from baking sheet, and continue on a wire rack.

6) Serve with a glass of almond milk or hot tea.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price per Serving
137.3 calories, 3.8g fat, .9g fiber, 1.74g protein, $.23

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan butter: 800 calories, 88g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.96
1/2 cup maple syrup: 420 calories, 0.5g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $2.38
3/4 cup brown sugar: 628 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.43
1/4 cup apple sauce: 51.75 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber, 0g protein, $0.26
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour: 682.5 calories, 1.5g fat, 4.5g fiber, 19.5g protein, $0.32
2 cups rolled oats: 609 calories, 9g fat, 16g fiber, 22g protein, $0.24
1 cup apple: 77 calories, 0g fat, 2g fiber, 0g protein, $0.50
1/2 tsp cinnamon: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
1/4 tsp nutmeg: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
1/4 tsp clove: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
pinch of salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
2 tsp baking powder: 4 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.04
1/4 cup almond milk: 10 calories, 0.75g fat, 0.25g fiber, 0.25g protein, $0.12
1 tsp vanilla extract: 12 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.26
TOTALS: 3294.3 calories, 90.75g fat, 21.75g fiber, 41.75g protein, $5.59
PER SERVING (TOTALS/24): 137.3 calories, 3.8g fat, .9g fiber, 1.74g protein, $.23

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