Tuesday, February 01, 2011

VEGANIZE IT | Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Sandwich Cookies

The Whole Foods market near my family's home sells these amazing, vegan oatmeal raisin cookies filled with buttercream frosting — whenever I'm home I have at least one (and eat it all in one sitting). I was craving one of those amazing cookies over the weekend, so I figured I'd try making some of my own.

I came across a great Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from Smitten Kitchen, veganized it, added some extra spice and omitted the walnuts. I kept it simple with the frosting and whipped up an adaptation of Isa and Terry's Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

A note for those omnivorous readers who aren't quite ready to give pure vegetarian baking a try: these cookies are easy to de-veganize. Just use real butter instead of Earth Balance, use one large egg instead of the flax meal/water mixture listed below, and butter and cow's milk in the frosting... Or you could make a special trip to your local Whole Foods, pick up some Earth Balance, some golden flax meal and some almond milk, and start baking the pure veg way. You won't even know the difference in the finished cookies!



For the Cookies
1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened (recommended: soy free)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons golden flax meal
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins

For the Frosting
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (recommended: nonhydrogenated - Earth Balance shortening)
1/4 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

To start: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, beat the flax meal and water together with a fork or wire whisk until gelatinous and gooey, similar to egg whites; set aside.

Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, flax/water mixture and vanilla with a wooden spoon until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Stir the dry mixture into the Earth Balance/sugar mixture. Fold in the oats and raisins.

Bake the cookies: Spoon out batter (about one large spoonful makes regular sized cookies and you should get roughly 2 dozen) and drop two inches apart on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

In the meantime, make the frosting: Beat the shortening and Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread together with a handheld mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and almond milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Build the sandwich cookies: Once the cookies have cooled completely, pair them together. Flip one cookie in each pair so the bottom is facing up, and frost it generously with your frosting. Top with the other cookie. Do this for each pair of cookies. You should end up with about a dozen cookie sandwiches.

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