Archives for category: cookies

Square Granola bars

This is likely to become the simplest recipe ever published on this blog. And what more, it is vegan, healthy (no added sugar or fat) and consists of only two ingredients. If you have a smoothie maker or blender, the dough can be made in a few seconds.

Granola bars pre-oven

I have written about the benefits of bananas in pastry before. Bananas can be an excellent substitute for eggs (especially if you mash them in a blender until smooth and frothy, as done in these chocolate muffins) and are naturally very sweet. This means that you don’t have to add any sugar to the recipe. Though this recipe is – in its basic form – super-simple, easy to make and (I guess?) healthy, the cookies/bars aren’t tasteless, and the recipe can be varied indefinitely.  What about chocolate chunks or cocoa powder? Cinnamon? Apple? Cranberries?

Granola bars post-oven

Recipe adapted from this Norwegian recipe.

For 8 small cookies or bars:

1 small banana (about 90g without peel)

50g rolled oats

Optional additional ingredients; e.g. dried fruits, nuts or dark chocolate, or spices; cinnamon, vanilla, or salt. (I used 30g dried and chopped raisins and apricots, and a pinch of cinnamon.)

Set the oven to 190℃. Peel the banana mash with a fork or in a blender until it has a  smoothie-like consistency. Add the oats to the mixture and mix the two together. Add any additional ingredients, and scoop the cookies out on a sheet. Put the tray in the middle of the oven bake them until the edges look golden (about 15 minutes; the cookies are supposed to be soft and chewy). Let the cookies cool on a rack before devouring.

Notes:

– Use gluten-free oats to make gluten-free cookies.

– If you want to make granola bars, it is possible to roll out the cookie dough on the tray before baking, and cut out small bars from it after baking while it is still hot.

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Nannas Mobil_20141222_13_53_45_Pro

Gingerbread is to me an an inevitable part of Christmas. While the majority of people is content with a few gingerbread men or women, others are committed to making extravagant houses, churches and castles from the same doughUnfortunately, these traditional treats usually contain eggs. I imagine it is to make the dough ductile – I have found a few egg-free gingerbread recipes, but they are often too fragile to roll out.

Luckily, there are some recipes that replace the eggs with treacle and cream – and it works like magic. The dough is made in no time, is easy to work with and doesn’t crack. The recipe I used is adapted from the cookbook “Kokebok for alle – fra boller til burritos“. This book is given to all 9th graders in Norway as a part of the subject “mat og helse” (“food and health”), which aims at educating children in nutrition, both theoretically and practically. That being said, the cookies are by no means healthier than the ordinary gingerbread cookies.

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Gingerbread dough on cutting board

NB: The dough should be made the day before baking the cookies.

For at least 100 cookies: 

150 g butter or margarine (room-tempered)

1 1/2 dl sugar, white or brown

1 1/2 dl treacle

1 1/2 dl cream

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground  clove

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon baking soda

10 dl flour

Cut the butter into small dices and stir it together with the sugar until creamy. Add treacle and cream to the mixture. Sift in 9 dl of the flour and all spices and baking soda. Mix well. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. When the dough is smooth and even, cover it with cling film, and put it in the fridge overnight.

Set the oven to 180℃.

Roll out the dough on a dusted surface – this is important, as the dough will stick to the surface when it is rolled out. Roll out the dough according to size of the cookies – small gingerbread men and women should be thin – around 3 mm thick. Large hearts or walls for a gingerbread house, require thicker dough. Cut out figures from the dough and gently place them on a covered baking tray. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and let the cookies bake for 6-8 minutes, or until they start looking golden.

Note: Wikihow has a similar recipe for egg-free gingerbreads with an instructional video showing each step in the process.

Test cookies

We have a cake arrangement at school. Every Thursday, the class is gathered in a small room where we talk and eat cakes. The baking is organized with a small online list so everyone can see when it is their turn. I had the opportunity to impress last Thursday. Despite the fact that I love baking, I wasn’t too eager to have this responsibility and could feel the pressure to perform well (especially as some classmates are eager blog readers – hi everyone!).

There was also another challenge: in my class, there are at least three persons who are milk (lactose and casein) and gluten intolerant, two allergic to eggs, and one who is allergic to nuts. I wanted to make something everyone could enjoy.

In the previous weeks, I have tried to develop my cookie recipe. The original is both egg- and dairy-free, but I wanted to take it one step further and make it gluten-free as well. I read somewhere that it was possible to replace “ordinary” flour with gluten-free flour in most cookies, but that only 80% of the original amount was sufficient. I tested it. I bought 1 kg Schär pastry flour, and made three cookies with slightly different flour content. One with 80% of the original amount, one with 90% and one with 100% (same amount as in the original cookies).

More test cookies

100%, 90% and 80% of original flour content.

The result is – well, obvious. The more flour, the better. Less flour = more florentine-like cookies. I decided to stick with the same amount of gluten-free flour as in the original recipe. Thus, this is the changed recipe for totally egg, gluten and milk free cookies:

For approximately 10 cookies (depending on size):

50 g milk-free chocolate or cranberries

zest of 1/2 orange or lemon

50 g soy oil

75 g sugar (white or brown)

75 g orange jam (clump-free)

150 g gluten-free flour (I used Schär‘s Mix C: Mix Pâtisserie)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Heat oven to 180℃. Chop the chocolate or cranberries and set aside. In a large bowl, stir oil, sugar and jam well. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture, and mix thoroughly until the dough is solid and free of cracks. Lastly, add the chocolate or cranberries.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces (more or less, depending how small/large you want the cookies). Roll the pieces to round balls and gently press each ball flat together using your palms. (The cookies don’t expand much in the oven.) Let bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the cookies look golden. Let cool before eating.

Note: It’s difficult to tell when the cookies are finished as they don’t gild. I decided to take them out after 20 minutes. If you bake the cookies on hot air, they become crisp but a bit fragile.

Leaning tower of cookies

Admitted, when a recipe is promoted as “vegan”, I immediately become sceptic. I am not a vegan, and think it’s a bit unfortunate that it is easier to find a vegan cake recipe than an eggless one. Of course, I don’t have anything against vegans and vegan food in general, but I often find that vegan pastry contains replacement products that are unnecessary for egg-allergics. I have previously tried to make vegan cakes before by e.g. replacing the oil with butter. But as cakes are vulnerable to such drastic changes, this has rarely worked well.

Cookie-røreCookies in the making

Cookie-batter

However, I (or rather, my mother) discovered this recipe last week in Frie Kaker, and since then, the cookies have been made no less than 4 (!) times. They are sooo tasty – just as sweet, salty and chocolatey as cookies should be. We have tried different variations during this time. One batch with butter and chocolate, one batch with grape seed oil and chocolate, one batch with soy oil and chocolate and lastly one with soy oil and cranberries. And, to my surprise, the cranberry-cookies were better than ANY of the chocolate cookies (and this is quite an admission for a die-hard chocolate fan who frequently checks blogs such as this to torture herself after lunch).

Cookies, chocolate vs. cranberry

Cranberry cookies to the left, chocolate cookies to the right.

I am sure this recipe can be varied infinitely. I have thought of adding dried apricots or raisins to the cranberry-cookies or making triple chocolate cookies with white, milk and dark chocolate.

For approximately 10 cookies (depending on size):

50 g chocolate or cranberries (for the cookies to be vegan, the chocolate must be milk-free)

zest of 1/2 orange

50 g oil (again, I used soy oil, because it is neutral in taste, but canola oil and butter can also be used)

75 g sugar (white or brown)

75 g orange or plum jam (clump-free)

150 g wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Heat oven to 180℃. Chop the chocolate or cranberries and set aside. In a large bowl, stir oil, sugar and jam well. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture, and mix thoroughly until the dough is solid and free of cracks. Lastly, add the chocolate or cranberries.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces (or more/less, depending how small/large you want the cookies). Roll the pieces to round balls and gently press each ball flat together using your palms. (The cookies don’t expand much in the oven.) Let bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies look golden.