Saturday, November 5, 2011

Satisfying Saturday

I've got big plans for The Minima. I spend much of my free time browsing food blogs for inspiration and brainstorming new ideas for improving and expanding this blog. That being said, I always welcome any feedback my readers can give me.


I take note of many things while I spend hours scrolling and clicking through food blogs. One recurring theme I've noticed is just that. Many food blogs seem to have the days of the week dedicated to different themes of recipes. I don't know if there is a blogger's rulebook deciding how one runs a food blog but I've come across numerous "Meatless Mondays" and "What I Ate Wednesdays".  This inspired me to come up with my own Theme of the Day schedule:

Macrobiotic Mondays - Recipes posted on on this day are based on the Macrobiotic Diet of natural, organic whole grains and local produce with little to no refined, processed or animal foods. 
Worldly Wednesdays - This day is dedicated to traveling the world through our tastebuds. 
Satisfying Saturdays - At the end of a long week we certainly deserve a reward and this is the day to be a little naughty.

I figured that with just three themed days I have the other days free to post what ever kinds of recipes I want and hopefully this will help me cook and bake more regularly. My aim is to have a new themed recipe queued up to be posted at midnight of it's designated day every week.

To officially start off this newest addition to The Minima, lets jump into the Satisfying Saturday with a little indulgence that you don't have to feel too bad about come Self-Condemnation Sunday. Oof, not to worry, such a theme does not and should not exist anywhere. I wouldn't even want to imagine what sort of cuisine that day would entail!

The Oatmeal Cookie. 

Is it friend or cleverly disguised foe?

Though not the king of cookies--that title I'm sure most will agree goes to the Chocolate Chip Cookie--has been given the nod of approval from mothers everywhere since practically the beginning of time. Oatmeal raisin has been my favorite for a very long time and only recently did I start to question it's reputation for being the "healthy cookie". That little voice of teen angst telling me to rebel and question all authority began chanting, "it's too good to be true, nothing in life is this delicious and healthy for you! Those mothers don't know what they're saying! This is tyranny!!" Okay, that's a wild exaggeration but I did become pretty suspicious of my favorite cookie. Now years later and in the process of preparing for this recipe, I did a bit of light research. I looked for as basic of a recipe I could find and stumbled upon Martha Stuart's Classic Oatmeal Cookie

For a yield of three dozen cookies, Martha called for a whole cup of butter, two large eggs and a cup each of brown and granulated sugar. It didn't sound too great to me. This was when I decided to see if I could come up with my own recipe for a healthier version of the Healthy Cookie. First stop was my little army of bookmarked vegan food blogs. I had to check out what everyone else was doing to get an idea for my own recipe. 

I was also keeping an eye out for recipes that included pumpkin. Being that it is autumn, I have caught a full-blown case of the pumpkin-bug. I am obsessed with pumpkin and the idea of adding pumpkin to every food possible. If my arm was pumpkin-spice flavored, I would eat it without even a second thought. In the end I settled on this veganized version of Quaker Oat's Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie recipe as my guide.

Vegan (Slightly Pumpkin) Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are firm yet enjoyably chewy and stay that way days after coming out of the oven (if they even last that long). They have a strong aroma of cinnamon and a delightfully nutty texture from the oats. The pumpkin spice flavor is mild but reminiscent of a pumpkin pie. Not too sweet, this cookie is excellent paired with a cup of hot apple cider or alongside a scoop of your favorite French vanilla ice cream. Addition of nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips are welcomed but can easily overshadow the pumpkin flavor.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbs baking soda
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

I have grouped the ingredients together in accordance to the order you should prepare them. First preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the vegan butter, sugar and maple syrup and mix with a hand mixer until it becomes creamy. Next mix in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. It will become a very strange clotted texture but this is only temporary.

When you begin mixing in the flour, baking soda and spices in the third group the batter it will come back together into a texture you are more familiar with. At this point I suggest trading the handmixer for a spoon or hard spatula. The cookie dough will become quite thick and I don't want anyone blaming broken mixers on me.

Finally add the oats. It may be easier to incorporate them gradually, one cup at a time. Mix well, making sure not to leave any hidden pockets of oats. Once your cookie dough is completely mixed you may add any extra goodies such as raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. I decided to make half of my batch plain and split the remaining half between chocolate chips and raisins.

Using a dinner spoon, scoop a little less than a spoonful into your palm and roll it into a ball. This is your chance to losen up and get your hands sticky. It's been a hard week, lets have some fun! Evenly space out the cookie balls about 1 1/2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Now more sticky fingers! Either using your fingers, the flat bottom of a glass or jar, flatten the cookies until they are about a 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let your cookies cool on the cookie sheets for about a minute before transferring them to a cooling rack.

 There you have it, my very own recipe for oatmeal cookies. I got 52 cookies out of this recipe, the plain ones slightly larger than the chocolate chip and raisin ones. If I had made them all plain, I calculated that each cookie would be approximately 36 calories! Now that's an indulgence you can feel good about!


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