Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Become A Flax Chicken

Stock Your Pantry, Episode One:

You want to be able to bake for the holidays, but you are going vegan or you ran out of eggs!  Problem solved.  Become a Flax Chicken.  First, you need some flaxseeds:



The brand doesn't really matter.  Bob's Red Mill makes organic ones (pictured above), Hodgson Mill makes them packaged in a box, etc.  Just get some.  I like the ground/milled ones so that you don't need to grind them yourself, but you could do that, too.  Keep them in the fridge or freezer (if you have room in there!).  I didn't know that until recently, so my first box of flaxseeds just sat in my pantry for a year, and honestly, they still seem fine.  I'm still here, basically unharmed, and the box is empty.  Go figure.

Anyway, my very first ever and now beloved vegan chocoate chip cookie called for ground flax, and I got permission to post the recipe.  They are crisp-chewy and almost candy-like, thin and delicious.  We are going to make them together, and I took pics to help you out.

Wheat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
It is from a fantastic vegan cookbook called Veganomicon.  Check it out.

1 3/4 cup oat flour (I always just use Old Fashoined Quaker Oats and grind them in the food processor)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (yeah, baby, the SYP item is right here! This is going to be your "egg")
1/4 cup soy milk (I love Vanilla Silk or Eden Soy Organic Original, they are very different, though, so see what you like)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375.  So far, so good.

Now, in the bowl of your food processor, add the oats, just measure them in your dry measuring cups and put them right into the bowl with the metal blade attachement.  Also put in the baking soda and the salt, I just like to wizz it all together and wha-la, your dry ingredients are done:



If you have the oat flour, then just sift the ingredients together into a large bowl.

Ok, now, get a medium mixing bowl and in it, put your flaxseeds. Get your Teeny Tiny Wisk O' Doom, too.  Unless you haven't lost your Sir Whiskalot, that is. It will look like this:


Now, just wisk the flaxseeds and the soymilk together.  No big thing, nothing magical will happen, excepting that now you have become the unimaginable, you have become a FLAX CHICKEN!  You have laid your first flax egg (or maybe your 300th if you are a vegan already!).  Sorry to say, that for your first one, it is pretty liquidy (unlike some other flax/liquid mixes that use less liquid, like 2 or maybe 3 tablespoons per tablespoon of ground flax.  Then, you will then get an egg-white like consistency, but not in this recipe).
Then it will look like this:

I have thought about adding another tablespoon of ground flax to get a more egg-whitey consistency.  I think I will try that next time.  Anyway, let us soldier on...

Now you are going to add the brown and granulated sugars and stir, add the vanilla and stir, and then, start adding the canola oil in a thin stream, wisking vigorously (really give the Tiny Wisk O' Doom or a bigger Sir Wiskalot a workout) until it is emulsified.  I find it takes a few minutes of adding the oil and wisking a lot (at least with the Tiny Wisk O' Doom, anyway).  Then it will look like this:



Now you are going to commit a baking faux pas, unless you want to dirty another bowl.  I always err on the side of NOT dirtying another bowl, so, my true bakers, please turn your heads...
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ones (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But, a tiny voice says, yes!! Do it!! It will be fine!).  Mix them around.  It will look like this:


Now, get out your cookie scoop (a medium Oxo scoop  if you want to know what I use) and plop those bad boys on your silpat or on a greased cookie sheet (Veganomicon says ungreased, but I don't like to take chances, these cookies are crisp-chewy and candy-like, and I have had them stick), like so:


And bake them in your 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.  You will see the edges start to brown slightly, they are done when you see that.  Take them out and let them cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way:



If you try to take them off the sheet too early, they may tear, so wait the full 5 minutes!  I get 18 cookies using that medium oxo scoop.

Congratulations!  You have vegan cookies for the holidays and you have Stocked Your Pantry with some very useful ground flaxseeds.  A nice seasonal variation that I have tried is to sub 1/4 tsp of orange extract plus 3/4 tsp of vanilla extract (instead of the 1 tsp vanilla extract in the original recipe) and adding dried, organic cranberries (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) and reducing the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup. 

Enjoy!

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