Monday, June 20, 2011

Vegan-y fresh (and lemony too!)

Lately I’ve been very conscious of what foods I’m buying and eating. I’ve decided to try to incorporate more organic produce and cut back my use of animal byproducts. I’m neither vegan, nor vegetarian but I am cutting out meat and trying to opt for dairy alternatives often.
I haven’t been able to fathom cutting out dairy completely, but I frequently substitute almond milk for regular, and I skipped the cheese section the last few times I bought groceries. However, I use regular milk in my coffee because I don’t like the way almond milk affects the flavor, and there is a recipe for goat cheese soufflés that I can’t wait to try. Therefore, I'm avoiding any vegan/veggie/dairy-free titles and calling myself nothing whatsoever.

But still, little by little I am trying to be conscious of what I’m eating and how it affects the planet, buying more and more organic fruits and vegetables, choosing whole wheat when applicable, drinking fair trade coffee, and buying only grain fed, cage free eggs and organic milk.

I’ve been considering vegan baking for a while now, and when I stumbled upon a lemon lime cookie with vegan friendly recipe alterations built in, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Not wanting to do anything halfway, I checked the labels of all the ingredients I needed to use to ensure that they were vegan friendly. Lo and behold, my margarine wasn’t vegan at all — it was made with milk, or rather whey from milk. Luckily, I had some all-vegetable shortening that was entirely vegan and was able to proceed with the recipe. I ended up ignoring the new quantities of baking powder and baking soda listed for vegan versions of the recipe, because I didn’t have any corn starch, but from what I can tell, the cookies turned out great anyway!

The resulting cookies were both chewy and crunchy from the sugar exterior, and they had a delicious citrus flavor. This may be my favorite recipe I’ve posted on this blog yet!

Vegan Lemon Lime Sugar Cookies: adapted from
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Makes about 30 cookies

Sugar coating:
  • zest from one lime
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 1 ¾ cups flour (be prepared to add up to ¼ cup more later)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup all vegetable shortening
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • zest from one lemon and juice from ½ lemon
  • zest from one lime and juice from ½ lime
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Add zest to sugar and cream with shortening until well blended
  • Add almond milk, lemon juice, lime juice, and vanilla
  • Sift dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture a little bit at a time
  • Blend everything well. If dough feels very tacky or sticky add a little more flour
NOTE: this egg free cookie dough is both safe to eat and delicious! I highly recommend licking the spoon!
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  • In a clean bowl, mix up sugar coating from additional sugar and zest
  • Once cookie dough is chilled, use a teaspoon to help form small balls
  • Roll the balls through the sugar/zest mixture and arrange on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, removing as soon as the edges start to color
  • Transfer to a cooling rack (a brown paper bag works just as well)

Aside from baking this weekend, I also spent a good 5-7 hours a day reading. I'm about 2/3 of the way through The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. It's so good I had a hard time putting it down! The cookies made for an excellent reading snack!

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