Vegan Oatmeal Cookies (tofu as egg substitute)

Accepted an challenge to make dairy free baked goodies.  Tried to use tofu as egg substitute.  Texture turned out very close to real egg.  I put in too much spice but overall it is pretty decent.  Though I still miss eating real butter + egg version.

Ingredients

Quantity Unit Item
150 ml gold shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2  cup brown sugar
1 1/2  cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger powder
130  g tofu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream shortening & sugar until light and fluffy.  Add tofu, lemon & vanilla extract.  The consistency is actually a little stiffer than your normal batter made with egg.

Stop mixer and add flour all at once and fold in flour by hand. Then add oatmeal and raisins and mix until all are well distributed (but avoid over mixing).

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brownie (see above picture for desire colour)

Detail Step-by-step Pictures

Use regular slow cook rolled oat for more texture.  Raisan is optional

Use regular slow cook rolled oat for more texture. Raisan is optional

Sift flour with salt, baking soda and cinnamon

Sift flour with salt, baking soda and cinnamon

Vegan oatmeal cookies batter.  Look just like normal cookies batter.

Vegan oatmeal cookies batter. Look just like normal cookies batter.

Dish out even portions and ready for baking!

Dish out even portions and ready for baking!

Done!  My first vegan oatmeal cookie. Still soft and slightly crumbly.

Done! My first vegan oatmeal cookie. Still soft and slightly crumbly.

Liebesgrübchen – “Love Pits” jam filled sweet paste cookies

Aren’t these the most adorable looking cookies? These cookies are very buttery delicate and not overly sweet . The jam filling add just extra bonus touch of fresh sweetness. They are also pretty easy to make! I am happy my co-worker’s mom has shared this wonderful recipe with me. Thanks my co-worker for translating the recipe!

For those who can read German.  Here is the original recipe

Zutaten:

  • 175g Mehl,
  • 65g Zucker
  • 1 Packung Vanillezucker (oder 1 Teeloeffel Vanilleessenz)
  • 2 Eigelb
  • 125g Butter oder Margarine

Zubereitung:

Für die Füllung braucht man rote Marmelade, was immer man gerade hat. Die Zutaten werden zu einem Mürbeteig verarbeitet und kühlgestellt.

Anschließend formt man kleine Kügelchen aus dem Teig, macht mit einem mehlbestäubten Holzlöffelstiel eine Vertiefung (Mulde) in die einzelnen Kügelchen und füllt etwas Marmelade hinein.

Auf einem gefetteten Backblech (oder Backpapier) 10-12Min. bei ca.175°Celsius backen.

Here is the translation! ;-)

Ingredients:

  • 175g flour ( I used pastry flour)
  • 65g sugar
  • 1 package of vanilla sugar (I still have my very limited supply from my last Germany trip back in 2010 ;-)  You can also substitute with half a vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • 2 egg yolks (this is the key why these cookies are so delicate!)
  • 125g butter (I used unsalted butter with a tiny pinch of salt)
  • ~3 tablespoon of your favourite jam – recently I have been using Maple Syrup Pumpkin and I really like it!
All the ingredients

All the ingredients

It is actually very simple. You put together all the above ingredients  following sweet paste method.  The key is don’t warm up and cream you better to incorporate too much air.  Just mix sugar and butter until all evenly incorporated.  Add your yolks gradually, and sift all the flour into the butter mixture at once.  The cookies dough will turn out a bit wet and too soft to handle.  You should warp the dough in plastic warp and put it in the fridge for at least a couple hours (better yet, over night).  Then they will be much easier to handle.

Dough is ready! Always remember to put in "date" & "name"!!

Dough is ready! Always remember to put in "date" & "name"!!

When you are ready to bake this cookies, just take the dough out and evenly portion the dough.  I like to use my ice-cream scoop for quick & easy portioning.   You then roll out the cookie dough into perfectly roll balls.  Then use top of wooden spoon to poke a hole in the middle for filling jam. Be careful when you are poking that hole, you  don’t want to push all the way down to the bottom because jam will be leaking!

Dip tip of wooden spoon in flour before poking a hole in cookie dough to avoid sticking

Dip tip of wooden spoon in flour before poking a hole in cookie dough to avoid sticking

Perfectly even holes punched into the cookies dough and ready for filling with jam!

Perfectly even holes punched into the cookies dough and ready for filling with jam!

Remember  to leave some space in between because this dough will spread

Remember to leave some space in between because this dough will spread

Baking in 350F oven for 10 minutes.

Sweet Christmas Gift – Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies Platter

So glad that I can make use of the cookies making I’ve learned from Chef Macro from the Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver.

My own Scottish shortbread & gingerbread stars are certainly tasty but can look a bit boring in a huge cookie plate.  By adding cookies with names that I am still learning to pronounce, all of a sudden the whole cookie plate looks a lot more interesting.   The top snow white cookies with silver balls decoration is Pfeffernüsse.  The shell like cookies next to Pfeffernüsse are Spekulatius.  There is my personal favourite: Elisenlebkuchen  (but I am still hopeless in saying that German name correctly =P).  At the centre is my own creation of rolling Scottish shortbread little balls into match (green tea) powder and icing sugar.  There is also very neat looking checker-board cookies.  I even created those four tiny swirl pattern cookies with side trimming (did not waste a bit).  That is a pretty impressive collection eh?

The following is gift set of six different kind of cookies:

  • peppermint candy cane biscotti with chocolate drizzle
  • Vanille Kipferl (yes more German name, you know the theme of my baking course ;-)
  • marble cookies
  • “BMW” style checker-board cookies
  • Pfeffernüsse
  • Spekulatius

Cookies Gift Set

Finally as fun activity for my good friends’ kids. I made a stack of “Winnie the Pooh” gingerbread cookies for the little ones to decorate. I had a blast decorating with them. They probably enjoyed the 6 bowls of different type of candies lay out for decoration more than the actual decorating part. That is just the greatest Christmas memory that I will always cherish.
Making of Winnie the Pooh Gingerbread Cookies

Instead of buying a gift card or another electronic gadgets for your friends, consider making them a batch of home made cookies. It is a lot of fun making and consuming =)

The World of Cookies

This past few weeks have been very busy at work.  Hence no blog post update for a month.   I am so glad that even in a very busy week, I could make time (by getting up before 7am and going to bed after 4am) to take my 3rd baking course “The World of Cookies” from chef Marco’s Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver.  I have learned so much and this is definitely the most fun course so far!

You probably make thing anyone can make cookies why bother taking a course.  But the cookies covered is not just the ordinary cookies.  Making them feel like making “dim sum” of pastry.  Small piece of wonder that requires lots of different technique if you want to present a collection of display that can “wow” people.

Base on the following ingredients, can you guess what kind of cookies we are trying to make?

ingredients of the first cookies - chocolate chips cookies (chef macro way)

ingredients of the first cookies - chocolate chips cookies (chef macro way)

We started with the American classic chocolate chips cookies but this is made with real chocolate instead of  never melt during baking chocolate chips.  The resulting cookies have rich caramelized taste with wonderful melt in your mouth chocolate felt.   It is also really nice to learn recipe that can make by hand without bring out kitchen aids.  It is petty nice upper body workout ;-)

Already looking very impressive and colour with only portion of the cookies display

start arranging cookies for display

start arranging cookies for display

Beautiful eisenbahner & linzer (aka hazelnut cookies).  Eisenbahner is the main reason why I take this course and I loved it.  The look and taste is amazing and sophisticated that you simply cannot buy it from regular bakery.

Eisenbahner &; linzer cookies

Eisenbahner & linzer cookies

Learned a couple cookies I have never heard of before: Fianacier  & Florentine .  I really like Florentine (the following pictures) because it so rich yet well balanced with a rather delicate sweat paste bottom.  It was such a smart combo that is rich but not unbearably sweet like most  regular cut square cookies

Florentine

Florentine

Really enjoy this course and I am going back to for more.  Signed up Christmas cookies.  Looking forward to learning making more interesting little wonders of pastry world – cookies :-)

Chocolate Chips Cookies

Browsing my list of recipe and find I actually never post the most basic cookie recipe.  This is because I never come across a recipe that I really like the result until I found this from very interesting post about “A Day in the Life of an Intern-Making the Perfect Chocolate Chips Cookie“.  It is so neat to have peak into such a “sweet” intern job.

Here is the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of butter (I used unsalted butter, so I added in 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 cup of chocolate chips ( I used 1 cup of chocolate chips + 1 cup of  chocolate fudge chips)
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda together and set aside.
With stand mixer, using paddle attachment in medium speed, cream butter with sugar & brown sugar until fluffy and light.  Then in measurement cup, lightly beat the eggs & vanilla and gradually pour in the egg mixture to sugar butter mixture.
Preheat oven to 375F.  Then take mixing bowl out and use hand and spatula to mix the flour into batter. I find hand mixing flour result in more tender cookie and you have less flour flying in your kitchen ;-)
Scope out the cookie with ice-cream disher on parchment paper (or silicon baking sheet) lined cookie sheet.  The cookie will grow!!  So remember to leave a lot of space in between.
Baking 8 Cookies per Sheet

Baking 8 Cookies per Sheet

Look closer, notice I have split the perfect round scope of cookie dough a half and reattached together.  This result in a slightly rough edge (more natural) look.  The cookie can spread more evenly with this slight alternation!  Only take a few more minute but make a huge difference.  Highly recommend this method.
Split and Reattached Cookie Dough

Split and Reattached Cookie Dough

Bake for 10 to 11 minutes until beautifully golden brown.

Done Baking after 10 to 11 minutes

Done Baking!

I am very happy with the result of the cookie.  I like using both baking powder and baking soda for a slightly more puffy cookie.  Using just baking soda will result in much flatter and crispier cookie which not the way I like it.  I will definitely make this recipe again but I need to  find a way to reduce sugar without affecting resulting texture.  2 1/2 cup of sugar + brown sugar is indeed too much.   Too sweet for my taste.

Mousse Cake #6: Ladyfingers Sponge

Ladyfingers Sponge

Like the sweet paste tart dough, this is totally unexpected surprised bonus recipe I’ve learned from French Mousse Cake course from Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver.  Thinking back I haven’t made ladyfingers for years because it is so much more convenient to buy and it is so complicated to make.  Frankly you cannot taste the difference if it is just filling inside tiramisu and it has so up so much brandy & espresso.  But let me tell you, it is worth all the effort to make your own!  The texture is so dedicate and taste is so wonderful.   The ingredients list is so simple.  I bet all of you should have all the ingredient in your home.  This is truly a test of sponge cake making technique.  According Chef Marco, making ladyfingers is actually exam for pro-course.   Wonder if ladyfingers above will score a passing grade?!

One important key to successful sponge is timing. So have all your tools and ingredients prepared and measured out.  Also remember to pre-heat the oven because it is not a forgiving batter.

Ladyfingers Spong Ingredients Ladyfingers Spong Tools

I can never neatly and uniformly pipe out nice line without guidance.  So I drew line in be back side parchment paper.  It does take a bit longer, but extremely useful for people like me.  This is one reason why I can never be a pro.  I am sure pro can naturally pipe out neatly and evenly.  One very good tips I’ve learned from the course is the importance of timing.  The meringue & yolk both has to complete in the same time to ensure maximum volume.  Look the batter produced from just two eggs!  Pretty amazing eh?  The line on the back helped me so much in even height.  This batter consistency is by far the easiest to handle.  Really love this recipe!!

lo por cake 004lo por cake 005 

Opportunity is endless with these ladyfingers.  First made a dreamy blueberry mousse cake with it!  Look beautiful and much better than any store bough ladyfingers.

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This beautiful ladyfingers are not just for decorating the side of mousse cake.  They are totally butter free healthy goodness!!  I love simple ingredients with a bit more heart and effort can result in such beautiful and tasty wonder!

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Sesame Macaron

sesame macaron 118

My second try on macaron. Turned out much better than my first attempt. Honestly, I am not a huge fan eating it but I do love the process of making it. It is a little intimidating because of the meringue and it does require pretty decent piping skill. It is very good baking practice exercise and looks very pretty when successful.

What really motivated me to make my own macaron was my experience of paying 16 for only 6 pieces of macaron from Laudree in Paris. Not only the expensive price tag, I had to waste 40 minutes waiting in line on my last day of travel. Yes, the macarons from Laudree were very pretty and taste very good, especially the cameral version! I kept on thinking.. well.. I can do that. Probably not as perfect as Laudree but should still be pretty decent. My first try was not very successful. I was probably baking in higher temp that my green tea macaroon turn out a bit brown on the edge. It was just crunchy with empty shell, not chewy bit at all.

Since I need some pretty looking decoration on top of the mousse cakes I am trying to make these day, I thought it is probably a good idea to retry macaron and use it as decoration. Stumbled on a sesame macaron recipe from Food je taime with very good detail instruction.

Follow every single step – even the scary “aging” egg white overnight advise. It does sounds odd and questionable. But it really works. The resulting batter was much easier to handle.

Here are the list of ingredients (very simple, no excuse for not giving this simple cookies a try):

  • 3 egg whites (yes! aged!!)
  • 3/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar (my little insurance to ensure stable meringue – feel free to omit this)
  • 30 g of granulated sugar
  • 200 g of icing sugar
  • 90 g of almond (I used blanched almond)
  • 20 g of toasted black sesame seed

Here is the steps:

  1. grind sesame seed & almond with a couple tablespoon of icing sugar into fine flour
  2. mix the ground sesame & almond flour with reminding icing sugar
  3. sift this flour mixture 3 times (remember to pick out the bit bit of almond too)
  4. in a large heavy stable bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar
  5. prepare your piping bag and tip and set aside
  6. use a hand mixer to beat egg white until foamy
  7. gradually add granulated sugar in a slow string while continue to beat the white
  8. keep beating egg white until stiff peak
  9. sift in one third of the sesame/almond mixture into the egg whites and gentle fold almond flour into the whites
  10. repeat above step two more times until all sesame almond flour is all evenly incorporated into the meringue.
  11. pre-heat oven to 280F
  12. pipe out 1 inch drop of batter with a lot of space in between (batter can spread)
  13. leave this piped shell to stand for 30 minutes
  14. bake for 15 minutes
  15. immediately remove the baked macaron into cooling rack

I was not sure if I can pipe out the batter uniformly, so I drew little 1 inch circle to help guide myself with even shape. Only need this aid for the first batch, because I already got the handle with piping. Remember to invert the parchment paper when piping so u are not piping on the pencil mark!

sesame macaron 006

Mixed sesame/almond with icing sugar. So pretty!

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Sifted sesame/almond flour on the meringue – I was thinking that was not “sesame” dark enough, but actually turn out very pretty!

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Piped out and let stand for 30 minute – this is supposed to the ensure the “foot” is formed

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Done baking! Looking pretty eh?

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Line up the ones with similar size

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Filled with basic filling of sesame paste and taste amazingly good. Just *LOVE*this favour! If you think u don’t really like macaron, start with this recipe, it will change your mind.

Packed ‘em up and brought that into office as my typical Monday snack offer

sesame macaron 135