Baking for the Wolf: Vegan Peanut-Ginger-Poppyseed Cookies

Generally, baking makes me nervous.  Baking specifically for other people makes my heart hurt.  Okay, not really, but the other night, I had a baking nightmare. Due to that pesky dream-induced slow motion effect, I could not, for the life of me, get all the right ingredients together to bake cookies for an upcoming dessert party at work.  To make things worse, one of my favourite keepers (why she was there, I don’t know) was so incredibly annoyed that we got into a huge fight!  Alright, it wasn’t a nightmare, but clearly this particular culinary task has been on my mind!

Last night, I tackled the soft and yummy vegan peanut-ginger-poppyseed cookie recipe that fell into my grateful hands a few weeks ago.  I gathered all the ingredients and took them to my parents’ kitchen in order to use my mom’s vintage electric mixer.  With my parents’ heads popping in and out, I slowly worked my way through the recipe, pausing the whirl of the electric mixer between commercials, allowing my Dad to watch (and hear) “Master Chef” in the next room.  My parents, a far cry from Gordon Ramsay, gave me a thumbs up:  “I can really taste the peanut butter and it’s not too sweet!” I feel encouraged, but not entirely convinced that my cookies will go over well today, but at least I know from past experience that this recipe creates delicious cookies… whether they come from my hands is another issue entirely!  This recipe isn’t as sinful compared to most cookie recipes, but it’s definitely not your “quinoa raspberry muffin.” Regardless, it’s mid-week and we all deserve a treat, so why not whip up these animal and earth-friendly cookies that are just the right amount of sweet.

Vegan peanut-ginger-poppyseed cookies all wrapped up for my work dessert party!

VEGAN PEANUT-GINGER-POPPYSEED COOKIES
adapted from Veganomican by Moskowitz and Romero
Ingredients:

2 & 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. vegan shortening, softened
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
1/4 c. brown rice syrup (I used maple)
1 & 1/4 c. sugar, plus more for rolling (I used less than one cup)
1/2 c. soy milk (almond works, too)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (I couldn’t find this, so I put in another 1/4 of vanilla)
5 ounces candied ginger, finely diced
2/3 c. sesame seeds (I used poppyseeds)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease two cookie sheets.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon and set aside.

In a large bowl, use electric beaters to cream the shortening until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter, rice syrup, sugar, soy milk, and extracts, and continue to beat until creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour mixture, then add chopped candied ginger and stir until a very firm dough forms.

Roll scant tablespoons of the dough into walnut-sized balls. Roll each ball in sesame seeds and then in a little sugar (I exempted the sugar) and place on [prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 1 & 1/2 inches of space between the cookies.

Flatten the balls slightly if you like and bake 10 to 11 minutes for chewy cookies or up to 14 minutes for firmer, crunchier cookies.

Remove from oven and allow to remain on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

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