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November 12, 2010

Vegan MoFo #11: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

I set a goal to post at least 20 times in the month of November, so with this post I am officially past the halfway mark! Who knows, at this rate I may even surpass my goal. Participating in Vegan MoFo has been wonderfully challenging so far. I was pretty tired the first week, staying up too late to write every night, but I have gotten into my groove now. My writing process tends to be lengthy, but it seems that this is improving with daily practice. I plan to keep up the habit of frequent posting even when Vegan MoFo is over. The best part of this month of food by far has been connecting with so many vegan bloggers. You all inspire me, and I thank you for that!

I am not sure if I should credit MoFo or the cooler weather, but I have been on a major baking kick, first with Isa and Terry, then with Fran, now with Kelly. Kelly Peloza is the newest vegan dessert cookbook author to hit the scene. Her book, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, is loaded with over 140 cookie recipes, with gorgeous full color pictures throughout. Some of the sections found within are Cookies Inspired by Drinks, Blissfully Chocolate Cookies, DIY Versions of Mass-Produced Cookies, Bar Cookies, A Take on Tradition, and several more.

Bakery-Style Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Where to start when you are faced with over 140 choices? I figured the best way to get to know this author's style would be to start with something classic, and it doesn't get more classic than chocolate chip cookies. Then I discovered that she has FIVE chocolate chip cookie recipe options, and that doesn't even include the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and the candy cane chocolate chip cookies! Crisp, chewy chocolate chip cookies are my preference, so the obvious choice was the Bakery-Style Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. My batch were chewy, in a really awesome way, but not crisp. The recipe doesn't call for any non-dairy milk at all, but it does suggest to add some if the dough is too dry. I had to add some and was careful to only add enough to get the dough to hold together. I am thinking that the texture of the finished cookie could have benefited from a little more soy milk. This recipe is definitely good, but not the perfect chocolate chip cookie for me. I plan to try some of her other chocolate chip cookie recipes as I continue my quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie!

Peanut Butter Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Bars
My boyfriend's favorite sweet-salty snack is a toss up between chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered peanuts. Kelly came up with a bar cookie that involves these two very things, so of course I had to make these for Steve. The Peanut Butter Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Bars are made up of a peanut butter cookie base piled high with hand dipped chocolate-covered peanuts and pretzels. The base was my favorite part, reminding me of a peanut butter blondie. Hand-dipping the pretzels and peanuts in chocolate was a lot of fun, and I appreciated the awesome makeshift double boiler tips for melting the chocolate (up until now I've been a microwave-melter)! If your fresh-dipped peanuts and pretzels behave like mine and don't want to harden all the way at room temperature, just toss them in the fridge for 10 minutes to finish the hardening process. I also opted to chop my chocolate dipped goodies rather than breaking apart by hand. Steve's reaction to this bar cookie was exactly what I hoped for! Rich peanut-buttery base, with a chocolate-covered salty/sweet crunchy top, this is the perfect cookie for him.

Almond Cloud Kisses
My favorite cookies so far are the Almond Cloud Kisses. Mine turned out pretty clumsy looking in comparison to Kelly's, but that didn't take away from the taste. Dense, not too sweet, shortbread-like almond cookies come together with a smear of melted chocolate, for a (potentially) adorable cookie. I had the same issue that I did with the chocolate chip cookies, needing to add more soy milk than the recipe calls for in order for the dough to hold together. This time I was a little bit more generous with the additional soy milk, and the result was great.

Autumn Cloud Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
For the last cookie that I sampled I went for the Autumn Cloud Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. This was the first time pumpkin and chocolate crossed paths in my kitchen, and I was very pleased with the flavor combination. The cookie itself was an odd texture, more fluffy and spongy like a muffin. I would be very curious to see how the dough would behave in a muffin pan. If you have been searching for the perfect cookie-muffin hybrid (muffin tops anyone?), this cookie is for you!

Whew, that's a lot of cookies, and I have barely scratched the surface of the cookie options in The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur! Sooner than later I plan to try several more (I am looking at you Puppy Chow Cookies).

So, what will you be baking this weekend?


  1. those pumpkin cookies look very similar to ones I have made in the past - cake-like in consistency. Though they weren't vegan. I would love to check out that cookbook. thanks for sharing.

  2. happy friday, Sarah! wonderfully challenging describes MoFo for me as well. although i'm worn out, it's fun - and i too am finding myself inspired. i love the fact that there are so many fellow MoFoers out there posting tons of vegan yumminesses every day. superhappyface! there's a recipe on Jes' old site (cupcake punk) for some pumpkin cookies (i believe she refers to them as "crack cookies". ah ha ha!). i made them last year, or maybe it was the year before, but anywhooooooo....they were kinda fluffy and cake-like, and while the flavor was also yum, the texture threw me for a loop. i wonder if that's just how pumpkin behaves itself in baked goods, and i think your comment about seeing how Kelly's autumn cloud pumpkin cookies do in a muffin tin sometime is a good one. i've been eyeing The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur for a bit now, and i think i'm gonna have to get it. that rocks that she has a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie in there, and i bet i can deglutenize some of her other recipes as well. w00t! mad love for your gloriously delicious cookie post, and may you enjoy the weekend!!!!

  3. Wow! Holy vegan cookies!! I was actually experimenting with vegan cookies myself yesterday! These look awesome.

  4. MoFo has been very challenging for me this year too. My schedule this month has not been condusive to daily posting. Oh well, I can only do so much. ;-)

    The chocolate and pretzel cookies look amazing. I would have trouble staying out of those.

    enjoy your weekend,

  5. The book is finally out? That is so awesome. I love Kelly's recipes.
    And I enjoyed all your MoFo posts a lot. Keep up the good work!

  6. oh my gosh, I've been waiting for this book to come out forever!! and now it's on my list for SURE! Your pictures are so compelling, it's crazy. Those pretzel bars are making me salivate.

    No baking for me this weekend... I've got plenty of sweeties in my system already!

  7. I constantly feel like baking so I totally get what you mean about craving it. These cookies look delicious! I especially love those chocolate pretzel bars. that sweet and salty combo gets me every time.

  8. So many cookies, so little time! The holidays are the perfect opportunity to try some of these out though- I think those pretzel bars are a must!

  9. Ooo I haven't heard of this cookbook so definitely appreciate your review! Looks like there are lots of yummy cookies to be had. I've tried the pumpkin chocolate combination in a loaf and don't think I can get used to it. Maybe white chocolate but not regular chocolate.


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