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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pre-Wedding Choco-Filled Cookies?

Sounds delish!

No... not my wedding. I had a fabulous weekend travelling to Thunder Bay, Ontario to see my good friend Shay get married! She's been such a close friend from when we were LITs (Leaders In Training) together at Camp Cedarwood at the ripe age of 17 and last year she moved to Thunder Bay to be closer to her boyfriend (and now hubby! Yay!). So I was so excited to get to be a part of her special day. We had a little informal gathering of all her out-of-town friends the night before her wedding... and why not contribute some cookies?

Honestly, I love baking. Ha ha, I think I should be constantly invited to parties just so I have the excuse to bake and try new recipes. I was feeling a little chocolate craving come on, so I thought this was the perfect recipe to try.

Chocolate Agave Trailmixers

(Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero)

Makes: 2 dozen (mine made 21, but mine were large)

-1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze)
-1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
-2/3 cup canola oil
-3/4 cup agave nectar
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
-1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-a generous ¼ teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1/2 cup whole roasted peanuts, toasted walnut, or roasted cashews (I used toasted walnuts… toasted on baking pan at 350 for 10 minutes)
-1/2 cup dried cherries or raisins (I used dried cranberries!)

-Preheat oven to 325F and line baking sheets with parchment paper
-In a large bowl, whisk together nondairy milk, flax seeds, oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and almond extract until combined (about 2 minutes)
-Sift in all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix to form a soft dough
-Fold in the chocolate chips, nuts and dried fruit
-For each cookie drop about a tablespoon of dough, 2 inches apart from each other
-Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until firm (mine took 14-16 minutes) and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks for the remaining cooling time
-Store in a tightly covered container
Variation: stir in 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the liquid ingredients before adding the dry stuff (enhances and deepens cocoa flavour)

Honestly... they are amazing. I've never baked with nuts before (I tend to stay away from them because of my brother, he's allergic to all nuts, but because I was already using Almond Breeze... why not try to bake with some walnuts?) and I've never even liked nuts in cookies myself... but wow... what a great combination!

My mom says they are her favourite vegan cookie that I've baked so far! Although I really do think these are the best fresh from the oven, I was told they still tasted delicious the next day (and a plane ride later) at the get together!


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