13 May 2008

Spicy Cookies!

These wonderful 5-Spice Almond Cookies are from the truly excellent Eat, Drink & Be Vegan cookbook by Dreena Burton. It's fast becoming one of my favorite books, despite not having nearly enough photos for my liking. However, her recipes are wonderful.

I wasn't sure about this one at first. Right after they came out of the oven and were just cool enough to touch, I gingerly broke one in half to taste it. It tasted like it had too much salt or baking soda. So, I let the other half cool completely before trying again.

A huge improvement. In fact, I didn't taste the salt or the baking soda at all on the second try. There was an even greater improvement the next day. When my friend Andrea tried them on Monday night (the day after they were baked), she gave me the thumbs up and declared them "yummy!" Oh, and gave me the thumbs-up signal to show she really enjoyed the cookies.

I won't print the recipe here because you really ought to go buy the book if you don't have it already -- you won't regret it in the least. The only changes I made to the recipe were:

1. Doubling the recipe because the yield seemed a little small for the place I was taking them.
2. Using an oven temperature of 325 degrees C.
3. Using 3 oz. of oil instead of 1/2 cup (for a doubled recipe).
4. Cutting the amount of sweetener to 3/4 cup of agave nectar instead of 1/2 cup of unrefined sugar and 2/3 cup of maple syrup.

The five-spice powder gives the cookies such an interesting flavor profile. I'm sure it's the fennel or the white pepper that took folks by surprise on Monday night. Lots of raised eyebrows, but many approvals as well. Mind you, someone else brought a very fancy carrot cake from Calandra's bakery, so there was mighty competition that night.

By the way, a few folks have asked where my little movies are. Glad you asked.

I recently tried making vegan marshmallows with agave nectar. The recipe, as I filmed it, failed so miserably that I had to make something else in the short time allowed without running the camera.

However, I'm planning to film the next Altered Plates recipe. So, you'll be getting some new wee films soon enough. I'll be doing the same for some reviews at Here and There, so check there too.


Ricki said...

These look great--I love 5 Spice and use it often. And Dreena's books really are fantastic.

Thanks for the tip re: the marshmallows--I'm going to try them the "original" way just to see how they come out!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks Ricki. I think it's just an innate thing with agave. It's just not good for making "candy."