Chocopeño Cookies and Mad City Vegan Fest!

I was recently introduced to the idea of jalapeños in baked goods when I made the Chocolate Jalapeño Cake from ExtraVeganZa. Jazzed by this discovery, I was excited to come across Chocopeño cookies in a Twitter post, and even better, they turned out to be completely vegan. The Chocopeño cookie company, based in New Jersey, just released the product and graciously sent me samples upon request.

These crispy little spicy cookies come in individual snack packages, which would be great for on the go. I’m usually not a fan of mass produced packaged cookies because they often lack flavor and freshness, but these were unique, yummy, and had a spicy kick. I like how the jalapeño pieces scattered throughout the cookie were tiny, so I wasn’t biting into a chunk of pepper at any point. That was my biggest complaint with the cake I made. I’d love to see giant, soft-baked jalapeño cookies from this company in the future. Yum!

I will be absolutely swamped with work over the next few weeks as my semester comes to a close, but I hope to get a post up about the Chicago Vegan Bake Sale for Japan from a couple weekends ago! I took home quite a collection of goodies from the sale and have lots and lots of pictures to show!

Also, I’ll write more about this in detail later, but check the events page for Mad City Vegan Fest in Madison, WI coming up in June! I’ll be doing a baking demo at the event and the speakers/demos planned so far makes for an awesome lineup including Terry Hope Romero, Jasmin Singer, Kenny Torrella, Erinn Morris, and Donnie Smith! It looks like it’ll be a great event, so definitely plan to come if you’re in the area!


Chris’ 23rd Birthday

My friend Chris turns 23 today. Yesterday, our friend Mary and I made this for him for early birthday celebrations. I needed new pastry bags and we had this upcoming task of making Chris a birthday cake, so we decided to hop a couple busses to this cake decorating warehouse called Cook’s Cake and Candy. We came across this sexy man made of wax and decided to dress it up like Chris and stick it atop the cake.

The bottom layer is a chocolate chip cookie cake, then it is spread with a layer of cookie dough, then about an inch of frosting and ice cream (half and half). It’s topped off with another chocolate chip cookie cake, then decorated. The Happy Birthday candles we got were slightly faulty as there was an extra H instead of a B.

Happy Hirthday, Chris!


Cookie Cakes, Postcards, and Pitch Video

My friend Erich and I decided to bake a huge assortment of cookie cakes (6 to be exact) to bring back to Milwaukee one week, all decorated with the best of the best inside jokes. Here are a couple of the winners.

Quintin got a chicken cake.

My friend Skylar loves his job so much that I figured a cookie cake with the logo would be overtly appropriate.

Clearly he loved it.

A few weeks ago, this huge stack of postcards from my publisher arrived on my doorstep! A good portion have made their way all over the US. I sent some to Ditte in Denmark and Amanda in Canada as well!

I was asked to make a two minute pitch video with an author bio and information about the book. Here is the result!

Tomorrow morning I will be baking and mailing out the cookies for the assortment packages. Thank you to everyone who ordered! Your packages should be arriving in a few days from tomorrow.


Milwaukee’s Vegan Cookies: Riverwest Co-op

Chocolate Chip Cookie from Riverwest Co-op

I do volunteer work here, so I actually wrapped up this batch of giant chocolate chip cookies. They’re very crispy around the sides and dense and toothsome in the center.
The co-op makes many different cookies on any given day (find a recipe and make it!), but these are the chocolate chip cookies they make and consistently sell.


Milwaukee’s Vegan Cookies: Beans and Barley, East Side Ovens (again)

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Milwaukee Vegan Meetup group did lunch today at Beans and Barley, so afterward I shopped around a bit in the grocery section and bakery. This was the only kind of vegan cookie they had today, but it was lovely. I liked that it was soft, chewy, fresh, and chocolatey with a hint of peppermint.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From East Side Ovens again. I thought this was a chocolate chip cookie (they don’t label them at the student union, so I’ve been guessing!), but it turned out to be peanut butter, which was a nice surprise because it was crispy and I’m not a huge fan of crispy chocolate chip cookies. A lot of their baked goods have a bit of a “healthy” twinge to them, but these and their dumplings are an exception. They’re not super sugary or greasy, so a break from that decadence is good every once in a while.

P.S. I promise I’ll never take photos in my dorm room anymore. The lighting is terrible.


I give you my heart and a [recipe]

I had a small amount of chocolate chips remaining in the bag and decided to make a little batch of cookies to use them up. These are my basic go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I just shaped the dough into hearts before baking.

Bakery Style Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with A Hint of Maple)

Makes about 12 large or 25 normal-sized cookies

Make these cookies BIG like those giant chocolate chip cookies you can find at bakeries. As their name suggests, these cookies have a chewy center contained within perfectly crispy edges. The maple syrup adds a little something to these, but the maple flavor is very subtle, if noticeable at all. The key to getting the chips evenly distributed and stuck in the dough is to use your hands! It makes all the difference. All in all, these cookies are ridiculously easy to make.

2/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together the oil, sugar, syrup, applesauce and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl.

Add in flour, baking soda, and salt (no need to sift!). Stir in chocolate chips. If the chips don’t want to stick to the batter, use your hands! If the dough is a little dry, gradually add a small amount of soy milk, maybe a couple teaspoons, until it holds together.

Drop by large spoonfuls, 3-4 tablespoons each, onto a cookie sheet and slightly flatten. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.