Sunday, July 20, 2008

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are so many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there and I've found there are two kinds: dense and not so dense. I think most vegan chocolate chip cookies I came across a dense cookie. I love this kind of cookie, like my chocolate, chocolate cookie recipe that is almost like a brownie. But sometimes I prefer a lighter cookie.

While going through Nana's recipes I came across the, "Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe. There was a newspaper clipping about the history of the cookie at the Toll House Inn on the east coast in the 1930's. The baker was making chocolate cookies and mistakenly used the wrong chocolate which did not melt into the cookie as it should have - it just stayed their in chunks in the vanilla batter - thus one of the most famous cookies was born.

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 1/4 Cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft butter (margarine)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs (I used powdered Energy egg replacer)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (I left these out)

Combine flour, soda, and salt.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the egg substitute and beat once more. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.

This is a fail-prove recipe.

Peanut Butter Swirls:
Since I cannot follow a recipe to save my life I did alter this recipe beyond veganizing it - I added peanut butter. I spread peanut butter across a piece of parchment paper and put it in the freezer for a few hours until it was hard. I took it out and quickly broken it up into little pieces. Since peanut butter defreezes quickly you need to work quickly to stir the little chunks into the batter before scooping the batter on the cookie sheet.
Cook as normal and enjoy the little bites of peanut butter goodness.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Italian Teese Appetizers

In looking through Nana's recipes I was inspired this morning and thought of a great use for Teese. For once I found a use for vegan cheese that may be difficult to recreate with real cheese.
Italian Teese Appetizers:
1/2" round of the Teese tube
6-8 basil leaves
1/4 tomato sliced very thinly

Place the Teese round on parchment paper and melt in the microwave, or broiler, until completely melted and it is spread out. Make sure the Teese is spread evenly. Let it rest for 1-2, just enough for the Teese to firm up.
Cut square edges to the sheet of Teese.
Layer thinly slices tomatoes and basil leaves.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and carefully roll up, and poke with a toothpick about every inch.
Garnish with basil or oregano.
Chill before serving to ensure stability.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Death by Chocolate

My Nana died this morning, unexpectantly. While I rarely share much of my personal life on this blog, this is important. Some of my first memories of food were when I was with Nana.
Nana loved food and loved to bake. Her love of food was forefront in her warm hugs. She had this soft, cuddly body - when you hugged her it was like hugging a big, pink marshmellow. You just sank into her and knew you were safe in her arms.
One of my first memories with food was with Nana. We use to eat kiwi together. She's bounce me on her knee and we'd talk and eat that funny green fruit with black dots.
She always had perfect bananas. We'd call them, "Nana's Bananas." No banana eaten at her house was ever too green or too brown. They were always perfect.
We'd bake. Cookies. Cakes. Brownies. Pies. Anything sweet. I've always had a sweet tooth and being the great grandmother she was, she'd always encourage it.
Nana would send me articles from her local central Texas newspaper on vegetarinism, or recipes that were vegan, or easily could be. She'd send me recipes for yeast free breads, cook from vegan cook books. She was so excited when she found her mom's "wacky cake" recipe to send to me. I think her's was called, "no egg or milk cake."

She understood my vegetarianism. When I went vegan she sat me down to talk about it. I was afraid it was going to be a scolding, but it wasn't. She said when she was in nursing school she learn how milk isn't that great for the body and how one doesn't really need meat. She didn't understand not eating eggs. I explained how veganism is about animals and equality and she just hugged me and said she was so proud of me for being compassionate.

But the point of this post is about Nana's love for chocolate. I didn't really come to love chocolate until I became vegan. I'd find vegan chocolates for her we could share. This September I was planning on visiting her for her birthday and making some handmade chocolates, but it was too late to even tell her about my plans. I never should have waited to tell her or ask all the questions I still have about her life. It happened without warning.
In my grieving today I decided to make a triple chocolate truffle in honor of my Nana who loved me no matter what and who I loved so dearly. Though she didn't die by chocolate, the name is catchy.

This is for you Nana. I love you and you will be missed.ingredients: cashews, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, chocolate chips, vanilla, a chocolate bar I found in the refrigerator, and probably a few tears.