Compost Cookies

I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but every once in awhile I will come across a recipe that seems so unusual that I just have to try it. This occasional urge has been the impetus for some very different foods occasionally showing up in my kitchen; a “turkey” made out of carefully moulded tofu, a cake with tomato soup as the secret ingredient. So when I saw these cookies, I knew I had to try them.

They look normal enough, right?

Compost cookies

The secret ingredients: Potato chips, pretzels, and coffee.

I know, right?

These are Compost Cookies, an unusual cookie which first appeared at the Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City, and which was adapted and veganised by the author of the Runner’s Kitchen blog.

Incidently, and hilariously, I just noticed that I photographed my cookies on the exact same type of plate as the Runner’s Kitchen did. I photographed mine while I was staying at my brother’s home in Ontario and I’m not entirely sure if he inherited those plates from our grandmother or from our neighbour, but I have a theory that everyone in North America gets assigned a set of those plates once they reach a certain age.

Compost cookies

I’ve adapted the recipe from RK’s adaptation, so I have no idea if it’s anything at all like the Momofuku cookie at this point. But it is delicious. I’ve made it twice, once in a thin crunchy style and once in a soft chewy style. Here’s how it’s done.

Vegan Compost Cookies

1/2 cup hard margarine, such as Earth Balance (for chewy cookies)

OR 1/4 cup shortening and 1/4 cup soft spreadable margarine, such as Becel Vegan (for crunchy cookies)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 Tbs ground flax seeds
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup oats
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 BIG handful of chips, roughly crushed
2 oz. pretzels, roughly crushed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Can double this amount if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

With a mixer, cream together the margarine, sugar, and instant coffee powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and the water until smooth, and add the vanilla extract. Fold the flax mixture into the margarine & sugar.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (oats through chocolate chips). Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. If the batter isn’t holding together well, try chilling the batter for about 20 minutes

Scoop rounded Tablespoons of batter on to the cookie sheet and bake for about 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. (Note: I moulded my cookies by hand, using wet hands to keep the dough from sticking).

The cookies made with becel and shortening will spread so make sure they have plenty of spreading room or they will all join together. The cookies made with earth balance will more or less hold their shape, so make sure they are flat enough before you put them in the oven.

Cool on the baking sheet for a minute or so and then transfer to a wire cooling rack

My brother’s dog Katie was checking out the cookies as I tried to take photos:

K-dawg checking out the cookies

She’s really a pretty dog but it’s hard to tell from the photo! Here she is playing with a Halloween gourd she swiped off the front porch.

Katie and her gourd


Tutti Frutti Cookies

Tutti-frutti Cookies

Back when I was surfing the net, trying to find uses for my giant can of custard powder, I happened upon a bunch of lovely Indian cooking blogs. It seems that there are a lot of varieties of custard powder over there and they make their way into all sorts of baked goods, such as cookies and cakes. Another ingredient that kept showing up on the Indian cooking blogs was a mysterious one called tutti frutti.

I think I first saw tutti frutti as an ingredient sprinkled liberally on top of a loaf cake. The name “tutti frutti” made me think at first that it must be a brand of candy, and it was so colourful it did look a little like it could have been finely chopped gumdrops. But when it started to show up in fruitcake recipes, I thought that tutti frutti must be glace fruit, those little colourful bits of cherries and citron peels that sometimes make their way into North American baking.

I was wrong on both counts. Tutti frutti, it turns out, is dried papaya.

I’ve never baked with dried papaya before. My only previous experience with it was as the tiny bits of ultra-sweet papaya that are sometimes found in trail mixes. I remember loving it but only in small amounts since it was too sweet even for my taste buds – which is saying a lot, since generally I have the sugar threshold of a five year old.

I went to the Indian grocery store in my neighbourhood in search of tutti frutti, but was unable to find any at all. Chinese grocery store to the rescue:


Not one, but two brands of dried papaya. I bought both, since each was a different colour and the multi-colours of tutti frutti appealed to me. I was going to make tutti frutti myself!

Papaya chunks

The orange papaya slices on the left are the Dan-D-Pak brand, and the yellow chunks are the R&M brand. The main differences seem to be that the Dan-D-Pak papaya have food colours and sulphur ingredients added, which some of the health foodies may be averse to. But I’ll eat pretty much anything if it isn’t an animal, so I tasted both to see if I could determine any other differences.

I was surprised by how mild both brands of papaya tasted. Neither were as sweet as the type I used to get. I was also surprised by how much softer the R&M papaya was than the Dan-D-Pak – I thought the chunks would be chewier, but they were soft and easy to slice with a knife. The Dan-D-Pak papaya was chewy, though, and kept sticking to my knife as I tried to dice it.

But I managed:

Papaya bits

Mixed papaya bits

Now that I had my “tutti frutti”, it was time to bake something. I had the perfect thing in mind, too. Eggless Tutti Frutti Cookies from SailusFoods. I altered the recipe just a little.

Tutti Frutti Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup custard powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup liquid (water or soymilk, etc)

Chopped bits of papaya or other dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix into dough. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more liquid. If the dough is too soft, chill it for a bit. Using hands, form the cookies by rolling between the hands and flattening slightly.

Garnish with the dried fruit; I brushed the cookies with almond milk first to help the fruit stick better.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack. Nom happily.

Yielded 24 small cookies

Tutti-frutti Cookies

Gumdrop Cookies

I baked another batch of cookies last night.

I know, I know, I just baked cookies, but those peanut butter cookies were such a disaster that I had to make up for it by baking something actually delicious. I had the perfect recipe in mind, too.

I was surfing the Internet when I happened to stumble onto Hungry Happenings’ recipe for gumdrop cookies. They looked so bright and cheerful, in a retro sort of way; like something maybe my grandmother would have baked for a church bazaar once upon a time.

Gumdrop Cookies

Thanks to these cookies, I learned a lot about candy over the last day or so. I bought a bag of jujubes at the grocery store, and only thought to google “gumdrops” AFTER I got home with my groceries. That’s where I learned that apparently gumdrops and jujubes are not quite the same thing, but that they are fairly close. Actually, it might be that the only difference is that gumdrops tend to be coated in sugar, but jujubes generally aren’t.

Either way, both gumdrops and jujubes are chewy candies which may be soft or quite firm, and they are typically fruit flavoured, although they can also come in licorice, spearmint, and cinnamon flavours. Apparently in the USA, it is possible to get a gumdrop variant called a spicedrop, and these come in flavours like cardamom, cloves, and ginger. They’d be a good addition to a fruitcake or a gingerbread. The other thing I learned is that Jujubes in the USA refer to one specific brand of candy. Here in Canada, a jujube is pretty much any gummy fruity candy.

Vegetarians and vegans, take note; these candies may contain ingredients like gelatin (connective tissue), or food colourings such as carmine and cochineal (red insects, both!) Take care to check ingredient labels and hopefully you can find a candy made with pectin (fruit) or carnauba wax (palm tree).

All right, on with the recipe!

Gumdrop Cookies

Gumdrop Cookies

8 oz of gumdrop/jujube/fruit slice candy
1/4 cup of sugar to coat the candy, plus 3/4 cup for the dough
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of vegan margarine (I used half Earth Balance and half Becel Vegan)
Enough water to make a smooth dough, about ¼ cup

Pre-heat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Measure 1/4 cup of sugar into a bowl. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut the candy into pieces, and mix the candy pieces in with the sugar to keep them from sticking too much to one another.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, egg replacer powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in half of the gumdrop candies, along with any sugar in the bottom of the gumdrop bowl.

Measure the 3/4 cup of sugar, the margarine, the vanilla, and half of the water into another bowl. Mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture, and continue to stir or mix with the hands until smooth, adding the rest of the water if necessary to get a smooth dough.

The cookies won’t spread out well in the oven, so roll the dough into small balls and then press them down with the palm of your hand until they are as flat as you like them. Use the remaining gumdrops to fill in any bare spots on top of the cookies.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until very light brown on the bottom.

Makes 24 cookies.

Veganised and adapted from Hungry Happenings. Go take a look at her blog more information about these cookies and for some very lovely photographs! She has great ideas for decorating them, flattening them, and storing them.

Cutie Vegan Bento Sugar Cookies

Penguin :)

Not a recipe today, but some fun ideas and photos.

It all started when I was shopping at Yoko Yaya, a Japanese store in Vancouver where you can buy most things for a twoonie (or for two dollars, as Non-Canadians would probably say).

That’s where I found these adorable bento food cutters:

Bento thingies

These are for making children’s lunches; the idea is that you use the cutters to cut lunchmeat, cheese, egg, or seaweed into fun shapes to decorate rice balls, sandwiches, etc.

See? The back of it gives instructions;

“It is completion if it decorates it with the ham and the cheese. etc.”

Anyhoo. I have a sweet tooth. And while I may someday try to use these to make fun vegan bento lunches, a much sweeter idea popped into my head…

Cutie Vegan Bento Sugar Cookies

I found my copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza and opened it up to her recipe for amazingly soft sugar cookies. I mixed up a batch of dough and divided it, massaging a different food colour into each portion except for one.

I made my kitchen a mess

…making a huge mess of my kitchen in the process.

I used the un-coloured portion to cut rounds out of.

Cutting the dough....

And then I rolled out portions of the coloured dough. Now comes the fun part, if you’re anything like me. But if you aren’t someone who enjoys creating elaborate sweets in the kitchen, this is the tedious part.

Mmmm food colours

As you can see, I roll my dough out on wax paper to make it easier to clean the flour off of my work surface when I am done.

I used the cutters to make little animals for the cookies. It only took a bit of water to make them stick. Here they are before I baked them.

Before baking

I didn’t give all of them pupils because the placement of the sprinkles was tricky. I need to buy a pair of tweezers to use specifically for placing decorations on baked goods. I placed those ones with my hands because I knew my friends would not appreciate me using the tweezers from my bathroom – as you can see, I gave up after putting pupils on two cookies.

Now, the thing about this sugar cookie recipe is this; they do make soft and chewy sugar cookies that aren’t too sweet and roll out beautifully, and they hold their shape while baking. All of these are good things, of course, but they aren’t terribly flavourful on their own. This particular recipe needs frosting to really make them shine. So with that in mind, I also baked a batch of plain round cookies, and then sandwiched the animal cookies on top of them using the basic “buttercream” frosting recipe, with lemon zest added. The finished cookies were so much fun to twist apart and eat!

Here is the batch I baked for my friend Rhean.

A gift for a friend

I hope she enjoyed them! What creative things do you do with sugar cookie dough?