Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Almond Butter Cookies

I made up this recipe using the principals from Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio: Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.  You can listen to an NPR interview with Michael here.

I don't own the book, yet, but I am dying to get it.  Basically, there are ratios behind cooking that, if you're familiar with them, can free you from a cookbook a little more often, and allow for more experimentation.

For example, to bake bread, the ratio of flour to water tends to be 5:3.  That's 5 parts flour, 3 parts water.  Plus a little yeast and salt of course.

Add fat (like oil or butter) and you get pie crust.  The pie crust ratio is 3 parts flour : 1 part water : 2 parts fat.  Add a little sugar, and you've got a sweet pie crust.  Leave out the sugar in favor of herbs, and you've got a savory pie crust.  And so on.

The cookie ratio is 3 parts flour : 2 parts fat : 1 part sugar.  Using this ratio, I created a recipe for oatmeal raisin almond butter cookies.  My only complaint with my recipe is that the cookies aren't chewy; their texture is closer to a sort of crispy shortbread.  When I eat oatmeal raisin and/or nut butter cookies, I want them chewy!  But I've had this complaint with most vegan cookie recipes I've tried.

Having eaten chewy vegan cookies, I know my goal is obtainable.  So there will be MUCH cookie tweaking to come!  Does anyone know how I can make my vegan cookies chewy?  If so, please share.  I've used canned pumpkin before with good results.  But these are not pumpkin cookies.

Here's my recipe, and I hope to revisit it after more experimentation.  The flavor was great - all my cookies are missing is a little chewiness.

One more thing: I used agave nectar and molasses in place of sugar.  I always use agave nectar in baking.  I love its smooth, buttery sweetness.  But when you substitute sugar with agave nectar, remember that for every 1 cup of sugar you omit, you should use 3/4 cup of agave, and reduce all other liquids by 1/3.

Oatmeal Raisin Almond Butter Cookies:
1 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 c oats
3/4 c canola oil
1/3 c agave
1 Tbs blackstrap molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c almond butter
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together.  Stir in oats.  Pour in oil, agave nectar, molasses, vanilla, and almond butter. Stir to combine. Stir in raisins and almonds. Spoon onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool before transferring.

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