15 March 2011

This is why I bake.

For how much I love to cook, baking is another story. It's so much easier (and quicker), but I was never a big enough fan of sweets to make it worth it. Until I had these two to bake for the last few years.

Pamela and Heidi love their healthy Vegan sweet treats, and they are both willing to try anything, so it's impossible not to want to bake for them. These girls are the sisters I never had, and amazing employees. (They make every day at work easier - and more enjoyable. Truly!) The least I can do is bring them goodies! Maybe I'm an enabler, and they are certainly far too nice with feedback on my "experiments", but it's 100 times more fulfilling than baking for myself.

The first batch this time was Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from How It All Vegan. A spicy cookie? How could I not love it?

Even making them gluten-free (I used brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour), these cookies were delish. Just spicy enough with the cayenne, cardamom, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon - and just sweet enough with the rolled oats, banana, and raisins. (One lesson: the 1/2 tsp of pepper needs to be finely ground, NOT from a pepper mill. The one time going gourmet does not pay off.)

These little nuggets got better each day - the flavors melded and they were less crumbly. I was glad I kept some for myself for once! Definitely a win, especially with a few tweaks for next time.

Cookie batch #2 was Chocolate Chip Bars, also from HIAV. I've been loving the Vegan dark chocolate chips lately - even just a few satisfy the chocolate cravings. However, this was one time my healthy substitutions didn't pay off. I used 2/3 whole wheat flour instead of only all-purpose. (Although, the author always lists "flour" without a specific recommendation. I just assume the average person uses all-purpose for baking, since it's generally tastier despite it's lack of nutrients.) Just a little too bland with all the whole wheat (for a such a "cake-y" and dry cookie).

Then I wanted to try out my stevia baking mix by NuNaturals. I had to guesstimate on the stevia measurement, since the container had some cryptic equivalency chart. I guessed too low, since these were definitely not sweet enough. (Even for me.) And generally, I'm a fan of stevia's earthy sweetness.

Here's why these girls are worth baking for: they loved these treasures, despite any hiccups there might have been. (Or they did a great job convincing me, because they were too nice not to.) Regardless, one lesson I've never mastered is to never apologize for your cooking. And I guess this showed me, once again, that most of what you'll make is better than you'll give it credit for.

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