Saturday, August 6, 2011

Baking Bonanza

Yesterday morning, my son and I were puttering around the house, trying to think of something fun to do. Well, at least I was puttering around - my son was contentedly plopped on the living room floor, hoovering some Kashi cereal and watching Curious George. What to do, what to do. Then, I had a flash of inspiration...

"Hey, you want to cook with Mommy....again?"

Hey, I didn't say it was a flash of genius, or creativity, or ingenuity. I mean, it's not like we didn't just cook together a few days ago. But we'd had a lot of fun, and I was feeling ready for our second cooking session. My son happily agreed and dragged a chair over to the kitchen counter.

I was feeling very ambitious. I decided we would tackle not one, not two, but three different recipes. I wanted to make some waffles to freeze for easy breakfasts; some quick bread for easy snacks; and some more healthy cookies, because, well, who doesn't love cookies?!

I knew the waffles would take forever to make, so I decided to start with them. I opened Vegan Brunch to our favorite recipe, Gingerbread Waffles. Spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, these molasses-sweetened treats are a big hit in my household. Here, get close and take a whiff...

While the waffles were cooking, we started on our next recipe, Ginger-Molasses Bread with Blueberries from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I guess I was in a gingery-molasses-y kind-of-mood yesterday, I don't know. Anyway, my son was thoroughly perplexed when we made vegan "buttermilk" by mixing soy milk and cider vinegar together. He couldn't understand why his beloved beverage started to look so...curdled. Fortunately, he didn't dwell on this too long. Once I gave him a wooden spoon and a measuring cup loaded with blueberries, he was one happy camper.

But let's face it...while he was happy to be helping make the bread, what he really wanted to do was make the cookies. So, after we got the batter made and put the bread in the oven, it was cookie time.

When it comes to cookies, I don't mess around. I don't bake all that often, but when I do, I want the cookies to be good. I mean, gooooooood. There's no one I trust more for cookie awesomeness than the cookie queen herself, Dreena Burton. Seriously, the woman knows her cookies. Her recipes are very specific in terms of how long to cook, how long to keep them on the cookie sheet after they come out of the oven, and how big to make them. If you follow her directions, you're sure to come out with delicious cookies every time. As a bonus, her cookies are usually loaded with healthy ingredients, like whole-grain flours, natural sweeteners, and superfoods like chia and hemp. In short, they're yummy cookies I feel good about giving my son!

We got to work on making the Super-Charge Me! Cookies from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. These cookies contain oats, whole-grain flour, coconut, raisins, carob chips, maple syrup, and almond butter. Yum!

Soon after, we had the cookies in the oven, the bread in the toaster oven, and waffles coming off the waffle iron. It smelled heavenly in the kitchen!

Witness our bounty: first, the gingerbread waffles, cooling on the rack:
A close-up of a Super-Charge Me! Cookie:
And more of his little friends:
Finally, the Ginger-Molasses Bread with Blueberries was ready:

By this time, J and I were hungry from all our cooking. He wanted to try some of the bread, so I cut us each a piece and slathered them with some Earth Balance.
That's his Buzz Lightyear plate, BTW. Not mine.

I took a bite, and know what this reminded me of? Brown bread. That wonderful, mysterious bread-in-a-can that adorned many a meal in my childhood. I can't even think of hot dogs and baked beans without thinking of big slabs of brown bread, fried in butter and then smeared with cream cheese. Mmmmm. This bread had that same delicious dark sweetness and crispy texture, minus the rings that came from being molded into a can. I am totally digging the molasses-and-cornmeal combination. There needs to be more of this in my life. Molasses and cornmeal smoothie, perhaps?

No baking today, though. My hubby and I are running the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Providence tomorrow, and we spent today getting our gear at the Expo and visiting my parents, who will be watching our son while we run. Wish us luck!


Hannah said...

Ah, I haven't been baking nearly enough lately... Between school work and the heat, it's been hard to get motivated. Your photos make me want to get back to it, though! Good thing the semester just ended at least. :)

Bethany said...

School in the summer?!?! Yuck!! Not so much fun, but it must feel great to knock out a bunch of classes in such a short period of time :) Hopefully you can get back in the kitchen soon and wow us with your culinary creations!!