Teresa’s Vegan Lime Cookies

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A little about my family… my mom grew up with 9 siblings which means that, although I rarely get to see them because most live far away, I have aunts, uncles, and cousins aplenty! With that said though, there’s one particular family member who stands out from them all and that is my aunt Teresa!

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It’s no secret that she’s my favorite and for good reason -she’s like a 2nd mom to me. We’re pen pals (yeah, people still do that), we Skype or text as frequently as we can, and whenever she’s in town we always laugh our butts off. So when it came around to figuring out what to get her for Christmas I couldn’t think of anything better than a recipe made in her honor. The gift of food is, in my opinion, one hell of a gift because food is love, food is time, and food is comfort. But shhh… this is our little secret for now, okay? Why? Because, as of this very moment, I haven’t had a chance to bake up another batch to send to her yet -Christmas came up on me so fast, y’all. She’ll get her gift soon enough though, I promise, but until then hush-hush!

Okay, so what recipe did I create to honor my aunt Teresa? Lime cookies! She absolutely loves anything lime and a cookie is easy enough to send in the mail versus say a cake or something like that. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness -they don’t shy away from the lime flavor! They’re a little crisp on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside, and have a crunch factor to them thanks to the addition of macadamia nuts. Refreshing and delicious, I’m sure they could be classified as a cure for the winter doldrums, plus they’re easy to make!

It all gets started with some wet ingredients! In a large bowl, 2 kinds of sugar along with some “butter,” lime juice, lime extract, and Ener-G get combined until smooth. The dry ingredients then get added, including of course some flour and lime zest, and then the whole thing gets stirred again to combine.

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Now it’s time to add in those glorious macadamia nuts. My grocery store only had whole macadamia nuts so I had to do a little chopping but, if you can find the chopped ones, get those and yo’self save some time. Obviously, if you aren’t a fan of this particular nut, or nuts in general, you could omit these but I personally think the cookie is better with them -cookies need varying textures generally to be good. If you wanted to you could also tweak this recipe a bit to include say some vegan white chocolate chips, or some coconut, if you wanted to go and get really crazy with it!

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Once the nuts have been thoroughly folded into the dough, the next step is to scoop out your cookies onto a large sheet pan that you’ve lined with parchment paper. I like to use a cookie scoop to make sure all of my cookies are the same size. (For these I used a 1.5″ cookie scoop which yielded me 31 cookies!) The dough gets baked off in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just ever so slightly starting to brown.

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When the cookies are done, let them rest for 2-3 minutes on the pan until they have firmed up just enough that they can be transferred with ease to a cooling rack where they can cool down the rest of the way.

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Teresa's Vegan Lime Cookies

  • Servings: about 31 (2.5-inch) cookies
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of vegan “butter,” softened
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 large limes should be able to provide this but be sure to zest the limes before you juice them because we will need their zest too!)
  • 2 tablespoons lime extract
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg (follow instructions on box)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Zest from 2 large limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. Set pan aside for a moment. In a large bowl, combine the two sugars with the softened “butter,” lime juice, lime extract, and Ener-G. Stir or whisk until smooth. When smooth, add in the flour, lime zest, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until everything is combined then fold in the chopped macadamia nuts.
  2. Using a 1.5″ cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place it onto the pan you prepared a moment ago leaving about 2-3 inches between each ball of cookie dough. Transfer the pan to your preheated 350 degree oven and bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just ever so slightly starting to brown.
  3. When the cookies are done, let them rest for 2-3 minutes on the pan to firm up enough to allow you to transfer them with ease to a cooling rack where they can cool down the rest of the way. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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Vegan Burnt Caramel Frosting

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Sweet, buttery, and a little toasty -that’s what this frosting is.

It was inspired by my mom who asked me to make her a chocolate cake with caramel frosting for her birthday. I knew that I could totally handle the chocolate cake part but the caramel frosting part? I hadn’t made vegan caramel before, let alone attempted a caramel frosting. Thrown for a loop, I decided to turn to that wonderful world of information that we call the internet where I learned that you can make vegan caramel using unsweetened, full fat coconut milk. With a little tweaking on the ideas I found online, I managed to come up with a recipe for a caramel frosting that has a slightly burnt, toasty flavor to it which contrasts nicely with the overall sweetness.

Now, it’s not the quickest frosting to make but it is pretty easy.

First things first, you’re gonna grab a small pot and pop it onto your stove over medium-high heat. Pour in a can of coconut milk and then add in some vegan “butter,” a little brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Whisk everything together then bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for 3 minutes, whisking frequently, then reduce the heat to simmer. Here’s where the time factor comes into play -you’re going to let this simmer for 1 hour, whisking it about every 8-10 minutes.

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When an hour has passed, add in a dash of vanilla then carefully transfer the mixture to a stand mixer, or to a large bowl that you can use a hand mixer in. With the mixer speed set to low, slowly add in powdered sugar (scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl as needed) until the desired consistency is reached.

Since I was frosting a 13×9 cake, which was remaining in it’s pan, I opted to kept the frosting on the softer side adding only 2 cups of powdered sugar to it. If you’re using this frosting for cupcakes or cookies though, where it needs to really stay in place, you’re going to want to add more powdered sugar. And no, this isn’t one of those frosting recipes that makes 3 gallons of frosting. Why? Because this isn’t a lay-it-on-thick kind of frosting in the first place. Keep it light, keep it simple, and you’ll enjoy it more, I promise.

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Vegan Burnt Caramel Frosting

  • Servings: enough to frost a 13x9 cake
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can of unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 a stick of vegan “butter”
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a small pot over medium-high heat, combine coconut milk with “butter,” brown sugar, and salt. Whisk everything together then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 3 minutes, whisking frequently. After 3 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, whisking occasionally.
  2. Turn the heat off and add in the vanilla. Carefully transfer the mixture to a stand mixer, or to a large bowl that you can use a hand mixer in. With the mixer speed set to low, add in the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. For a softer frosting, for a non-layered cake, add 2 cups of powdered sugar. For a more stiff frosting, for layered cakes, cupcakes, or cookies, add a little more powdered sugar until you reach the consistency desired. (And no, this isn’t one of those frosting recipes that makes 3 gallons of frosting. Why? Because this isn’t a lay-it-on-thick kind of frosting in the first place. Keep it light, keep it simple, and you’ll enjoy it more, I promise.)

Vegan Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

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Ah, chocolate chip cookies. The cookie which seems to be on everyone’s list was never really a favorite of mine -until I went vegan, that is. A couple months into going vegan I found myself craving baked good goodness. (Say that 10 times fast!) I ended up discovering a whole section in the dairy case at WF devoted to vegan (and some gluten free) cookie dough. Every time I bought one of these little tubs of yum I had every intention on baking up all of the dough, but it never failed that every raw bit of it ended up being scooped into my mouth by the spoonful. #NoShame

Eventually I managed to drop the spoon and let the oven do it’s thing long enough to have actual chocolate chip cookies, and that’s when I began to fall in love. However, me being the ever unsatisfied, tortured-artist-esque, slightly OCD perfectionist that I am, I had to figure out a way to do one of America’s favorite cookies my way. (Which is the better way. Most of the time.)

First things first I knew that it had to be 100% vegan (obvi). I also knew that I wanted the recipe to be just like mom used to make -my mom, not yours. Then came the flash of brilliance -nuts. Pecans, to be precise. And that’s how my like-mom-used-to-make, 100% vegan, chocolate chip pecan cookies came to be. They’re simple, classic, and oh-so-good.

Whether you choose to shovel spoonfuls of raw dough in your mouth (no judgement), or manage to bake up the whole batch, is up to you. Either way, I’m sure you’ll love this recipe and I’m sure your non-vegan family and friends will love it too –mine do! Best of all, nobody would ever guess that they’re vegan (by look or taste) so if you feel the urge to drop the v-bomb on your unsuspecting audience just as they bite into your baked deliciousness you might get a, “No way!” And who doesn’t love that?

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The first step is to combine the dry ingredients. Once combined, set them aside and get the wet ingredients combined.

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Getting the wet ingredients combined begins with creaming the vegan butter together with the 2 sugars. I used my stand mixer for this step but you could do this by hand if you wanted to.

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Once you’ve achieved creamy glory you then can add in the vanilla and the egg substitute. For most of the baking I do I prefer to use Ener-G which gets mixed with water (see below). Follow the instructions on the box for the quantity your recipe (in this case, this recipe) calls for, and don’t worry if you’ve got some clumps -the mixer will work those out for you.

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After all of your wet ingredients have been combined you can then add the dry to the wet. I add it a 1/2 cup at a time while my mixer is on it’s lowest speed. After all of the dry has been added in I then turn the mixer up a notch or two for just just a few seconds to make sure the dough is smooth and well combined.

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Now you can add in the chocolate chips and the pecans but be sure to fold those in together by hand so as to not overwork your dough. To transform the raw dough into cookies (should you wish to do that) I first use a 1.5″ cookie scoop to get a little dough.

Using a cookie scoop is not necessary (you could just use a spoon or two) but I highly recommend you use one. Using a cookie scoop helps to insure that all of your cookies are the same size so that they all bake up at the same time. And it’s not like cookie scoops are super expensive. And they’re fun to use. And they’re shiny. Okay, I’m done now, but seriously get yo’self one.

Plop your ball of dough out into the palm of your hand and then form it into a flattened disk.

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Place the disks on 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets (aka sheet pans), fairly close together but not touching. They will spread but only ever so slightly so you can pack them in pretty good. Bake ’em off and you’re almost done.

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Once you’ve taken them out of the oven you must resist the urge to grab one right away. They need to rest for a bit (10-15 minutes) on the pan so that they don’t just fall apart in your hand -unless that’s what you’re going for, I mean. You do you, boo.

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Once they’ve had a good rest you can then transfer them to an airtight container, where they’ll keep for about 3 days, or simply transfer them to your mouth while they’re still a little warm and melty.

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

  • Servings: about 40 (3-inch) cookies
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks of vegan butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Substitute for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare 2 cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer cream the butter together with the 2 sugars until smooth and creamy. About 1 minute on low-medium speed. Add in the egg replacer and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute to combine.
  4. With mixer on lowest speed, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, a 1/2 cup at a time. Allow each addition to work in a little before adding the next. When all of the dry mixture has been added turn the speed up 1 or 2 levels for just 1 minute more.
  5. Remove bowl from stand mixer and by hand, fold in the chocolate chips and the pecans.
  6. Using a 1.5″ cookie scoop, scoop out a ball of dough into your hand then form it into a flattened disk shape. Place the disks onto your cookie sheets then bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cookies will still be a little soft and lightly golden-brown on the bottom when they’re done.
  7. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to an airtight container. Cookies will keep fresh for about 3 days when stored properly.