Tag Archives: holiday recipes

The case for vegan Christmas cookies

By Paula Moore

Of all the foods associated with the holiday season, cookies may be the most ubiquitous — and the best-loved. They’re easy to make and fun to eat and instantly put everyone in a better mood. What’s a holiday office potluck or party for friends without plates piled high with rugelach and spiced snickerdoodles?

But what if all those batches of sugar cookies and gingerbread folk could do more than bring holiday revelers brief moments of cheer? What if they could help promote peace on Earth?

Don’t believe it? It’s true. You really can help foster an atmosphere of goodwill to all—by swapping out the eggs and butter in traditional recipes and using vegan ingredients in their place. In the process, you’ll also be giving your guests some food for thought.

As vegan television star Christina Pirello, from the PBS show Christina Cooks, says, “Cookies are the most benign, noncontroversial way to start conversations” about what we eat. “When presented with a chocolate chip cookie, most people will not turn up their nose, even if told it’s vegan. And if a ‘healthful’ cookie turns out to be yummy, the door is open for discussion.”

And there’s a lot to discuss when it comes to delicious vegan cookies and other baked goods. Not only do they contain none of the animal fat or cholesterol found in eggs and dairy products, they also spare animals enormous suffering on factory farms.

Virtually all hens used by the egg industry spend their entire lives in cages so cramped that they can’t even spread a single wing. They never get to breathe fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or engage in any natural behavior.

Cows on dairy farms are typically forced to stand all day on hard concrete or in manure-laden dirt. And since they produce milk only to nourish their calves, farmers keep them pregnant or lactating from the moment they become sexually mature by artificially inseminating them.

The male offspring of chickens and cows are useless to the egg and dairy industries. Male chicks are discarded shortly after birth—often by being thrown into high-speed grinders while they’re still alive. Calves are often torn away from their loving mothers within a day or two, causing both extreme distress. Mother cows are known to call out for their lost calves for days afterward. The male calves are sold to the veal industry, which keeps them confined to tiny crates, while females are sentenced to the same sad fate as their mothers.

If all that’s a little too heavy for holiday party conversation, just mention that when you use vegan options instead of raw eggs in recipes, you can sneak a bite (or three) of cookie dough without fear of salmonella poisoning.

Vegan baking substitutions are as easy as they are compassionate. For instance, instead of cow’s milk, just use an equal amount of soy or almond milk. If a recipe calls for buttermilk, add a little apple cider vinegar to your nondairy milk. One tablespoonful of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoonfuls of water is a tried-and-true egg replacement. Look online for other vegan baking tips. These simple substitutions won’t change the taste of your holiday favorites, and no one will know they’re vegan—unless you tell them.

But remember, everything in moderation—including vegan chocolate candy cane cookies. If you do overindulge in jam-filled thumbprint cookies and macaroons, there is some good news: Eating vegan can also be your best ally in the battle of the bulge come the new year.

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From PETA.ORG:

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Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup vegan margarine
1 cup sugar
Egg Replacer equivalent to 1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
5 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves

In a large bowl, cream the vegan margarine and the sugar. Mix in the egg replacer, molasses, and vinegar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients.
Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and remove to a wire rack.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Chef Joey – always in style! … Home for the Holidays … to make Gingerbread

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Text and photos by Chef Joey

Home for the Holidays – that seems to sum up what everyone wants, or thinks is the best, or so the song says.

But what exactly is “home”?

According to Webster’s Dictionary it is a “domicile” “House” “workplace” and even a “Habitat,” say where fish return home to spawn. Even they have a favorite spot!

Where ever it may be, home is a place of grounding, whether it be an apartment, a house, rented space or even a nursing home. One needs to have a place of one’s own. Nothing is more important than that, especially during the holidays.

This is one of those holidays that reaches into the depths of our memories, the Santa Claus watching us all year, the Elf on the Shelf scampering around to new hiding places. All this cerebral fun, combined with transferring the “Home” into an ornament filled room, awash with lights and color. And there has to be some heirloom decoration that comes out just for this time period.

Holiday trees are plentiful on many corners, having grown for the last 10 or so years to be cut, transported, marketed and sold for $15 to those who dare take the chance it will last the Holiday. Others prefer the safe “fake” tree …

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… that stands just as majestically as a real one, but does come back year to year and eventually becomes an heirloom itself. …

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On a brief note, because of space constraints, Europeans generally decorate a fir branch in their homes to celebrate the solstice, when fermented beverages from the summer were ready to consume and animals were slaughtered and stored for winter meals. Three tops were used to save the rest of the tree. Early decorations were edible items as well – dried apples, cookies etc.

My European grandmother would place a branch on the mantle in the dining room and decorate it with a few ribbons, and a candle ended up there. Simple and yet elegant.

The common thread for all these definitions is, of course food. Even the fishes have to eat! We, however, have cheese dips, even cheese Christmas trees! …

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… cookies …

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… cakes and favorite meals …

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Gift swapping, too. People in homes run by caretakers have the advantage of enjoying continual celebrations. Work places always have some kind of holiday party and private residences are always cozy. Christmas recipes tend to indulge more the sugary side. Confections seem to go very well with this holiday.

Cookies go back to the Middle Ages when spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg made their appearances. Cinnamon cakes, nutmeg beverages and various ginger cookies and cakes started appearing.

Ginger and Gingerbread Men and Gingerbread Houses

Surprisingly, most gingerbread items have changed very little since then, right down to the molasses that was cheaper than sugar. The birth of the “Gingerbread Man” was for Queen Elizabeth the 1st, who had the cookies made for her favorite advisors. Giving a cookie became the thing to do because in medieval times it was hard for working people to procure dried fruits and nuts, and when they did it was for an important event like Christmas. So the making of cakes and puddings would be the priority and hard to share. So using your butter and lard to make a batch of cookies or cakes was less expensive, therefore people would share a “cookie” or a cake with friends and neighbors during the holiday season.

Now we have gift cards.

One time I painstakingly made a Gingerbread House for the holidays, as my parents were coming to the states from France to visit me. They came into my house directly from the airport. I showed them my Gingerbread House, all proud – it was complete with frosted shingles and gumdrops!

My mom said, “Oh how pretty” and ripped a corner off the roof and ate it.

When I protested, she said, “It’s ginger bread – use cardboard if you don’t want people to eat it. You make cakes and cut them. What’s the difference?”

Good point. I got over it.

Germany had a lot to do with confections, but mainly breads. The French had cakes. This being New “England,” we have Christmas puddings and English-like holiday treats. Of course, immigration has brought holiday traditions for families to America, and no shocker, they all involve food!

Whatever your tradition, I hope you enjoy it in a happy, healthy way and celebrate with others if you can – it makes for a nice time. Our common thread? We are all still kids at heart!

Gingerbread

Here is a gingerbread recipe that is quick, easy and tasty. It takes less than one hour to make and can be served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

2 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp nutmeg *you can use allspice

2 tsp for cinnamon cloves and nutmeg blend

½ cup melted butter

¾ cup molasses

¼ cup water

1 egg

1 cup whole milk or buttermilk for thicker bread

Heat oven to 350 – grease a 9 x 9 pan or cup cake liners (6).

Mix all the dry ingredients together, add the butter and molasses to a bowl and sift in the dry ingredients (everything up to the butter from the top).

Stir, adding water.

Mix the egg and milk together, add to your batter, mix well and pour into the pan or tins.

Bake 30 minutes or so for cake and 15 to 18 minutes for cupcakes.

Test with a toothpick for doneness.

Remove from the oven – let stand – turn the cake out on a cooking rack, cut into pieces and serve!

Enjoy!

Homemade Christmas cookies!

Vegan style! From PETA.ORG:

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Holiday Cookies!

Cherry-Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Egg Replacer equivalent of 2 eggs
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz. maraschino cherries, chopped

•Preheat the oven to 350°F.

•In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

•In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, and egg replacer mixture. Stir in the flour mixture and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix.

•Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes approximately 40 cookies

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

4 oz. soy margarine
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup pecans, chopped

•Preheat oven to 325°F.

•Cream the margarine and the brown sugar then stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour then the pecans and mix until combined (the mixture will be crumbly).

•Use your hands to roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place the balls on greased baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm and browned on bottoms.

•If desired, sprinkle additional brown sugar on top prior to baking.

Makes approximately 24 small cookies

Going to a Thanksgiving feast on Sunday and (part 2) on Thanksgiving Day!

Can’t wait! Special times! I love the way the parents dress up their babies and little kids, I love seeing the young faces pressed against the old faces!

Here, at ICT, Chef Joey has his “babies” looking stylish for the holidays, too! He is cooking up a new Thanksgiving recipe just for you, to be posted ASAP! – R.T. photos:Chef Joey

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Vinny!

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Abby!

From PETA.ORG:

STAY WARM!

Want to whip up some tasty holiday drinks? Get your favorite mugs ready and check out these recipes:

Spiced Cider

1 gallon apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 orange, thinly sliced

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cover.

Heat to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain into a large punch bowl.

Serve hot or cold.

Hot Spiced Cranberry Punch

2 qts. cranberries
2 qts. water
1 cup maple syrup
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 lemon, cut into thin slices
1 cup orange juice
1 dash nutmeg

Cook the cranberries in water until the skins pop.

Strain through a sieve or blend in a blender.

Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and cloves and boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the lemon slices and orange juice.

Sprinkle with the nutmeg and serve hot.

And don’t forget …

… these tasty treats to savor this Thanksgiving weekend!  – R.T.

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HOLIDAY RELISH RECIPE

By Chef Joey

I got this recipe from my friend Gisle!

One bag (12 ounces)  of cranberries

One 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple

3/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of orange juice

Add all ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat until cranberries burst

Add 1 tablespoon of crystallized ginger

Let cool and refrigerate.

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Parlee and Athena 2

Our Parlee is on the left!

Nana Clem’s Old Fashioned pancakes

By Parlee Jones

1 1/2 cup of flour

1 egg

1 cup of milk

2 tablespoons of sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon of oil

Mix all ingredients together until clumps are gone.

Heat pan with oil, medium to low heat.

Once oil is hot, pour batter into pan.

Cook until air bubbles pop, then flip.

Cook the other side for another two to three minutes.

Place on plate and spread butter and syrup on top!

Enjoy!