Meal Plan Mondays & Hazelnut Sandies with Barberries

Lots of yummies on this weeks list!  But first, how about a cookie recipe?

I know you’ve been waiting for the English translation of the last Francophone Fridays post, the sablés aux noisettes aux baies de bérberies (dans la langue de Molière) or Hazelnut Sandies with barberries (in the language of Shakespeare).

When the adorable Mihl and P. finally came visit us last year, they came with loads of goodies for us to eat.  One of the special treats they lugged with them across Europe (well, from Germany to south-western France anyway) was a bag of beautiful dried barberries!  Mihl uses them in some of the many recipes she has on her blog Seitan Is My Motor, and I couldn’t wait to try them for myself!  If you’re unfamiliar with these tart Persian berries, you can read a little  over at Wiki if you’d like.

Once I had the coveted berries in my possession, I found myself  wondering what to do with the little gems.  I had too many ideas, but a limited supply of berries, and I didn’t want to squander them on just any-old recipe where dried cranberries or currents could be used.  Then, it hit me (gently, I wasn’t harmed).

We have lots of things in common, my dear Mihl and I, among which dear memories of our sweet grandmothers.  I decided to honor their memories with these cookies, heavily-inspired by one of my great-grandmother’s recipes.  These sablés (sugar cookies) or “sandies” as my great-grandmother Mary  called them, are subtle and sophisticated with a lovely duo of textures : crumbly, buttery sugar cookie and sweet and tart dried barberries.  The ground hazelnuts  add just a hint of bitterness which plays wonderfully with the brown sugar-encrusted cookies.   If you don’t have barberries, dried unsweetened cranberries would work well, though I would probably dice them up, or try dried currents.

Hazelnut Sandies with Barberries

For about 40 cookies – advance preparation required!

2 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer

2 tbsp water

175 g non-dairy butter, room temperature

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

180 g sifted powdered sugar

300 g AP flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp baking powder (11 g)

120 g ground hazelnuts

110 g dried barberries (or cranberries)

4 tbsp brown sugar

1) In a large bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, baking powder and ground hazelnuts. Set aside.

2) In a small mixing bowl or in a food processor, whip the water and Ener-G until it’s frothy, at least 3 minutes.

3) With an electric mixer, cream the powdered sugar and butter until it’s light and fluffy, then add the Ener-G, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Continue mixing until well combined.

4) Now add the flour, a little at a time, then fold in the barberries.  Divide the dough in two.

5) Spread half of the brown sugar on a piece of tinfoil about 30 cm long.  Lightly flour your hands, and roll one half of the dough into a log about 20 cm long.  If you’re having a difficult time working with your dough, try dusting it with some flour, a little at a time, and it will be easier to work with.  Go with your gut, and if the dough is very sticky, just knead a little flour in until it’s “workable”.

6) Gently roll the log through the brown sugar, covering the exterior.  Add a little sugar to the foil if there are some sugar-free spots.  Roll up the log with the foil, twisting the ends shut.  Do the same with the other half of the dough, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

7) Pre-heat the oven to 175°c and prepare two cookie sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.  Gently unroll the dough and slice cookies 15mm thick, wiping the knife clean each time.  If you’re having a difficult time slicing the cookies, don’t fret!  Just cover it back up and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, then try again.

VIII) Bake for about 13 minutes, until they are just firm and lightly browned on the bottom.  Let them cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Now for this week’s Meal Plan :

Monday : crêpes sucrées et salées (savory and sweet crêpes) with sautéed mushrooms and onions for the savory, and powdered sugar and lemon juice for the sweet.  So. good.

Tuesday : Risotto with mushrooms and peas, served with braised dandelion greens.

Wednesday : Polenta with garlic gravy.

Thursday : Hot & Sour Carrots and Lentils, a tester recipe for The Urban Vegan.

Friday : Pizza Night!  How I love you so…

Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Super-cool world-traveler Vegan Snorkler  has one up today.  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

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Sablés aux noisettes & aux baies de berbéris : Les Vendredis Francophones

Quand l’adorable Mihl a décidé enfin de me rendre visite l’année dernière elle n’est pas venue les mains vides!  Parmi les trésors qu’elle a gentiment apportés avec elle  à travers l’Europe (ou bien, de l’Allemagne jusqu’à chez moi en Aquitaine) se trouvait un sachet de jolies baies de berbéris!  Elle en parle souvent et les utilise dans ses pâtisseries, donc j’avais hâte de les découvrir.  Vous ne connaissez pas les berbéris?  Allez faire un tour chez wiki pour plus amples infos sur ces petites baies acidulées pardi!

Une fois les berbéris en ma possession, que faire avec ces petits rubis comestibles?  Je n’étais pas en manque d’idées, et le plus dur était de me décider, ce que je fit enfin!

Il faut dire que nous avons beaucoup de choses en commun, Mihl et moi, parmi lesquelles nos chers souvenirs d’enfance avec nos grand-mères respectives.  Je voulais donc essayer de leur faire honneur avec cette recette, inspirée par mon arrière-grand-mère.  Ces sablés sont  sophistiqués dans leur subtilité, avec un mélange de textures surprenant, entre le croustillant du sablé sucré et les baies séchées acidulées.  La poudre de noisette ajoute une touche d’amertume qui joue avec la délicate douceur du sucre roux qui les entoure…si vous n’avez pas de baies de berbéris, des “cranberries” séchées non-sucrées feront l’affaire.

Sablés aux noisettes & aux baies de berbéris

Pour 40 biscuits environ

2 c. à café Ener-G (pour remplacer 2 oeufs)

2 c. à soupe d’eau

175 g beurre végétal (St. Hubert Bio), ramolli

2 c. à café de jus de citron

1 c. à café essence vanille

180 g de sucre glace tamisé

300 g de farine ménagère

2 c. à soupe Maïzena

1 c. à soupe levure chimique (un sachet de 11 g)

120 g de noisettes en poudre

110 g de baies de berbéris (ou cranberries séchées)

4 c. à soupe de sucre roux

1) Dans un grand saladier mélanger la farine, la maïzena, la levure chimique et la poudre de noisettes à l’aide d’une grosse cuillère.

2) Fouettez l’eau avec l’Ener-G à l’aide d’un mixeur électrique jusqu’à ce que ça mousse, 3 ou 4 minutes environ.

3) Dans un autre saladier, travaillez en crème le sucre glace et le beurre jusqu’à ce que le mélange blanchisse.  Ajoutez l’Ener-G, le jus de citron et la vanille en continuant de battre pour obtenir une pâte homogène et très légère.

4) Incorporez le mélange de farine, petit à petit, puis les baies.  Divisez la pâte en deux.

5) Etalez la moitié du sucre roux sur une feuille de papier aluminium d’une trentaine de cm long.  Farinez vos mains, et avec un des pâtons, formez une bûche ronde de 20 cm (si votre pâte est trop molle, malaxez-la avec un peu de farine, elle sera plus facile à manipuler).

6) Roulez doucement la bûche dans le sucre roux afin de bien garnir son extérieur.  Enveloppez-la ensuite dans une feuille d’aluminium en fermant les extrémités en papillote.  Faites pareil avec votre deuxième pâton, puis, laissez-les reposer au frigo pendant deux heures.

7) Préchauffez le four à 175°c et préparez 2 plaques de cuisson avec des silplats ou du papier sulfurisé.  Retirez l’aluminium et détaillez chaque bûche en tranches de 10 mm.  Si vous ne pouvez pas couper votre pâte facilement, mettez-la au congélateur pendant 15 minutes, puis réessayez.

8) Enfournez les biscuits pendant 13 à 15 minutes, jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient fermes et dorés en dessous.  Laissez-les tiédir 5 minutes avant de les mettre à refroidir sur une grille.

Miam!

Lemon Grissini Cookies, the recipe…

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Before I give you the coveted Lemon Grissini Cookie Recipe, I’d like to mention that friend, blogger and all-around super-hero mum Libby* of The Allergic Kid is giving away a copy of Food Allergies and Me.  I know many of my readers are in regular contact with children who have severe to life-threatening food allergies, and this book by Juniper Skinner is for them.  Food Allergies and Me describes safe ways for kids to react to and live with their allergies, so go visit The Allergic Kid and throw your name in the “comment box hat” for your chance to win a copy.

déjà vu?

Despite accidentally posting rather than saving my first draft (holy typos Batman!) the first installment of Les Vendredis Francophones was a huge success!  So funny how the most popular posts are often those with the least comments, don’t you think?   I know it’s taken me a while to get this translation up, but believe me, these are more than worth the wait.

These cookies are by far one of our favourites – they are Monsieur F’s absolute favourite.  Perhaps it’s thanks to their simplicity?  Just lovely lemon and a hint of sweet.  The Italian word grissini describes what is commonly known in North America as the humble bread stick (or so says Wiki).  It’s true here in France, and gressin describes a little cigar or, well, bread stick-type shape. This recipe has been translated from Italian to French (now to English), has been veganised and revised, but has held up just fine!

Quick, easy and perfect, you’ll be making these time and again…

Lemon Grissini Cookies

For about 20 grissinis

350 g AP flour

11 g baking powder

140 g sugar

110 g dairy-free butter

2 teaspoons Ener-G (enough to replace 2 eggs)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

the zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplats.

2) Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth, then add this mixture to the flour, and continue mixing until the batter becomes smooth (it’ll stay together if you pinch it, even if it’s still a little crumbly).

3) Lightly flour your hands, then form small cigar-shaped cookies, about 12 cm long  (if it’s a little warm in your kitchen and your dough is sticky, just put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes).  Bake them for about 10 to 13 minutes or until they are firm to the touch, turning the baking sheet half-way through baking time.  Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before gently transferring to a cooling rack.

4) Once they have cooled you can decorate with the optional lemon icing.

Lemon Icing

100 g powdered sugar

lemon juice

Using a fork, ix the sifted powdered sugar with the lemon juice, adding one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached a “drizzle-friendly” consistency.  Drizzle the grissini with icing and allow the icing to set.  If you dare.

*Why does Libby get super-hero status in my book?  Her sweet son has life-threatening food allergies.  Just let those words sink in, kids : life-threatening.  All parents fear the dangers that lurk around the paths their children take daily to school, to play, daycare and sleep-overs, but with grace, courage and humor Libby shares her trials and triumphs with other “allergy moms” (and dads), almost making it look easy. I say, chapeau.

Meal Plan Monday : The wings that weren’t, and the cookies that were.

I made these beautiful cookies last week :

In the name of science and not wanting to make a flop of the cookies I’m planning on making for gift-giving, of course. These lovelies are the pignoli cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I’ve had Italian pignoli cookies before, but it’s been ages, and I wanted to give them a try.  I’m a big fan of the pine nut – it’s a fatty little bugger, but jam-packed with iron.  I usually add a tablespoon to top pizzas or salads, so Guppy was a bit leery seeing it in a sucré posture, but was won over instantly.  Monsieur-half-French-half-Italian-Fish, however, was not so inclined.  So much for his Italian roots.

As you can guess from my title, the seitan wings didn’t happen last week, and I was rather put out about it.  The beauty of the meal plan is in its non-contractual nature: I’m not going to get in trouble if I don’t stick to it. They’ve been re-slated for this week, however, because I’m not giving up!  Next week I’ll be very pleased to bring you a review of where many of these tasty recipes came from.

Monday : Caramelized Tofu, Brown rice with pineapple and green onions

Tuesday : 2 potato Shepherd’s Pie, green salad

Wednesday : Sushi Rice Balls, Japanese Pancakes and Teriyaki Mushrooms

Thursday :Seitan Buffalo Wings with Super Slaw (hoping!)

Friday : Pizza night!

If you haven’t already, please stop by my friend Ricki’s blog and leave a comment on this post.  She’ll be giving a donation to Second Harvest for every comment left.  What a great way to bring a little food and cheer to those in need this holiday season (oh, and you could also win some Simply Bar yummies, but that’s just a perk).

Vegan MoFo Day XXVIII : Cookies & Doughnuts

First the doughnuts!

These doughnuts are great because they are calorie free, fat free…well, you can’t really eat them. They would make a fun little holiday gift for little (or not so little) ones.  I’ve finally put together a How To page, with lots of tutorials and fun things to make and do.  Go check it out!

And now the cookies…

These are the chocolate crinkle cookies and the black and whites from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  Making these I had lots of help from Guppy and her friend who took turns rolling the cookies in the powdered sugar.  The recipe calls for corn syrup to help the cookies to spread.  Corn syrup is easy to find in North America, but not here.  I used golden syrup since it’s easier to find, but they didn’t spread as much as I’d have liked.  I think I have an idea for next time, and I’ll let you know if it works.  Taste-wise they were delicious, and Guppy brought some to her teacher who asked for the recipe.  I’d never heard of crinkle cookies before but I am so glad I gave them a try.

The black and whites were nothing like the black and whites I’ve had from the Jewish bakeries in Paris, but they were still very yummy.  Normally they are more crispy, but these were very cake-like.  Guppy and friend helped with the icing, which explains the lumps, but they had so much fun frosting them who really cares about aesthetics…

I’m sure you’ll be seeing other cookies from VCIYCJ as we get closer to the holidays!

Vegan MoFo Day IX : Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

It’s Vegan MoFo Day IX already!  I am so impressed by all the amazing recipes and formidable camaraderie taking over the blogosphere.  One thing I’ve been particularly enjoying is discovering so many new blogs and bloggers!  Don’t forget to visit the Vegan MoFo Blogroll and spread the love!

Now for the cookies!

These are really like big thumb print cookies, but bigger is better, right?  As far as cookies go, I’m thinking yes!

These are a healthier peanut butter cookie baked with a big ‘ole slob of ganache in the middle – what could be better?  These make a lot, like 3 dozen, so get ready to share!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

3 to 3.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour (milling is very different here, so start with 1 cup and add more as needed.)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

generous pinch salt

1/2 cup brown sugar (plus a little extra for rolling)

1/2 white sugar

2 tbsp canola oil (this might not be necessary, depending on your peanut butter)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cups natural peanut butter (chunky is fine)

3/4 cups non-dairy milk

1/4 water

about 1/2 cup ganache

A quick note about the ganache.  If you use the recipe here you’ll end up with just enough left for making some Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (recipe coming soon!), but please use any kind your little heart desires, ok?

Like two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Stir the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until just mixed (too much mixing makes for gummy cookies).  This is a thickish/dryish dough, so if yours is too liquid to handle, add a little more flour until the right consistency is reached.

Now for the fun part – roll the dough into balls, a bit bigger than a walnut.  (Like two walnuts?) Roll it in the brown sugar (this is optional), then place it on the baking sheet.  Flatten it a little, then move on to the next one.  When all the dough has been rolled, you’ll need to make little holes in each cookie – the easiest way is just to wet your index and poke a hole.  Like so:

Now put them in the fridge for about 45 minutes to an hour.  While they are chilling, you can make your ganache, have a cup of tea and read a few blogs.  When that’s done, you’ll need to fill them with chocolate.  My method is to use one of Guppy’s old aspirin plungers, but you could use a spoon or whatever.  Before you start, pre-heat your oven to 165°c/325°f, then get to work!

Now it’s time to bake!  They’ll bake for about 20 minutes, depending on how thick/flat they are.  When they’re done, leave them to cool on the baking sheets, that way, they’ll brown a little more on the bottoms without burning the chocolate.

Yummah!