December 11, 2014

Alicia Simpson's Sweetgrass Snickerdoodles

Naughty li'l elves!
I have yet to try an Alicia Simpson recipe that doesn't taste amazing! This snickerdoodle cookie recipe is no exception. Crispy, cinnamon-y and full of seasonal oomph, I'm planning to give little stacks of these beauties as Christmas gifts. They go great with coffee or chai tea. And, as you can see in the photo, Santa's Scout Elves just love them! My daughter has two scout elves because Santa determined that she needed an extra set of eyes on her during the holidays - she's a chronic gift-jiggler. She named her elves Lula and Layla, which makes me curious about the names of my future grandchildren...

Alicia Simpson's Sweetgrass Snickerdoodles
from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food (affiliate link)

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream the margarine and shortening with the applesauce and sugars. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the creamed mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix with an electric mixer until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Chill the dough for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. 
  • Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the cinnamon. 
  • Scoop 1-inch balls of dough with a teaspoon. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture, coating all sides. 
  • Place on a baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart and bake for 12 minutes for chewy cookies and up to 15 minutes for a crisper cookie.
  • Remove from baking sheet, cool, and enjoy.
Please Note: Alicia Simpson did not put me up to this. I purchased the cookbook on my own, years ago, and I love it! If you want to support a fantastic vegan cookbook author, buy something with her name on it. You won't be sorry! I've included all of her cookbook listings below. If you click and buy one (or all!) of these books through my links, I'll get a small percentage of the purchase price, which really helps me out. Thanks!

December 9, 2014

Autumn's Easiest Dried Apples

I know I'm a little late with this post. I actually made these dried apples and took this picture well over a month ago, but it's been busy around here. I vow, right now, to get back to posting more regularly! Now that I am jobless I seriously have no excuse. But I'm one of those moderately crazy OCD people who think they can accomplish nothing creative until their house is clean. So, I end up cleaning constantly, and never writing or exercising or anything else useful until my house is clean, which it never is, so you get my drift... My new year's resolution is going to be to let the house be messy and get my creative stuff done first! As I type, there are muddy dog prints on the carpet in the back room and a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink. I can't let those things haunt me. Let's get to the apples!

For this recipe you will need a dehydrator, and it does not have to be a fancy one. The dehydrator I used cost $20 (I got it at Aldi last summer) and it works great! And you don't have to have an apple peeler/corer combo, but it saves you an hour or more of peeling and chopping and helps to make sure all of your apples are the same thickness. I'm talking about one of these things...
(Affiliate link- Click the photo to be taken to the product.)

I recommend a stout, cast-iron body corer with a clamp (like in the picture) as opposed to a suction cup. Again, these run about $20.

Use a nice sweet, or tart, apple. I like to use Pink Lady apples. A Red Delicious, for example, might not make for a very flavorful chip. But a Jazz or Granny Smith would make a yummy chip for sure!

So basically, you just twirl your apple through this contraption and it takes the skin off (drying the skin makes it too chewy - trust me and take it off), cores the apple and spiral slices it all at the same time. What you have left is just the good "apple meat." Take a knife and slice it just once from top to bottom, which will leave you with a lovely stack of evenly sliced apple chips. Lay each chip in a single layer in your dehydrator. The sides can be touching, but it is very important that the apples not overlap one another.

If you're wondering about browning, don't worry. The first time I tried this, I was very concerned about whether or not I needed to dip my apples into a lemon juice solution (or something similar), but I read online that it wasn't necessary and I went for it. The apples you see in the photo have not been treated, or flavored, with anything. I just popped the raw apple slices right into the dehydrator and that was it.

Once your apples are set, turn on your dehydrator (mine does not have any particular settings, just a plug that turns it on and off) and let those babies crisp up over a twenty-four hour period, give or take a few hours depending on your machine. Rotate the layers every couple of hours or so. Make sure the apples are totally dry. If you take them out too soon and don't eat them right away they will spoil quickly.

Once they're done, allow them to cool at room temperature before storing them in an airtight container. Then enjoy! They are delicious and nutritious - and a perfect compliment to movie night.