Them Apples and Chocolate Chunk Almond Cookies
Growing up, my mom cooked and my dad played guitar. I have fond early memories of the our old Tallahassee fireplace aglow with flickering flames while we pulled out edge-worn pages of John Denver, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. It was just the three of us back then, a turtle named Sammy and a tank full of fish that kept leaping over the top edge of the glass to their next life. Those late Southern autumns were crisp and colorful and we’d sometimes go for bike rides - me buckled in the child seat behind - under an oak canopy of red and golden brown. Later, cosy in pajamas and slippers, we’d settle in together with some hot-off-the-stove chocolate pudding, or as a real treat, my mom’s special baked apples.
It’s autumn now here in southern California. The afternoon sun still shines pretty warmly but the evenings are all sweaters and spice. Last night I cored a few apples, stuffed them with raisins and cinnamon the way my mom used to, and then pulled out my own guitar to play a few lines of Mr. Bojangles. By the time Bad*ss Bassman got home, the house was warm with apple-y scent and we sat together sharing the stories of our day and savoring bites of the warm, soft fruit.
Baked apples must get the prize for best easiest-to-yummiest ratio. I feel I am almost cheating by even writing out this recipe, but I do so want to share it with you and besides, this is a good segue into introducing my new blog. So, let me ask you: so far, how do like Them Apples?
BAKED APPLES FOR 2
Hands-on time: 5 minutes. Baking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, approx.
Apples - Honey Crisp is great, Fuji… you peeps in the Northeast have a bigger variety than do we Californians, so choose something medium to large and crispy
2 T. raisins
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2 t. butter (I use Earth Balance)
Pre-heat oven to 350. Core the apples. Sprinkle the inside with cinnamon. Stuff with raisins. Top with Earth Balance. Bake in a greased dish or cookie sheet till soft and people start hanging around the kitchen.
Now, about Them Apples. We all share our love in different ways and for me it often comes out as a pot of chili, fresh bagels or a fruit pie. There’s something I simply love about cooking for (and with!) people I adore. Then, I found this little way of eeking out every last ounce of pleasure from a meal shared - I write about it the next day.
I’ve been writing down recipes to share and a little story about the meal for some time now, posting them on Facebook for friends. A few months ago someone suggested I start a vegan food blog. I sat on the idea a bit, wondering things like “if I add honey to a recipe will I invite militant vegan retaliation?” and “will my photos be good enough for the World Wide Web?”. During this time I continued cooking, sharing meals and celebrating the hungers we nourish together. Finally, with unending encouragement and dishwashing by Bad*ss Bassman, I decided to begin my search for the perfect name.
I held my food blog naming contest on Facebook, inviting all suggestions, promising a democratic vote (retaining final election power for myself - I am a native Floridian, after all) and offering a prize of yumminess to whomever submitted the winning title. As fate would have it, the winning title was submitted by Yours Truly. I feel guilty, but honestly there was no hand mucking involved. Them Apples just seemed to get the largest positive response from the voting pool and in the end it seemed the most appropriate, playful, plant-friendly, me-sounding name. Go figure.
These cookies were going to be the yummy prize for the winner. In light of the winner’s (my) easy-access to them, I instead whipped up a batch this morning and decided to bring them out tonight for a Birthday Girl’s celebration at our favorite local vegan-friendly bar. (For those of you in the LA/Burbank area, of course you know I’m talking about Tony’s Darts Away.)
CHOCOLATE CHUNK ALMOND COOKIES
Makes about 30
Hands-on time: 15 minutes. Baking time: 5-7 minutes
1/2 c. Earth Balance
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. cool water
1/2 t. almond extract
1 3/4 white flour (or sub half white whole wheat)
2 T. ground flax seed meal
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. chopped (or chips) bittersweet/dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 450.
Beat Earth Balance and sugars till fluffy. Add almond extract and water. Mix till incorporated.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, powder and salt. Stir together till uniform.
Add flour mix to butter and sugar. Mix till combined. Add chocolate and almonds. This is a very dry dough which is what makes these cookies soft and thick. It will look crumbly, but when you roll into balls it should stick together. They will be perfect!
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes. Cool on rack. Sneak a bite of one and get excited about sharing the other 29 with people you adore.
- lovethemapples posted this