Friday, May 26, 2006

The Vegan Elementary School Birthday Celebration

I always have angst when I bring food to my kids' classes. I always feel like vegans/vegetarians can't send in a less than amazing treat or people will turn their noses up. Tuesday evening found me biting my lip while searching for the perfect treat. Just to make it interesting, several kids in the class have allergies to chocolate and peanuts. What's a frugal veggie mama to do??

Ameleii asked for molasses cookies. He just loves these, in fact, we all do. Here's the original recipe is from Vegweb. Naturally, I made a few changes. Here's my version:

Molasses Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together brown sugar, oil, molasses, and flaxseed meal in a large bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Make tablespoon sized balls of dough. Then place 1-2 inches apart on ungreased sheet.

Bake for 13 to 16 minutes or until set (appears dry). Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes and place on wire rack or a plate is fine as well.

I didn't think they'd be a hit but everyone raved about them. Am's teacher asked for the recipe and made photocopies for everyone who wanted a copy.

Am also requested that I make something with carob chips for the people who can't have chocolate. Carob chips make me nervous, they look too much like chocolate but truly have a unique taste that is clearly not chocolate. More lip biting followed this request.

I turned to Simple Treats by Ellen Abraham. This is just the most amazing dessert cookbook I've ever encountered. If anyone could pull this off, she could. I'd made her recipe for Chocolate Chip Loaf before and decided to give it a try with the carob chips. The results were amazing! Not a crumb of this cake was left in the container when it came home.

Whew, success can be so exhausting!


AnnMarie said...

I love molasses cookies so I look forward to making these. I wanted to thank you for your blag--it came in very handy this morning because I was all set to make fruit bread for my baby's breakfast and I discovered we had no eggs (we aren't vegans, but Maggie's vegetarian and I nearly am). Due to your previous recipes, I had flaxseed meal on hand and I remembered you frequently substitute it for eggs. Unfortunately, I didn't remember the substitution, but I quickly found it online and managed to prepare Maggie's breakfast! (I don't know how it turned out since I use the breadmachine, but she'll eat just about anything....)

Also--how is your son's name pronounced?

Ruthie said...

Katie, you are such an excellent mother. :)

I noticed you used normal flour for these things. I agree with you on this one: the rest of the world is a lot more comfortable with a cookie/dessert if it's made with white flour, even though they're just as good (or even better!) with whole wheat. I know they're making (nonvegan) whole wheat fig newtons now, and that makes me glad. :) Maybe the world is catching on. Until then, it seems like, if its going to be a treat, it can be a treat. :)

I remember once I made whole wheat muffins for my sister and her husband and her husband claimed they "tasted too healthy" to be good. Hmmf!

Are you tempted to try veganlunchbox's chocolate babka? It looks amazingly sinful. :)

Katie said...


You caught my screw up! Actually, I use whole wheat pastry flour in the molasses cookies and nobody is the wiser. It helps that the cookies are brown to begin with. I'm going to correct that on the main post now. People can get wierd about things tasting too healthy.

I agree that babka is looking mighty good.


Glad I could help! Am's name is actually Ameleii. Its pronounced:
Am (like I am here) u (as in up) lie (as in I told a big lie).

funwithyourfood said...

Aw that's so nice of you to bake!
What a great mom : )
and what an interesting name for your son where is it from?

Katie said...

Thanks! I've never been able to find a meaning or origin for Am's name. It was given to him by his birth mother.

AnnMarie said...

I finally made these last weekend! (I save a bunch of your recipe posts all the time but take forever to actually make them. I love Bloglines for being able to "bookmark" posts.) Anyway, I thought they were too sweet and not molasses-y enough. (Although my "super" flour mix may have partially to blame. The addins to it sometimes overwhelm other flavors. And I didn't have any ginger or cloves so I used allspice.) Anyway, do you think they'd come out okay with less brown sugar? (I'm so glad you didn't include the "roll in sugar" part. I almost did that, but tried one first.) My daughter adores them, and if I soften them a bit with some apple in the box, so will I. I overcooked half of them so they are on the hard side!

Katie said...


I think you could probably decrease the brown sugar without a problem. I like the spiciness of the cookie so I don't mess with the ginger, cloves or other spices.

If you cook them a little less you wind up with a chewy cookie. If you cook them longer you wind up with more of a ginger snap type cookie.

Tinker with it and let me know what you come up with.

AnnMarie said...

Thanks for the hint about cooking them less. I did that this time and they are much better! I also cut the brown sugar to 3/4c and increased the molasses. Unfortunately, this batch wasn't sweet enough LOL Will keep playing to find the right combination. Maybe rollingin sugar is what's needed now. They look prettier that way, too.

Katie said...

You may be right about rolling them in sugar. If you decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe but put a bit of sugar on the outside of the cookie, the sweetness hits your taste buds first and gives the illusion that more sugar was used. The question then becomes, do you wind up using the same amount of sugar when rolling the cookies in it as you would in the original recipe.