Hi, everybody! Hope you all had a wonderful and safe Deepavali! I've been very busy for the past couple of days. Last week it was my son's turn to provide snacks for his classmates at pre-school. It was for 2 days actually. So I baked Eggless Brownie Cupcakes using flax seed meal (I'll post it shortly) and vegan pumpkin cookies. The next day was my husband's birthday and I baked a cake for him. All this baking really made me very tired and nauseous. I realized that too much of anything is not good. I really wonder how people work in bakeries!
If this was not enough, I had a presentation in my son's school about Diwali on the 27th. My mother suggested sharing some traditional sweets and snacks with the kids. So she prepared Coconut Burfi and I helped her in preparing the Maida biscuits. I don't know the actual name for the maida biscuits, it's mixing all purpose flour, salt, crushed cumin and black pepper and making it into a dough, just like making chapathi dough. Then divide the dough into small balls, roll each ball as thin as possible and cut them into small diamonds using a knife and deep fry them.
As for the coconut burfi, I asked my mother to follow Anjali's recipe. We usually prepare burfis from fresh coconut, which is a big process. You have to grate the coconut without the skin etc. But her method looked so simple using store bought dessicated coconut. So my mother first tried a little and we were definitely skeptical about the taste, but to our surprise it came out very good and tasted like the traditional coconut burfi. The only change my mother made was she powdered half the measurement of coconut and kept the other half as it is, which gave a good texture to the burfis. Also she used cardamom powder because we did not have the kesar masala milk extract. So she went ahead and prepared a big batch of burfis for the school. Thank you very much Anjali for this simple yet tasty recipe, everybody in the school liked it.
Now let's see the recipe for the pumpkin cookies I was talking about. I got this recipe from The Taste of Home Baking Book. The original recipe by itself was vegan, so I didn't have to worry about egg substitution. The cookies came out very well. If you like chewy pumpkin cookies, you should try this recipe. The recipe also had instructions for frosting, since I was baking them for kids I omitted it. I didn't want them to become hyper-active in the class later.
Vegan Pumpkin Cookies Recipe
- 1/2 Cup Shortening (I Used Crisco All)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling Simply Canned Pumpkin Puree Or You May Also Choose To Buy Fresh Pumpkin And Cook It)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I Use Trader Joes Pure Vanilla Flavor Alcohol Free)
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (I Made It 1/2 Teaspoon)
- A Dash Salt
- 1 Cup Raisins
- 2 Tablespoons Butter (Vegans Can Use Earth Balance Or Any Other Soy Products)
- 1 And 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Milk (For Vegan Version Use Soy Milk Instead)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add pumpkin and vanilla.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix well.
- Fold in raisins.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls (I used 1/2 tablespoon measurement to scoop the dough) 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Mine took exactly 14 minutes for the batch which I baked in an aluminum baking sheet. The dark non stick baking sheet batch began to brown at 12 minutes itself. So watch closely.
- Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan.
- Stir in the sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.
- Frost cooled cookies.
- Since this was my first experience with shortening, when I began to cream it with sugar I was sure that the cookies would not bake properly, because it does not cream like softened butter and sugar. Shortening is more solid than butter, even at room temperature, so even after creaming it with a hand held electric mixer for more than 7-8 minutes, it was sort of in a semi solid state. Or maybe that's what is light and fluffy, I do not know. But anyway I proceeded with the recipe, but the cookies did bake good enough.
- I think either using freshly prepared pumpkin puree or adding some more liquid (like milk/soymilk) if using canned pumpkin would make the cookies even more light and crispy. I used the canned puree and it's solid packed, so it does not have enough moisture. Already the creamed mixture did not release any moisture and the pumpkin puree also was solid, so the cookie dough was stiff. I was literally praying that the cookies should come out properly or I would have to run out to the store at 9 in the night to get something for the kids next day. Fortunately it came out well. Since I have not tasted pumpkin cookies before, I don't have anything to compare with. But we liked it very much. As I have mentioned earlier, the cookies were chewy and not crispy.