Sweet Treats for Valentine’s Day

OK, I confess that baking is not my forte. Too many exact measurements. So today’s two recipes have a lot of latitude and hopefully you are comfortable in tinkering a little with the ingredients. Also, these recipes are not overly sweet, using no white sugar, so they are more healthful than most commercial treats, I think.

Chocolate Spice Cookies

Many thanks to Lynn, a State College “foodie” for sharing this recipe, which is actually her mom’s. I made some small changes, but basically this vegan recipe is quick, easy, and tasty. It’s the easiest roll out cookie dough I have ever made.

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Utensils: small pot, bowls, measuring cups & spoons, spatulas, rolling pin, cookie cutters, cookie sheet
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Cooking Time: About 10 minutes
Category: Vegan

Ingredients
Wet Ingredients:
3 T. oil (Lynn’s Mom used butter; I used Macadamia Nut Oil)
1/4 c. molasses (Lynn’s Mom used all molasses)
1/4 c. maple syrup
3 T. orange juice or unsweetened applesauce (I added)

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or unbleached white flour & cocoa powder (I added) (I used one cup flour and 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. (sea) salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
Note: You will need extra flour for your rolling surface and extra oil for cookie sheet(s).

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil one large or two smaller cookie sheets.
2. Place oil, molasses, and maple syrup in a small pot on stove and heat almost until boiling. Remove and cool.
3. While wet ingredients (minus juice or applesauce) are cooling, measure out the dry ingredients and place in a large bowl.
4. Add about 2 T. orange juice or applesauce to the cooling molasses mixture and stir. Then combine wet with dry, mixing until a ball forms that pulls away from the bowl. (If too dry, add a little more juice or applesauce until the ball forms. Depending on the type of flour you use, you may need more or less liquid.)
5. Sprinkle some flour onto your rolling surface. Divide ball in half and roll out thinly. Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on oiled cookie sheet. (I used heart-shaped cookie cutters about 3 1/2″ across, one of which had a smaller heart inside the larger heart.)
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-12 minutes, depending on how thinly you can roll out the cookies. (I began to smell the spices after about 7 minutes, so I checked them and baked another 2 or 3 minutes. You need to test the cookies after 5 minutes if they are very thin.)
7. Remove from oven, placing cookies on a cooling rack.
Because my cookie cutters are large, this recipe made between 15-18 cookies, not counting the baby valentines that were part of the double heart cookie cutter. (I did 2 batches and the second one I was able to roll out thinner, so the first batch yielded about 15 and the second about 18.)


Chewy ‘n Quick Sweet Treat

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Note: This recipe is so quick and easy that you don’t really need a recipe. It’s more an idea and you can change the proportions to your liking. The funny thing is that when I went to Whole Foods to choose chocolate chips, I had 4 or 5 choices: vegan, gluten free, regular or milk chocolate, and Whole Foods own semi-sweet 365 label, which I chose. I spent more time choosing the chips than mixing the ingredients!

Utensils: Measuring cup, bowl
Prep. Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Category: Vegan if you use vegan chocolate chips)

Ingredients
3/4 to 1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 to 1 cup organic raisins
3/4 to 1 cup date pieces (I purchased date pieces dusted with oat flour from Whole Foods)
walnuts or pecans as garnish

Directions
Mix chips, raisins, and dates ina bowl. Top with nuts and serve. (You can also use more nuts mixed into the trio. I prefer dried fruit separate from nuts.)

Note: The fabric below this recipe is called Androsia, the one and only original Bahaman Batik, which I purchased on my mini-holiday last week in the Bahamas.

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