>Last night, I had to cook for a work potluck. These gatherings are always a chance for me to show people at work how tasty and satisfying vegan food can be. I volunteered to make chili, a selfish idea-so I’d be guaranteed to have something to eat besides bread or salad. I made a black bean butternut squash chili. For me, chili is very easy; I know exactly how much of which spices are required to make chili perfectly. The fun part of chili is adding in ingredients you don’t see in a traditional chili. Still; I maintain a few rules: onion is required, so are diced tomatoes and tomato paste or plain tomato sauce; a bell pepper used to be part of the equation; but since I’m one of those folks who only eats bell pepper in chili, I decided it wasn’t required or necessary anymore. This chili featured the aforementioned ingredients; my special spice blend, a chilpotle pepper, some cocoa powder, 5 cups of black beans, a 2 lb butternut squash, and a cup and a half of fresh frozen sweet corn. Riding to work with a crock pot was super fun, let me tell you. It was like a 30 minute block of stress. Chili has a distinct, lingering smell. I did not want that in my car. It was a fun ride…ha.
I also made something sweet; that I knew I’d like. I started out wanting to make the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Oh She Glows. I even made a grocery story run for powdered sugar. And I started out actually making these, I curdled the milk and everything…but…at a certain point in mixing, I realized the recipe wasn’t going to work for me, 1 1/4 c of milk doesn’t go in cookie batter, especially not cookie batter with pumpkin in it, which is already super wet. So…I changed up the recipe, decided not to add the milk, and still felt like the batter was too wet to call cookies. So…I improvised and made giant cookies/mini cakes with chocolate chips and some pumpkin+pumpkin pie spice icing. They came out pretty great; I want to call them scones even though they’re cake-y and not shortbread like.
Before you start, set aside an extra 1/2 c of your butter of choice to soften; this is for the icing.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Cakes:
1/2 c earth balance OR solid coconut oil (not coconut butter, this won’t work here)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c pumpkin puree
2 c flour of choice (I used white flour, because when I’m baking for nonvegans it goes over better)
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
3/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
6 oz chocolate chips (half of a bag)
Preheat oven to 350 and line to baking sheets with slipmats or parchment paper. I feel like things brown better on parchment paper; so I tend to use that for things that bake up soft anyways.
Sift and set aside in a medium sized bowl all dry ingredients except sugar. Stir chocolate chips into this dry mixture.
Cream earth balance, sugars and vanilla. Stir in pumpkin and combine well. Add dry ingredients in 2 batches, stirring well to combine. Your batter will be wet, unlike regular cookie dough. These are more of soft cakes, I cannot stress that enough. Using 1/4 cup, scoop the dough out and use your hands to make large, slightly flattened cookies. I got 10 out of this recipe; but mine were pretty big; you could definitely make them smaller. Bake for 16 minutes; and pull out to cool. While these are baking; go ahead and make your icing since the kitchen is already a wreck.
Pumpkin-Pumpkin Pie spice Icing:
1/2 c softened earth balance (or butter of choice)
1 t vanilla
2 T pumpkin puree
1 T pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg)
2 c powdered sugar
Cream butter, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Add pumpkin and combine well; then add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. If you find this mixture is too dry; add a little more pumpkin; this will add moisture and flavor without turning your icing into a runny mess. Store at room temperature until the cookie cakes have cooled; then ice them.
Here’s the one I’m having for breakfast. It’s the last one I iced so it has a special extra blob of icing on top. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch a sugar high.