Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stress Baker. Cookies = Brain fuel?

Thank you all for your responses to Food Monotony. I've been thinking about it, and I it wouldn't be so hard to vary my breakfast toppings, sides and snacks while still getting the benefit of convenience from leftover meals. I think I'm going to be more intentional about putting some variation in my day.

Yesterday was definitely a success in that area.

Tests started. That part = Sad. Frustrating. I never feel like I do well, no matter how hard I work. Usually I pass, we'll see. I still have today and tomorrow to go. All the subjects are combined, to be more like boards, so we're tested on the same classes of material all 3 days. It makes trying to study after one or two days very frustrating because all I focus on is things I missed. :(

My brain was well-fueled though:
Almond Butter (with a side of glomerulonephritis review)

Okay, I had real food with almond butter:

Dollop of Trader Joe's blackberry jam with crunchy almond butter and quick oats. I pretty much only like crunchy nut butters, I feel like the creamy ones get lost in whatever I'm making. 

After going to my test and getting shanked through the eye by micro and pathophysiology, some friends came over and we watched this weeks episodes of Glee. That was a wonderful break. 

And towards the end of that, I knew I couldn't go back to studying yet - time for some Stress Baking! (And also Valentine's Day baking, I'll be taking these to my boyfriend on Friday when I go to visit). 

Boyfriend has two favorite cookies: Peanut Butter and Coconut Macaroon. Very different types, but both delicious of course. Peanut Butter reminds me of home and wintry days, while Macaroons make me think of classy teas and beaches. I've tried some recipes for both, but these are my favorite for each. As usual, I have weights for all ingredients, because baking with a food scale = so easy.

The BEST Vegan Coconut Macaroons
Modified from here
Makes 24.
1 cup sugar (196 g)
½ cup light soymilk (4 oz.)
1 tbsp agave (21 g) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (8 g)
1 teaspoon salt (4 g) 
3 cups shredded coconut (360 g)
¾ cup all-purpose flour (94 g)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (177).  
2.  Combine and mix sugar through coconut. Mix in flour.
 3. Form into desired shapes on an oiled cookie sheet. 
4. Small ones bake about 16 mins, large about 20. 
5. Let cool a few minutes before moving to cooling rack.
Note: Macaroons don't really spread much, so form neatly from the beginning. 

Oh yes.

But we're not done yet...

Vegan Valentine's Peanut Butter Cookies
Modified from here
Makes 24 large. (About 26 actually, but it's vegan, so eat that much cookie dough. Seriously. Do it.)

2.25 cups flour (280 g)
2 tsp baking soda (4 g)
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar (192 g)
1/2 cup oil (4 oz.)
1/4 cup agave (84 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract (4 g) - I always add extra
1/4 cup applesauce (61 g)
1 cup PB (256 g) - I used salted, add 1/2 tsp salt if yours is unsalted

1. Preheat oven to 325 (165 C).
2. Mix flour, baking soda (and salt if using) in one bowl.
3. Separately, mix all other ingredients.
4. Add flour to wet ingredients, mix well.
5. Scoop onto an oil-sprayed cookie sheet and form if desired. Press a criss-cross for the classic PB cookie look.  
6. Bake 15 mins. Let sit about 4 mins on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack. 

Wet ingredients. Not pretty yet...

This dough may or may not have made a detour on its way to the cookie sheet...into my mouth.

Heart shaped criss-cross! (Form first with your hands)

You don't have to press very hard.

Fresh out of the oven, it looks like you might not have made the crosses deep enough.

But it settles in. Peanut Butter deliciousness. 

The best part? Cooking with a food scale means my cleanup consists of the cookie sheets and this:
Yeah. 2 bowls. Okay, there are a couple hidden spoons. You get my point. 

I tupperwared-up a dozen of each for Boyfriend and took the rest to my classmates when I went back to study. Not a single person turned me down. The brain runs almost completely on glucose, so that means cookies = brain fuel right? Someone (very kindly) said it was the best macaroon he'd ever had. 

After a few frustrating hours and a vegetable-heavy dinner of soup and salad to counteract my afternoon of sugar, I relaxed for a little and watched this week's Pretty Little Liars. I might be 14 years old on the inside. I'm pretty okay with it. 

And now off to take another long brutal test. Super.


Vampire said...

Haha those cookies look awesome =)

Megan D said...

So much deliciousness in this post! And I love almond butter and jam on oats. Good luck with your test :)

unbeautiful said...

The peanut butter cookies looked yummy!
I like Pretty Little Liars too! I haven't been able to watch it though since I moved down to where I live now. :( But I really liked that show when I did watch it. :)

Chelsea said...

This week sounds majorly stressful for you. There's nothing like a little baking (and eating!) to help relieve some of that stress. ;) Good luck with your tests!

Anonymous said...

I had those peanutbutter cookies, and as a non-vegan I can attest... delicious!

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