Sunday, December 21, 2008

Treats for Your Elves

Are there some real "elves" in your life? People who work hard, are almost always cheerful, and just plain make your life (at work or elsewhere) a joy? Treat them to this Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookie Bark! This was probably my first attempt at veganizing a dessert ever and much to my delight, it turned out good enough to bring to my own "elves" at the library where I work AND earned rave reviews!

I got the recipe from a book called Big Fat Cookies. What a kick-ass title, huh?! I saw the picture next to this recipe and thought - I'm going to make that! The only thing I had to do to "veganize" it, was use non-dairy butter in lieu of the dairy butter and non-dairy chips in lieu of dairy-based ones. A cinch!

The recipe calls for making a batch of chocolate cookie batter, with chocolate chips mixed in. You spread the dough out in two large "rectangles" on two separate cookie sheets. When the cookie parts are done, you sprinkle the tops with chocolate chips (more chocolate! - ummm!). After these begin to melt (about 5 minutes), you spread them around to create a thin layer of melted chocolate (drooling yet?). Last, you sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces on top and let it cool for a while. You just break it up into pieces when you're done!

This version was fantastic, but, like I am wont to do, I didn't read the directions completely, and put the entire amount of candy canes on one of the two batches of cooked cookie batter. What to do with the naked one? My first thought was to sprinkle chopped walnuts on top, but as I perused my baking cupboard, a brainstorm hit. What's the most amazing food in the world? Coconut, of course! I know that there are just as many people who can't stand the stuff as who love it, but being a coconut hound myself, I dug out a bag of sweetened coconut (not the unsweetened kind) and sprinkled some on top of the second batch of cookie.
The results? Amazing!! I let my husband have a bite of each (they were for work, after all!) and he said he couldn't decide which one he liked more!!! This is incredible coming from him, because he really loves peppermint and chocolate. He likes coconut fine, but is by no means as obsessed by it as I am. Co-workers confirmed the dilemma. In fact, one person said the coconut one reminded her of a Mounds bar! This recipe is really pretty simple, and makes a ton, so it's great for bringing to your elves at work ;) Four stars for both recipes ****.

Mmmmm......coconut......and chocolate....


With hubby out of town for a couple of days, it was time to go pick up his Christmas present and hide it in the garage. I drove my little Beetle up to the merchandise pick up and they came out with....a three piece tool box. They took one look at my car and laughed. I said, "Try it." And lookee-here. It all fit. Of course, I was lucky to only have to drive a half mile or so home, but this just goes to show that you don't need an SUV or truck to get by.

With that chore done, I settled into some leftovers from the week: Vegetable Masala from the latest Veg Times magazine issue. It was pretty good! I thought it would be way too spicy, but it was just perfect. I subbed sweet potatoes for the plain ones, because I had them on hand (this was a great recipe to use up the leftover cauliflower from Cauliflower Red Lentil Soup I made again this week - it is so good!). But I think it would have been better with the plain ones. It was almost a little too sweet! Three stars ***.

When I was nourished, I set about wrapping all the Christmas presents (I complain that I do it all - husband hates to wrap - but honestly, I just love it! I love picking the perfect ribbon and making my own gift tags from old card fronts). I wheeled the gift wrap station in from the garage (we can't fit a car in there, by the way - too much crap like this!) and my two cats decided that it was the perfect perch. Actually, I was happily surprised today that they didn't get into the paper and ribbon and left me to my own devices (maybe it was the Christmas tunes blasting).

Tomorrow being one of the last days of work before the holidays, I thought I'd treat my co-workers to one last vegan sweet. To start their morning off right, I tried another new recipe: Cinnamon Donut Holes, from Vegan A G0-Go. I didn't have quite enough dough to fill up the pan like the recipe stated, but it worked out just fine. The results? Crispy and cinnamony on the outside, soft and tender and donut-like on the inside. I think these might be my first vegan donuts ever!

If you're having brunch on Christmas morning, these would be perfect to serve to your family. The aroma as they bake will entice them out of bed, if the presents don't first! This'll be it for this blog until after the holiday, but I'm already planning a big New Year's post with a review of the Best and Worst recipes of the year, as well as an assessment of my resolutions! Happy Winter Solstice everyone!


VeggieGirl said...

AMAZING TREATS!!!! I definitely have "elves" in my life that do so much for me :-)

Haha!! Hope the husband didn't spoil the surprise by seeing his gift!!

Wishing you an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Yum--your treats look great! Congrats on veganizing the cookie/bark recipe!

Happy holidays! I hope you have a great week!