Can you stand one more cookie recipe in one week? When my parents visited last weekend, I had the chance to do some cooking and baking--a pot of my vegetarian chili, some amazing vegan cornbread (I have to thank my dad for making it, although he was skeptical about the 'vegan' part of it), and I also made a batch of vegan kourabiedes. My mother makes these Greek cookies (not the exact recipe, though) at Christmas every year and they are my favorites and Scott's, too--little round balls of sweetness, filled with crunchy nuts and covered in powdered sugar. The one thing I've noticed, and appreciated, too, about moving from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one, is that I have to take more control over what's available for me to eat. If I'm craving sweets, I usually have to make them myself, instead of opening up a package of cookies, or whipping up a batch of ice cream in my ice cream maker. And in just the few months since I've made the switch, I've found that veganizing cookie and cake recipes works wonderfully well and most of the time I honestly don't think anyone can tell that I didn't use real butter and egg. I felt pretty triumphant this past weekend, in fact, that my Dad enjoyed the cookies and cornbread even if he made it clear that he had a hard time understanding why I was torturing myself with this vegan business.
The cornbread and the cookies didn't stop him from throwing lots of hypothetical questions my way, such as:
"What if I bought you your own chicken? Would you eat eggs then?"
At first I was irritated to find myself in the position at age forty-one of defending my food choices but then I mellowed. I've been a parent long enough to realize that the letting go part of this parenting business can be pretty hard sometimes.
Vegan Kourabiedes (loosely adapted from here)
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup powered sugar (plus about another cup to roll the cookies in once they've baked)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream margarine, the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and almond extract in medium bowl. Combine flour and pecans in a separate bowl. Stir into mixture in medium bowl. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. If your dough seems too crumbly, add a teeny bit more melted margarine or a tablespoon of soy or almond milk.
Bake in 325 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Roll them in the confectioner's sugar while they are still warm.