Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chewy oatmeal cookies (vegan version)


The crispy oatmeal cookies I got last time were fine, but I’ve always been much bigger on soft and chewy cookies. So since then I’ve been thinking about developing a chewy version. These chewy (almost gooey) cookies worked right from the first attempt. This must be because I finally got a good book on American baking.


It happened so that in the past I mostly did French pastry. I grew up with Le Cordon Bleu Dessert Techniques sequentially learning about brioches, pate a choux, pate sablee etc. And somehow, I had almost no understanding of British and American baking, which are of course a complete different story.

My last year in Insead changed the thing, though most of it passed in France. It started from one of my housemates in Fontainebleau. She kept baking chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and brownies every 2-3 days. I can’t tell you how delicious these were. One could spot her baking in the ground floor kitchen from any of the upper floors. The aromas were so powerful, that I could never avoid coming down. I’d wonder around to chat while she was cooking and wait for a chance to try at least a little piece.

Then I moved to Singapore campus. While I was living there I could always feel it has once been a British colony. The quintessence of this feeling for me was PS. Café, this totally expat place, with expat prices (2-3 times above local food restaurants) and with delicious eggs benedict for brunch. Once in you’d find yourself staring at the tall English cakes resting under their spherical glass lids with pieces cut out to demonstrate the mouthwatering layers of thick moist sponge and cream. Carrot cake, chocolate cake, lemon cake… I could never choose one for less than a 15 minutes struggle.

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However my greatest ever love was ginger pudding – the hot steamed English pudding served in a lake of buttery ginger sauce with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream melting down its sides.

I came to Moscow and guess what. I found the Upside down cake, a British bakery opened while I was away. I got immediately addicted to their trifle and tres leches cake, so I come there every weekend. That's on top of my addiction to humongous chocolate chip cookies baked in Le Pain Quotidien next to my office.

Thus I got completely tied up. I needed to start baking it, but I had no good reference. I’d get millions of recipes from Google at my every search and have no idea how to pick a good one.

Here I happily got a piece of advice from Алена Спирина teaching pastry in half-a-teaspoon Moscow cooking school (also a food blogger and writer). I feel really grateful to her for enourmous amount of knowledge she gave me during these last months. It was a great luck for me to get to know her.  As a result, the shiny new Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer now sits in my cookbooks shelve. These chewy oatmeal cookies are my first try on it (the recipe survived my transformation to vegan version).


Chewy oatmeal cookies (vegan version) (recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition - 2006 by Irma Rombauer)

70 g flour
110 g brown sugar
1 tea spoon baking powder
1/3 tea spoon salt
1/3 tea spoon ground cinnamon
tiny pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tea spoon vanilla
70 g vegetable oil
45 g orange juice
90 g rolled oats
60 g raisins, small sized or chopped (optional)
30 g walnuts, chopped (optional)

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Add oil, orange juice and vanilla and mix till combined. Mix in the oats and raisins and walnuts if using (highly recommended).


Chill the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes. Using your hands and a tablespoon form balls around 3 cm in diameter and place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Leave 5-6 cm distance between the balls to let them rise.


Bake at 175C for 10-12 minutes. Take out of the oven. Leave on the baking sheet for additional 5 minutes and then let cool on a rack. These are all yours now.

Related posts and pages:

Crispy oatmeal cookies (vegan version)
Banana upside down mini cakes (vegan version)

Avocado Moscow vegetarian restaurant
Le Pain Quotidien Moscow bakery
Upside down cake Moscow bakery

Half-a-teaspoon: how to make meringues
Half-a-teaspoon pancake baking class
Must try Singapore fruits

Food books