Friday, March 30, 2012

Caramel DeSasters

Recently I got to make a dent in the four pounds of earth balance that my awesome secret santa Jay gave me back in December.  Although I made vegan Thin Mints last spring, Caramel DeLites were always my favorite Girl Scout cookie, and when my friend Denise suggested we try this recipe from VegNews, I jumped at the opportunity.

But this didn't go too well. 

The cookies tasted great and rolled out pretty nicely.  I think you should just sub baking powder for the baking soda and cream of tartar.  Who owns cream of tartar?  Well, now Denise does.  The recipe also made a much bigger yield than the recipe said, and they spread a lot in oven, so we had tons of huge cookies.  So far, so good, though.

The caramel was very wet and gloppy.  Maybe we just put too much on, but even had we exercised restraint, it never would have really dried (perhaps more arrowroot?), and it made the cookies get soggy.  I'd be curious to try using the similar coconut caramel that went on these German chocolate cupcakes.

And finally, we used carob instead of chocolate chips.  No.  Do not do this.  It was very dry and gloppy.  To make it thinner, I used the ganache recipe from s'mores cupcakes.  This helped in the short term, but the carob never really hardened, and it didn't taste like chocolate.  Now, I actually really like what carob tastes like, but it's not a substitute for chocolate; it's its own thing.

Not an epic failure, but certainly a learning experience--and a time-consuming one.  Interestingly, the starving grad students I know ate them up quite quickly.  One fan told me that if you don't think about it as a cookie, it's actually really good.  And indeed, given the frequent references I've just made to cupcakes... this is a pretty serious dessert.

Vegan Caramel DeLites
(from vegnews)

For the cookie base:
 1-1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c vegan margarine
1/3 c vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond or coconut extract
2-1/2 c flour, plus more
2 TB arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

For the coconut caramel:

 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TB vegan margarine
1/2 tsp arrowroot powder
1-1/2 cs shredded coconut

For the chocolate coating:

1 10-ounce bag vegan chocolate chips
2 TB earth balance
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. For the cookies, in a large mixing bowl, add powdered sugar, margarine, almond milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until well-combined. Add flour, arrowroot, baking soda, and cream of tartar and mix until dough forms small pebbles. Using your hands, combine dough into a large ball and knead once or twice until dry ingredients are well-incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.
2. To make coconut caramel, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, margarine, and arrowroot, stirring constantly. When sugar melts and begins to bubble, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool for 20 minutes, then stir in coconut.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheet with baking spray. On a floured surface, divide dough in half. With a roller, roll each half to 1/4-inch thickness. With cookie cutters, form cookies into donut-shaped rings or any other desired shape.  Keep in mind that they spread quite a bit!
4. Space cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove and place on wire cooling rack. Fill a frosting gun or pastry bag with coconut caramel and pipe caramel on each cookie.  Not too much.
5. To make chocolate coating, melt chips in a double boiler with other ingredients.  Allow to cool before piping through a bag (like so).  Return completed cookies to cookie sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chocolate is fully dry.  Makes at least 3 dozen.

1 comment:

janet @ the taste space said...

That is a heck of a lot of Earth Balance! We have one tub that we turned into nitter kibbeh for all our Ethiopian needs. :)