A Vegan Return: Chocolate Mint Cookies (and A Giveaway!)

So, I ran into Lindy yesterday at the library. Boy-O and I stopped there as we were walking back from school. It's funny, how a 2 1/2 hour difference in my day's "schedule" (or really, lack thereof) has really thrown us all for a spin. Suddenly, I'm only able to sleep for about 6 hours a day, since my body can't go to bed early, yet insists on waking up at exactly 6:15 a.m - a good hour before it actually is now "required" to be awake.

I haven't seen Lindy since January - an amount of time that seems impossibly passed but was thoroughly confirmed by the growth of her baby, who was born on Christmas Eve last year. I actually first met her at the Library playground about 2 years ago, where she asked me if I ever went to the story time for the kids. It so happened, that I started going regularly - and I used to see her fairly regularly as well. We liked to chat about foodstuffs and I eventually told her about my blog... and then soon after, I had my first reader giveaway.

Ever since, I've been a little leary of having another giveaway. My online popularity may have grown a tiny little bit since those earlier days, but my first giveaway was truly kind of funny. I had made a jelly out of POM pomegranate juice that I received to experiment with, and I was certain that commenters would come out of the woodwork to be gifted a jar. My ego was knocked right into place when my ever-popular self witnessed exactly 2 people threw their hats into the ring... and one was my best friend, Sasa. But, Lindy won, and I was happy that she did, and that she liked my POM Jelly, and that we have continued to chat about foodstuffs when I run into her at random.

Yesterday, she asked if I was still going to do my Vegan Monday postings. While I do like to have purpose and focus to my kitchen experimenting, I've just felt so busy lately that I hate committing to anything! Most of it is self-created work, but I think that with the newness of school, the coolness of early Autumn, and that year older I suddenly got, time is making me feel exceptionally harried. That said, her little comment yesterday made me pause to think when I turned on the oven in the afternoon to make some cookies... while I was at it, I figured I may as well make them vegan.

Vegan baking in particular always brings a smile to my face. I somehow feel positively guiltless, which is a perfectly wonderful thing to be when dealing in dessert.

I'm newly experimenting with both coconut oil and raw sugar, so I figured both would be happy partners in some chocolate mint cookies. I was right, since the raw sugar leaves addicting crunch in those deeply chocolate bites. If you are looking for a baked good that you could mail across country, these are not your variety. They are fragile and a bit crumbly, and they also cause a fair amount of paranoia, since you will find yourself glancing over your shoulder to see if anyone could be offended that you are literally shoveling bite sized chocolate cookies into your mouth.

I'm fairly sure the leftover half-bag of mint chocolate chips I had were vegan (I couldn't quite see all of the ingredient list since I had cut the bag open), but you could easily substitute any other vegan chips you like. I also technically made half a batch, since I only had about 5 oz. of chips left. My yield was 22 cookies, but you could easily double this recipe.

Vegan Chocolate Mint Cookies (adapted from the back of the Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chip package)
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil (not melted, but room temperature)
  • scant 1/2 c. raw sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 T. flax meal mixed with 3 T. water)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 oz. mint chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.

Beat the coconut oil with sugar until well blended, then blend in flax egg until well combined.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix into wet ingredients. If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon or so of water to help it hold together. Stir in mint chips.

Form into disc shaped cookies, (about 1 1/2 T. per cookie), and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on sheet before removing them for storage. Or better yet, eat them whilst they are still hot, perhaps with a scoop of rice dream ice cream...

Seeing Lindy yesterday also reminded me that in the spirit of sharing, of Autumn and extremely hot jalapeno peppers, I did want to try my hand at another CakeWalk giveaway. This time, I will not be disappointed if I don't get many commenters, since if you comment to win this pint jar of Candied Jalapeno Peppers, you had better absolutely *LOVE* hot foods. When I was visiting my Parents last weekend, my Mom and I talked briefly with an Amish woman who mentioned that the more overgrown the peppers are, the hotter they are. "Oh, really?", I said. That would explain why I have the hottest candied jalapeno peppers on earth! It's not going to stop me from eating them, however, even if it means that I have to use up most of them in cooking. (Like my Mom said, most Mexican food can stand up to a little sweetness.)

Since technically this is a vegan post, I should also mention that it seems the jury is out on whether or not sugar is vegan. The brand of raw sugar I use is Golden Barrel, and I did not see it listed in the products on their website. I bought it at the Amish Bulk Store, in the middle of the country, Southwestern Wisconsin. So, if you are vegan, but not too picky, I encourage you to try and win these hot babies! They will no doubt put an extra kick in whatever you are up to, vegan or not.

I will choose a winner using the Random Number Generator on September 18th, so please leave a comment before midnight on Friday, September 17th 2010 to win your very own jar of supremely hot Candied Jalapenos! You can check back at my recent jalapeno post to see just how they were made, and also find the recipe should you want to make some yourself. I'd like to also include a batch of Vegan Chocolate Mint Cookies, but I know they'd never make it to you. Besides, I'd probably eat them all before I had time to box them up...

Good Luck!