Sugar Cookies & Baked Potato and Greens Soup

To be honest, I was feeling sort of funky today. Despite this, it wound up being a really good day, especially for Zander. Santa came to visit the children this morning at the Family Resource Center, and that was fun for adults and kids alike. It also put Zander and me in the mood to come home and make some sugar cookies!

I haven’t really made sugar cookies since I was a little girl, so I was excited to try a new vegan recipe and even happier when the dough wound up tasting delicious. I love vegan cookie dough because you can lick the bowl clean without worrying about salmonella. Zander loves vegan cookie dough because it tastes infinitely better than play dough.

While the dough was chilling in the fridge, we gathered the things we would need for rolling and cutting. We used masking tape to secure some parchment paper to the table.

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When the dough was properly chilled, we rolled it out on our lightly floured parchment paper and got to work cutting out shapes. We used the handles from one of Zander’s sippy cups to make the round cookies.

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Once everything had been placed on our baking sheets, we sprinkled a little sugar on top.

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Zander got a tiny bit carried away with the green sugar, dumping about a third of the bottle into one spot, but it didn’t phase us. We simply transferred the cookies from that tray onto a fresh one and kept on trucking.

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The end result was a cooling rack full of unevenly sugared cookies with thumbprints and odd edges, but they were beautiful nonetheless, because they were made with love and the sort of enthusiasm that only a toddler can bring to the kitchen.

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We decided to wrap up a few cookies in some simple plastic wrap with ribbons to deliver to friends tomorrow while we are running errands.

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And of course, we ate a few for dessert…

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… but not until after Zander had eaten some of his hodge podge dinner of vegan Italian sausage, spinach and tofu ravioli, a tomato scone with vegan cream cheese, and baked potato and greens soup.

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To be completely honest, I was not in love with these cookies, and that is a rare thing for me. I’m not sure exactly why they didn’t excite me. It’s not because the recipe isn’t fantastic, and Zander certainly loved them. So with that in mind, I’ll share the recipe now (scroll down past the cookie recipe for today’s dinner recipe, if you’re interested).

ROLL & CUT SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup margarine, slightly softened (I used Earth Balance “buttery” sticks)
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (I used Earth Balance shortening sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon, almond, maple, or any other flavor extract (I used more vanilla here)
1/4 cup soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder and set aside.

In a larger bowl, cream the shortening, margarine and sugar with electric beaters until the mixture gets all soft and fluffy, for at least 4 minutes.

Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything mixes in. Now beat in the vanilla extract and soymilk until everything is just combined.

Beat in half the flour, and when it is thoroughly moistened, mix in the rest to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into two and pat each portion into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

On a lightly floured platform or board, roll each disc to between 1/8 and 3/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Re-roll the leftover scraps and shape into more cookies (but be careful not to re-roll more than once or twice, because the dough becomes slightly tougher and drier each time it is re-rolled).

Bake the cookies for about 7-10 minutes (depending on thickness) until edges turn slightly brown, but be careful, because they can burn quickly, especially if they’re thin.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before removing them. Then transfer with a thin metal spatula to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

CREDIT: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

————

At this point, Zander and I had already spent a lot of time in the kitchen, so we decided to pull some homemade Baked Potato and Greens Soup from the freezer and warm it on the stove instead of cooking something from scratch. This soup is delicious and creamy and comforting, especially on a cold day like today, and it was even more flavorful after having sat in the freezer than it was the night I made it. This soup gets an A++ from every member of the family! I’ll share the recipe below and then bid you all a good night.

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BAKED POTATO AND GREENS SOUP

Ingredients:
6-8 baking potatoes (baked and cooled)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (sliced into short strips) (I don’t like big pieces of onion, so I diced mine)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (I omitted these, because, as you know from yesterday’s recipe, I am not a big fan of fennel)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage (omitted because I didn’t have this on hand)
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry white wine (or more veg broth)
4 cups kale, torn into bite-size pieces (about 6 leaves, rough stems removed) (I probably used twice this much)
1/4 cup plain soy milk

Once your potatoes are baked and cool enough to handle, preheat a soup pot and saute the onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until good and brown, about 12 minutes.

While the onions cook, slice the baked potatoes into 3/4 inch chunks.

Next add the garlic, fennel, thyme, sage, black pepper, and salt. Cook for 2 more minutes, then add the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the chunks of potatoes and the veg broth, cover, and lower the heat a bit to bring to a low boil. Mix in the kale. Cover and cook for 15-20 more minutes.

Use a potato masher to mush up about half of the soup (don’t use an immersion blender; it will make the potatoes pasty and yucky), add the soy milk, and mix.  If it’s too thick, add a little water or vegetable stock.

CREDIT: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

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About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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