I don’t know why but I seem to not be born to bake cookies and pies. Cakes and cupcakes I have no problem with, but I’m such a failure that even non-vegan cookie and pie recipes fall apart in my hands. Of course, I could sour grape and reason out that it’s because I haven’t had any formal training and everything I know I’ve learned through self-studying. But I have a friend who makes awesome cookies and she’s not formally trained. I just have to accept the fact that I’m not designed to make cookies and pies.
But I’m a stubborn 27-year-old single lady. I don’t give up that easily.
So, on the very early morning of last Saturday, I decided to try this chocolate chip cream cheese cookie recipe from a blog I just recently discovered, Chocolate-Covered Katie. I want to finish off the jar of cream cheese my elder sister sent from the Middle East last June so I could open the next one. The only thing I was missing was the chocolate chips. If they tasted good, I told myself, I’d bring them to the annual renewal of our diocese’s Ministry of Lectors and Commentators later.
(Believe me, I wish I used full-fat vegan cream cheese, as prescribed in the recipe. But I don’t have it on hand and the store that probably sells it is a four-hour drive away. And I hate wasting food.)
So there, the picture below is one batch. I made three.
To my horror, they baked into one thin almost rectangular sheet of… cookie. I forgot to take a picture because I was so disappointed. I wanted to throw it away, along with the thought that I’d never believe in Chocolate-Covered Katie again. (But no, I won’t give up.) But it tasted sooooo delicious that I can’t get myself to throw it. Plus I remembered the hungry children. So I left it on the table. And instructed the people at the house that I will be the one to get rid of it after the renewal.
Good thing I felt so blessed and loved after our renewal and the Mass that followed, presided by no other than our Bishop, that the disappointment over my failed cookies disappeared. Instead, I got inspired. I’m not the type to cry over spilled soy milk anyway.
The silver lining is my favorite vegan, the beautiful Chloe Coscarelli. Like most people, I discovered her on the show Cupcake Wars, where she was the first vegan to win. In her delicious cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, I found the secret to baking perfection: “If something goes wrong in the kitchen, simply change the name of the dessert” (p. xi). Awesome, isn’t she? Fortunately, none of her recipes have failed me so far. Once more: awesome, isn’t she?
Armed with Chloe’s baking perfection philosophy and my newest (non-vegan) baking book, The Art and Soul of Baking (Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet, 2009), I set out to not let my food go to waste. (As I mentioned, they were delicious. Only they didn’t form.)
And flipping to the fruit desserts chapter, I came up with… peach crumble!
The next morning, I preheated my oven to 325F, chopped canned peaches (sans the syrup), doused it with cinnamon powder and a pinch of salt. I topped it with the crumbled cookies, baked it for 30-40 minutes (I honestly forgot) and look!
My peach crumble! Yumyum.
Lazy Peach Crumble (Serves 8)
2 batches of Katie’s chocolate chip cream cheese cookie recipe, minus the chocolate chips, baked and cooled, reduce sugar by half
1 medium can of peaches, diced or wedged, however you prefer (if using fresh, you can follow the directions here)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 325F. Crumble the cookies.
- In an oven-safe baking dish, put the peaches, cinnamon powder and salt.
- Top with the crumbled cookies. Press lightly.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Serve piping hot or at least warm.
200 calories per generous serving. You can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you can afford the extra calories.
See? Chloe Coscarelli is right: you can almost always achieve baking perfection. If something goes wrong, improvise. The best thing? I didn’t have to throw good food away. And yes, we had this for breakfast, coupled with the appreciation in my family’s eyes. It was lovely.