Interlude: Vegan Almond Rosewater Cookies and Bake Sale Results

I’m taking a brief break from our normally scheduled Ancient Roman programming to update you on the results of the wonderful, successful Bake Sale for Japan held nationwide this past Saturday.

As mentioned previously, coordination of the sale was headed up by the wonderful Lillian from sweets by sillianah. We got along swimmingly on email in the weeks leading up to the sale (thanks to humor and a mutual love of intense organization), and it was a true pleasure finally meeting in person Saturday, and seeing the results of all that planning pay off…as the sale raised $4644! And that’s just New York; nationwide, the tally for the Bake for Japan movement is $120,254.38 and counting.

The real reason this sale went off without a hitch: generous efforts of bloggers, New York bakeries, generous home bakers, and of course our host the Brooklyn Flea. And the weather. It was amazingly gorgeous out – a perfect day for the first outdoor flea of 2011! Check out the rest of my pics on Flickr if you have any doubt.

Now, you as, what did I make? Well, I did originally intend to make mochi. Due to time constraints, though, I was unable to take that project on the night before the sale. I wanted to stick with my original decision to make a vegan treat, since there weren’t many on the sale menu, so I went straight to the source: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This an amazing book: I’m not vegan in the least (see above re bacon-making), but the recipes in this book are so flat-out delicious I never notice it’s geared to a restricted diet. Came up with these:

Yep, almond rosewater cookies. Delicious ones. The recipe was originally for pistachio rosewater cookies, but I had almonds in the house, so I monkeyed around with it. I also mixed the nuts in, where Veganomicon calls for them to be rolled on the outside; I didn’t want all the nuts falling off in transport to the bake sale. Here’s my adapted version.

Almond Rosewater Cookies (Makes 20 medium cookies)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 tbsp. rice or soy milk
1 tbsp. rosewater
2 tsp. triple sec (or vanilla extract)
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
2. Whisk the sugar, oil, rice or soy milk, rosewater, vanilla, lime juice, and zest together in a large bowl. Sprinkle the cornstarch over slowly (so it doesn’t clump) and whisk until dissolved. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Add the almonds and fold in until evenly distributed.
3. Roll the cookies into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, place them on the baking sheets 2 inches apart, and flatten them to about 1/2-inch thickness with the palm of your hand.
4. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the bottoms start to turn golden; the cookies will be soft but will firm up as they cool (let them do so on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack). Cool completely before serving. If you’re making them for a bake sale, wrap them up nice and pretty.