Did you notice I don’t have a single biscuit recipe on this blog?
There’s a slice, lots of muffins, a handful of desserts and far too many drinks
in the sweet treats section. Well today I’m going to remedy that omission and
guess what, it’s vegan!
Vegan Schmegan! How can a biscuit without sugar, butter or
flour taste any good?
Oh my goodness, domestic goddess supreme Heidi Swanson’s
done it. A dairy-free, gluten-free (it your oats are untainted), egg-free and
even (added) sugar-free sweet treat that has people coming back for more. Even
the chocolate-vanilla-y aroma of these “cookies” has me salivating.
But first a little nomenclature: Being an Anglo-file, at
least where language is concerned, makes me baulk at calling these cookies.
Beyond semantics, I tend to pigeonhole a biscuit/cookie as a disc of something
sweet and crispy. The carnival cookies (suitably Americanised due to their
country of origin) certainly evoke the spirit of a biscuit but are also
reminiscent of an unleavened version of my muffins
banana makes them soft and a little doughy.
Whatever. They passed muster and weren’t ruined by my
habitual tweaking. A tad more chocolate on hand than recipe called for, no
problem, you can never have too much chocolate in a sweet morsel. Not a huge
fan of peanuts? The walnuts substituted nicely. I also ground my own almonds,
gave the rolled oats a quick whiz (rather leaving them whole as indicated in
the original recipe), popped the corn, passed a cinnamon stick over a fine
grater and was a little heavy handed with the remains of my homemade vanilla
The might look a little well done but it's just the chocolate the chocolate that includes chunks and powdery goodness
4 small or 3 medium bananas, mashed
1.5 teaspoons natural vanilla essence/extract
120 g rolled oats, blitzed for a couple of seconds in a food
60 g almonds, blitzed to make almond meal
1/2 tsp good quality ground cinnamon, or half a cinnamon
quill finely grated
100 g walnuts, lightly crushed but still chunky
180 g chopped dark chocolate (70% plus) or good quality
1 heaped tablespoon popping corn, popped with a little
coconut oil (about 20 g of popped corn)
To make the popcorn: Heat a large pot with a tight fitting
lid. Add a scant teaspoon of coconut oil, throw in the corn kernels and put on
the lid. Shake pot every minute or so and let the kernels do their thing. Once
the popping has subsided remove from the heat and carefully take off the lid.
Allow the popcorn to cool, discarding any unpopped kernels.
In a large bowl combine mashed banana, vanilla and coconut
oil. In another bowl assemble the dry ingredients: the oats, almond meal,
baking powder cinnamon and salt. I ground everything myself in my powerful mini
food-processor, one by one blitzing the oats, almonds and chocolate.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir til
combined. Gently fold through the chocolate, then the walnuts and lastly the
popcorn. The mixture is quite wet but have faith because it will hold together
There is enough mixture to fill two baking sheets. I only
have one so cooked them in two batches. The first following Heidi’s
instructions to use a heaped tablespoon of dough, shaped into a ball by hand,
came out quite large and round, needing about 18 minutes of cooking.
The second tray I used less, barely a level tablespoon of
mixture per cookie, rounded to a ball by hand then flattened slightly on the
tray. This batch took about 14 minutes to cook in my oven. The smaller size is
perfect for a mouthful of something sweet with coffee or a treat. The small mouthfuls
have also been a hit impromptu festive gift.
Update January 2013:
I've made a second batch, no measuring this time and all came out fine. Yippee, I so love baking intuitively rather than with the accoutrements of a pseudoscientist (like something out of the Ponds Institute).
Variation: This batch was made with cornflakes leftover from my dad's visit, I subbed them for popcorn. The combo of chocolate, cornflakes and walnuts was reminiscent of Afghan biscuits from my childhood. That's a good thing.
Further variations I'd consider in the future include desicated coconut and dried cherries. Possibly together. With chocolate of course.
This is a wonderfully adaptive recipe and non-vegans love the biscuits equally as much as those eschewing dairy and eggs. A perfect replacement for my (non-vegan) banana-based muffins.
Hate banana? Try some applesauce or a chunky, cooked apple puree. I reckon that would work just as well.
Labels: biscuits, carnival cookies, chocolate, cookies, Heidi Swanson, nuts, popcorn, recipe, sweet, sweet treats, vegan