(Perfected) Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_3308

A few nights ago while doing homework and sipping hot tea, I admitted to myself how much I would like to have a chocolate chip cookie. Unfortunately, I admitted to myself that I would also like to pass chemistry. Hence, as finals loom just two weeks away, I have severely limited free time to be making cookies. To compromise between my conflicting desires, I threw together the batter as quickly and efficiently as possible with the ingredients that I had on hand. I settled for eating the dough instead of trekking down to the kitchen to actually bake it, allowing for sufficient time remaining to finish studying, brush my teeth, and get seven (maybe six and a half) hours of shut-eye. In my frantic rush to satiate my sanity and my to-do list, I would never have guessed how good this batch of cookies would turn out.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Coffee Shop Review: Blackberry Market

House-made granola and a coffee

House-made granola and coffee

Blackberry Market, a cafe in Glen Ellyn, IL that is located about a 10 minute bike ride from school, has become my new favorite study spot this past month. I have enjoyed breakfast, lunch, and afternoon coffee whilst lounging in the same little nook and typing away on my laptop or reviewing notes. After having thoroughly sampled much of Blackberry’s menu, I feel that I can give the place a decent review.

If I had to pick a delicacy that is first and foremost in my heart, it would be their vegan chocolate chip trail mix cookies. The chewy center with cranberries, chocolate, and nuts in each bite is a perfect accompaniment to an almond milk latte in the afternoon. Break off a piece, dunk, chew, sip, chew, repeat. It is not the prettiest way to eat a cookie but definitely the tastiest way. These cookies are so wonderful that I haven’t been able to stop myself long enough to take a picture before devouring.

IMG_3288

For lunch, I love their spring pea soup and market salad with blackberries, goat cheese, and toasted pecans. The crusty bread that comes on the side is delicious as well.

This morning, I had their veggie breakfast sandwich, a monster piled high with Gouda cheese, caramelized onion, tomato jam, greens, and a fried egg. A mix of roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes came on the side. Everything was well seasoned and fresh. It kept me full way past lunch time.

If I am craving sweet, my favorite breakfast at Blackberry is definitely one of their cinnamon rolls. They probably make the best cinnamon roll I have ever tasted. I’m not even a cinnamon roll fan, and I would pick one of these over their croissants any day. It is perfectly soft with just the right amount of cinnamon, and enough frosting to cover every bite, but not so much that it overwhelms the pastry itself.

IMG_3285

Lastly, I must mention the blueberry muffin – simple yet perfectly satisfying. They brew Intelligentsia coffee and make an almond milk latte that is lighter than a regular latte but definitely not over-steamed and very flavorful. Let me tell you, that is hard to come by.

My only complaint would be that they need to figure out a better gift card method. Every time I try to pay with it, it turns into a ten minute long fiasco. Also, the regular brownies are much better tasting than the blackberry brownies that get all the hype. Get the regular brownie – you will be happy.

If you are not located near Chicago, I am sorry for boring you with this post, but I am happy to inform you that wherever you are, the weather there is better than it is here. Nonetheless, I do hope that a few individuals in the surrounding Chicago area find this review of some help. If you can, stop by Blackberry. You will not be disappointed!

Buckwheat Almond Banana Bread

IMG_3268

A sad group of stolen cafeteria bananas lingered on the top of our fridge the other day. They kept staring at me as I busied about the room, cleaning up laundry and making my bed. One minute they had been perfectly yellow beauties, with no spots to speak of, and now they were mushy and brown (thanks to our good friend ethylene…I am so glad that the plant physiology unit in my biology class has come to a close. Now we are dissecting fetal pigs, so don’t plan on seeing any pork recipes on the blog anytime soon).

Gross bananas have two main uses: smoothies and bread. It is still a bit too cold to be thinking about smoothies, so I decided to play with a recipe from My New Roots. I had to improvise on several levels due to lack of ingredients; thank goodness for the versatility of this simple yet comforting loaf.

I had to part from the heavenly smell of the bread to go to track practice; this was probably a good thing because it forced me to let the loaf cool before devouring. After a nice hot shower, I settled onto the futon in my room with a blanket, hot cup of coffee, and thick slice of the still slightly warm bread. I allowed the heavenly moment to clear my head of chemistry tests, running injuries, and lingering homesickness.

Buckwheat Almond Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/4 milk of your choice (I used part almond, part coconut)
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup yogurt (to make vegan, sub this with soy yogurt or another 1/3 cup of non-dairy milk – although the batter may be less thick the product should still turn out the same)
  • 6 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium sized bananas, approx. 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups trail mix (I used Sweet and Savory trail mix from Trader Joes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, add milk, melted oil, yogurt, vanilla, and bananas and blend on high until smooth (for chunkier banana texture in the bread, leave the bananas out of this step and mix into batter by hand). In a separate bowl, stir together flours, powder, soda, salt, and coconut sugar. Then add wet ingredients to dry and fold gently. Sprinkle in trail mix and then pour into a prepared loaf pan, muffin tin, or (as I was forced to use due to lack of supplies, and luckily it still worked) a 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and then slice and serve. This can be frozen and enjoyed several weeks later as well.

IMG_3272