The Yoga Of Baking
My love of baking started at a really young age, and was inspired and fostered by my grandmother, Geneva Hammitte. I remember her rolling out dough for biscuits and cutting the dough with a drinking glass. I loved spending time with her in the kitchen making homemade donuts, biscuits, cobblers, hand pies, etc. She would share stores of growing up in a mining town in Fonde, Kentucky, and I loved to hear what she had to say about her family, my grandfather's family, and her experiences in the South. She passed away too young when I was in my early twenties, lung cancer from smoking unfiltered Pall Malls all those years. I miss her still, and am sad that my children never had a chance to spend time with her. To this day, when in the kitchen and baking something for family or friends, her utensils still make their way into my hands as I prepare desserts and sweets to share. When I am baking in the kitchen, my thoughts wander to the past and the present, my mind stills, and I am in "The Zone". It is so very meditative and relaxing. Just as Mommom (our name for her) infused her cooking and baking with love for her family and friends, I strive to do the same. I read somewhere (don't quote me, as my memory is spotty) that there is a spa where the kitchen staff chants mantra while cooking, to infuse everything they prepare with good energy. It is a form of yoga....creating something of beauty with the tools and ingredients at hand, following recipes passed down along the way, infusing it all with love from the heart to nourish and soothe...and I believe it is what makes homemade food so tasty and satisfying.
Below is the recipe many have been asking me for. It was adapted from the cookbook "Vegan with a Vengeance" by Isa Chandra Mokowitz. Enjoy!
Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup chunky all-natural peanut butter
1/2 cup Succanat (dried cane sugar, you can find at Harvest Health)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan or regular)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two cookie sheets
Toss together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl mix the oil, peanut butter, sugars, almond milk, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix. Add the chocolate chips. The dough will be very firm and moist. With a spoon, take 1-2 TB of dough and make the size of cookie you would like and place them on the cookie sheets. I press them down a bit, as they do not spread out very much while baking. Depending on their size, bake anywhere from 8-15 minutes, until they are puffed and lightly browned. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes to firm up before moving off of the cookie sheet.
You can choose to make these vegan by carefully choosing only vegan ingredients, or just use what you have at hand.