One of the advantages that vegans who live in Greece have is that, because of the fasting on the one hand and of the traditional Mediterranean diet on the other, they can find plenty of lenten, plant-based foods and treats that are also vegan, at any time of the year. One of them is halvah, which, although is a delicious dessert by itself, it works also great in recipes such as my favorite fluffy ice-cream made with halva.
This time, as I was in a baking mood, I used halvah as a filling in one of my favorite recipes for chocolate cookies with olive oil. I came up with the recipe for the cookies once when I wanted to make chocolate cookies but did not want to use margarine. Having no alternative at that time I used olive oil. Finally the recipe was so delicious that since then, this is the one that I bake the most for our coffee or tea. Indeed these chocolaty bites are so crispy and yummy that no one is going to believe it’s vegan.
Wanting to make a little more interesting my original cookie recipe, I decided to enrich them with a tasty stuffing and I never regretted it! The halva and the chocolate are combined in an interesting way and every bite melts in the mouth, like a tasty surprise that you don’t expect but you will definitely welcome it as particularly pleasant!
(for 25-30 cookies )
For the cookies
100 g (1/3 cup + 2 tbsp ) olive oil, cold
45 ml (3 tbsp ) vegan milk, cold
3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
125 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
125 g (1 cup) whole-wheat flour
150 g raw cane sugar
½ tsp baking powder
For the filling
125 g tahini halva, cut into cubes (I used vanilla, but feel free to choose your favorite flavor)
In a bowl mix with a wooden spoon the olive oil with the sugar, the vegan milk, the cocoa powder and the baking powder.
Gradually add all-purpose flour while stirring. Once incorporated, gradually add the whole-wheat flour. Knead for a while, until all the ingredients are well mixed but do not overdo it as your cookies will become tough.
Form a ball with the dough, cover with film and leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Take walnut-size pieces of the dough, press each with your hand to form a ½ cm width disc and put into a piece of halva. Fold the edges of the dough over the halva, push with your fingers to seal and to shape a proper cookie.
Place the cookies on a lined oven tray, spaced 2 cm apart. Bake at 170 oC for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Leave on a wire rack to cool and keep in an airtight container.
During Easter holidays, I have plenty of time to do the things I like the most, as to plant basils and other herbs in my pots, prepare sweet and savory recipes and bake delicious goods!
Today I wanted to experiment with the vegan version of traditional Greek Easter cookies, as they remind me a lot of my childhood and bring to my memories all the wonderful colors, sounds and fragrances of the spring.
As I was looking for the perfect, fragrant, tasty and crunchy cookie, I experimented with three different recipes: in the first I used baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate) together with baking powder, in the second I used only baking powder and in the third, I replaced the wheat flour with buckwheat-flour, in order to make a gluten-free version!
I liked all of them, but it is worth to mention the following: the fluffier and lighter texture had those made with ammonia, although their taste certainly did not differ from the cookies made only with baking powder. Also, the gluten-free cookies made with buckwheat flour had a characteristic aroma and flavor thanks to buckwheat -an ingredient that according to my opinion is great when used into sweet recipes. Because they do not contain gluten, a little more effort is needed to shape them but they are certainly worth-trying whether you are on a gluten-free diet or not.
If you prefer orange flavored cookies, simply replace lemon zest with orange zest and lemon juice with orange juice.
(for 30 cookies)
125 g vegan margarine
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegan milk
1 tbsp squeezed lemon juice or orange
100 g raw brown sugar
5-6 saffron stamens
zest of 1 lemon or orange
a few drops of natural vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ammonia or an equal amount of baking powder
2 ½ cups (about 340 g) all purpose flour (or buckwheat flour for the gluten-free recipe)
3-4 tbsps vegan milk for brushing
Heat the milk and add into the saffron. Allow to cool.
In a bowl mix with your hands the butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, the milk and saffron mixture and continue mixing until the sugar dissolves.
Add the lemon zest, the vanilla, the baking powder and the baker’s ammonia. Finally slowly add the flour and knead with your hand until incorporated. Depending on the flour you may need 1-2 tbsp more or less. soft.
When you finish kneading, we form a little ball with the dough, the cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
Divide the dough into about 30 walnut size balls.
Take one dough-ball and shape a log of about ½ -1 cm diameter. Then you can form a ring, pressing the ends of the log together to seal, or you can fold the log in half and twist.
Place the cookies on a lined oven tray, spaced 2 cm apart. Brush with milk and bake at 170 oC for 20 minutes or until golden. Leave on a wire rack to cool and keep in an airtight container.
Who doesn’t like chocolate and chocolate baked goods? Well, that’s not me! One of the first things I extensively searched as soon as I became vegan was the most efficient ways to veganize my favorite chocolate desserts and all the baked goods I often crave for, such as these mouthwatering, double chocolate cookies.
They are definitely from those you cannot resist -chewy, rich in chocolate, flavor and taste- and moreover they are incredibly easy to make. Plus you can eat some cookie dough with no concern! My friends, vegans or not, always ask for the recipe!
For the egg-replacer
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
6 tbsp hot water
For the cookie dough
125 g vegan margarine at room temperature
¾ cup raw cane sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup dark chocolate in drops or chopped chocolate
With a spoon mix the margarine, the sugar and the egg replacer. Add the baking soda, the cocoa and finally the flour and mix well. The dough should be soft.
Incorporate the chocolate drops and let the mixture rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Put spoonfuls of the dough on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Make sure they are 3-5 cm apart as they tend to spread during baking. If you want the XL edition – as I usually do! – you’ll need two large spoonfuls of dough for each cookie.
Bake in preheated oven at 180 ° C for only 13 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the baking tray for at least 20-30 minutes. Transfer onto a wire rack until completely cool.