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These “Accidentally Vegan” sandwiches are a cool, chewy, spiced treat that I guarantee you’ll re-consider sharing after your first bite. Eggless Oatmeal cookies nestle a later of non-dairy crème that rivals any “oreo” filling. However, the true star of this treat is the unique flavor that comes from the tangy, spicy scent of ground cardamom. It is unique and a nice change from the traditional cinnamon or nutmeg that overwhelms us this time of year.
Cardamom, that one spice in the back of your pantry…
The Spice House in Chicago offers hands down the best quality ground cardamom that I’ve
found in any of the 12 major cities where I’ve been fortunate to live. Those 12 include food cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. So, trust me when I say their quality and pricing is unbeatable. You don’t have to live in Chicago to get their carefully selected spices. You can order online and see, well more so smell, what I’m talking about!
But now that I’ve thoroughly explained my (un-sponsored) obsession with this place and their products, let me get back to other important stuff, like a confession I need to make!
I like meat!
I feel I need to be honest and say, I am not a Vegan. I have no judgment about those who are, but I love butter. French butter specifically, as well as cream cheese frosting, skinny lattes, and whipped cream, and a good hanger steak. Oh! And cheesecake, custard, and meringues. But I digress.
Why do I feel the need to tell you I’m not a Vegan? Well, because I want to be honest that these cookies taste good to everyone and anyone. (Trust me, I tried them out on a group of Midwestern steak and Italian beef eaters, and they were a hit!) So, although I am not a Vegan, I often cook and bake things that inadvertently end up being dairy free because it can be healthier and less expensive. That’s why I say that these are “accidentally vegan”. But, do not fear. These WILL make your (cow’s) milkshake-gobbling-heart happy!
One of the ingredients in the cookie part of these cookie sandwiches is something called Ener-G Egg Replacer. Its not some weird tasting, oddly textured, hippie ingredient. Trust me. It’s a vegan substitute for those who don’t, or can’t, eat eggs. Its also great for those of us who occasionally (or regularly) forget to buy eggs. The trick when using it is to make sure that you emulsify it well when you mix it into the whipped sugar & butter mixture.
What does emulsify mean? It means to mix it into the fat until it isn’t separated anymore, until you can’t tell that there are multiple ingredients. It’ll all look like one cohesive “sludge”.
“Did she just call me fat?” – Coconut Milk
Another of the main ingredients is Full Fat Coconut milk. Its super important not to try to save calories on this ingredient. The fat is essential to the structure of the crème. Without it, you’ll have soup for filling, and that ain’t gonna work. The other part that is of dire importance is refrigerating or freezing, the unopened can of coconut milk ahead of time.
It’ll separate and solidify the part you’ll use. Don’t remove it from the fridge until the cookies are finished, cooled, and ready to be filled. The colder it is, the easier it’ll be to work with.
One other tip about the coconut milk that will help you be successful is to buy a reputable brand of coconut milk. (I like Thai Kitchen, Whole Foods Brand, and ) Don’t buy a discount brand because it won’t have the quality of “cream”that will solidify.
One of the questions I get most about this gypsy life style is, “How do you make all that food without a kitchen full of equipment?” The answer is, with a lot of practice, and some carefully chosen, travel-friendly tools. To be honest, some of them are more efficient than some of the professional equipment that I have back home in storage from my “pre-nomadic” days. For more info on one of my favorite gypsy-friendly, work horse tools, the Cuisinart Smart Stick with food processor attachment, check out my post “A Kitchen Tool Worth Buying, the Enemy of the “Uni-Tool”.
Storage: Keep these sandwiches refrigerated until you are ready to serve. Enjoy!
Makes 8 sandwiches
- 6 tbsp (3oz) vegan butter (or dairy, which I prefer) *See Chef’s Tip*
- 1/2 (2.5oz) cup brown sugar, not packed
- 1/4 (1.75oz) organic sugar
- 1 cup (5oz) whole wheat pasty flour
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp salt
- .5 tsp baking soda
- .5 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup quick cooking oats, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1.5 tsp Ener-g egg Replacer
- 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) almond milk, lukewarm
- 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
(*Chef’s Tip: If you forget to take the butter out early, or don’t want to wait for it to soften, DON’T put it in the microwave. Instead slice butter into 1/2 inch pieces and put them into the bowl Place the bowl on your stove top while you are preheating the oven, ans get all your other ingredients measured out and ready. By the time you do that the butter should be just right.)
Preheat oven to 350°
- Add the butter to a large bowl. Pour the white and brown sugars over it and let it all soften as you work on the next steps.
- In another large bowl combine pastry flour, cardamom, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/3 of the oats. Set aside.
- Take the other 2/3 of oats and place them in a food processor. Process for 30-45 seconds until is chopped into coarse flour. (Click photos below to see the texture change.) Add that to the flour mixture and whisk in.
- Once the butter is softened, beat in the sugars until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and blend together.
- In a small bowl, microwave the almond milk until lukewarm, NOT HOT (10-20 secs) and whisk in the Ener-G mixture until well combined. Pour into the sugar/butter mixture and beat until well emulsified. (See photos above about emulsifying the ener-g.)
- Pour the flour mixture over the sugar/butter mixture and mix together using a spatula or large spoon. Don’t use your mixer to do this part because it can over-beat the flour and create hard, dense cookies.
- Drop (or scoop) by about 2 tbsp amounts onto prepared pans. Using a wet spoon, flatten the center of the cookie and shape into about 2.5″ disks. It should make 16.
7. Bake for 18-22 mins. (You want them on the crispy side so they don’t get soggy with the filling.) Remove from oven and let cool on the sheet pan for 5 mins. Move off of parchment paper and onto a cooling rack.
To Make Crème:
- Chill the whole, unopened can of coconut milk. Remove the lid, and scoop out the cream that will have solidified at the top. It should give you about a 1/2 cup. Place that into a medium (preferably chilled, but don’t stress over it) bowl.
- Sift the powdered sugar and cardamom over it and using a whisk, gently combine it by hand. Refrigerate for 20-30 mins.
- Pair up the cookies according to size/shape. Divide the crème filling between 8 “bottom” cookies. (I like to use my truffle scoop for this.) Top with their corresponding “lids”, and refrigerate at least 20 mins, or until ready to eat! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat chilled.