December 19, 2012

Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms, a plant-based version

Before I went plant-based, each Christmas I would bake an enormous amount of Christmas cookies with our favorite ones being Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms. Given that the recipe calls for a half a cup of shortening, egg and milk, I knew I wasn't going to be making those this holiday season. My DH, who's also been plant-based since October 1st was also interested in finding a no-fat vegan alternative. So I posted a question on the New Herbies page on Facebook - if anyone had come across a vegan version. Of course, I knew I wouldn't be able to find vegan Hershey's kisses and was willing to substitute those out with vegan chocolate chips. Within hours someone had posted a link to a recipe which could be adapted very easily to my ways (no added fats/oils). The best part about this recipe was that it only requires measuring cups and spoons, a mixing bowl, a rubber spatula and a cookie sheet. Of course, an oven would be necessary to bake them ;)

Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms, a plant-based version
Recipe Adapted from: My Vegan Cookbook

Prep Time: 30 min including bake time.

Ingredients (24 cookies):
  1. 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  2. 1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
  3. 1/2 cup Quick Oats (I used Quaker oats)
  4. 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  5. 1 tsp Baking Powder
  6. 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  7. 1/4 tsp Salt (optional, I made w and w/o salt; found no difference!)
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 3 tbsp Applesauce (I substituted 2 tbsp Canola oil with Applesauce)
  10. 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  11. 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (I used Kroger brand) 
  12. 1/2 cup Non-Dairy Chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet)
  13. Raw sugar, or granulated sugar, as needed for rolling (I used granulated sugar today).
As the original recipe says, preheat oven to 325 F and dump all the ingredients (in my version, with the exception of the chocolate chips) into a mixing bowl and stir. I used a rubber spatula and occasionally scraped the spatula with a spoon to mix whatever was stuck to it with the rest of the dough.  Once everything was nice and well mixed, I rolled 1 tbsp sized amounts into a small ball, then rolled the ball in sugar and placed each ball onto a greased cookie sheet. My DH pressed each ball with a fork (twice, cross-wise). Sprinkle 5-7 chocolate chips on each ball and bake 12-14 minutes until bottoms are slightly golden. Transfer to a cooking rack. For the kids, we baked the cookies plain and then added a Hershey's kiss on top, so that the cookies looked like the Omni version. I shouldn't have worried the kids gobbled these up!! As the original recipe says, after they are baked let them cool for 15 minutes before you dig in. The cookies are soft out of the oven and crisp up as they cool. Do not leave them uncovered for too long as they do tend to dry up when left out too long.

... with Hershey's kisses on top, like the original HPBBs
My Assessment: These cookies turned out great!! My next batch, which I plan to make later this week I plan on actually mixing in the chocolate chips into the dough before I roll the cookies in sugar. Today, my 3-year old was helping with the sprinkling of chocolate chips so they're a tad unevenly decorated :) Taste great though!! 
Plant-Based HPBBs with Chocolate Chips Mixed In
Recipe Update: December 19, 2012: So I made a double batch again tonight because the last batch lasted only about 2 days in our house. This time, instead of sprinkling the chocolate chips on top, I mixed 1/2 a cup of Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet (vegan) Chocolate chips in with the dough. So for 1 recipe, I would only add 1/4 cup. Once the chips were well mixed, I rolled the dough into small ball, then rolled the ball in sugar and baked for 14 minutes until bottoms are slightly golden. Voila!! Not as pretty as the sprinkled cookies but the chocolate was more evenly distributed and you could taste in each bite!! 

Unpressed HPBBs with Chocolate Chips Mixed In
Second Update: January 12, 2013 : Once the cookie dough is mixed up, put it in the fridge for 20 min. This allows to flax seed meal to swell and the cookies are also less messy to roll. Also, learnt from a friend, if you don't press the cookie balls down, the cookies come out nice and plump, like the original HPBBs. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (Per Cookie): Calories 81
Total Fat 2.8 g; Cholesterol 0 g; Carbohydrates 12.9 g; Fiber 1.2 g; Sugars 8.8 g; Protein 1.8 g