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The results of my last baking extravanganza...

Last night around 12:30am I realized that today was the day I signed up to bring in food for my Eating Your Ecology/Food Writing class. Every week a different member of the class has to bring in some kind of food, preferably made with organic or local or vegan (read: expensive?) ingredients and share it with the class. No big, I thought, I’ll just whip up some applesauce made with local apples, or bake some bread with nuts and grains I gathered from the Penn State squirrels, or bring in a cornicopia of fresh vegetables that I grew on my windowsill.

Obviously, too many good ideas. So in my typical fashion, I decided to go to bed and deal with it the next day.

It wasn’t until I woke up today when I couldn’t figure out for the life of me¬†when I was going to have time to do this. Since there are no farmers markets to be found in February, and the nearest store with an organic section was way too far to walk in my heels from the career fair, I had to settle with whatever I could find in my pantry and the little grocery store down the street.

Searching for vegan cookie recipes on my ipod while I paced the aisles, I settled on a peanut butter banana bread. I had bananas, I had peanut butter, I just needed baking soda and vanilla. Or did I need vanilla? Everyone has vanilla sitting in their cupboards. I definitely had some in my cabinet at home.

10 minutes later, I’m standing in my kitchen where there is no vanilla to be found. After debating whether or not I really needed it, I thought of the baking disaster from above and decided that I was in no place to go changing recipes.

New plan: Lower-Fat Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. A cookie recipe without eggs or milk. I may not know much about the science of baking, but I was not confident about this one. I creamed the peanut butter and sugar, mushed the bananas, and somehow came out with a cookie-dough looking substance. I jammed the too-big cookie sheets into the too-small oven. Because only good things happen when your oven won’t close the whole way.

10 minutes later…the ‘cookies’ came out looking exactly the same way they did when they went in. Except…hotter?

Surprisingly, they weren’t bad. Not great, kind of bland, but not bad. I searched around my kitchen for something to kick ‘em up a little bit. Enter a half-full can of cream cheese icing!

…and after icing half of them, I realized that cream cheese icing meant that they were no longer vegan.

But after class, they were all gone and highly complimented! So I would say my first venture into the vegan world was a surprising success. But I think I’ll stick with my eggs and milk, thank you very much.

Do you have vegan baking success/horror stories? Or just baking horror stories in general? I set a pan on fire yesterday, so no judging from me….


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