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World Vegan Day and the Scoop on Scoops

1 Nov

My first official blog post!  I chose to start today in honor of World Vegan Day as well as the first official day of VeganMoFo (Vegan Month of Food).  What better way to kick off my blog writing, than with a month-long challenge to write about food and cooking every day?  Perfect!

The Scoop on Scoops

Since all good activism is enhanced with food, I baked chocolate chip cookies (from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking)  to share at my friend Christine’s presentation tonight at the Millville Public Library.  Christine’s discussion was called “Compassion – Why Love Some Animals and Eat Others?” which she presented to a group that raises money and awareness for low-cost spaying/neutering of dogs and cats.

In preparing the cookies, I realized I only had enough organic sugar to make one batch.  Having no idea how many people would attend the presentation, I was hoping for at least four dozen cookies.  And so I thought to make my cookies smaller…

In making the cookies smaller, some questions came up.  Would the temperature and timing of the baking be the same? Would there be enough chips in each cookie or would there be a few lacking chips?  Would they be chewy or crunchy?

When making cookies, I love using scoops rather than spoons so that each of my  cookies are the same size, and I need not get my fingers messy while scooping them on cookie sheets.  Cookie scoops, along with parchment paper, are my two favorite tools for making fast, easy cookies.

My three cookie scoops

I have three scoops, as pictured.  The smallest is a Pamper Chef (bout 3/4 Tbsp.), the medium is a Chefmate (about 1 Tbsp.), and the largest has no distinguishable brand name (about 2 Tbsp.)   Have a scoop, but not sure it’s size?  Click here for instructions.  Some companies label them by inches, millimeters, ounces, or even just “small, medium, large.”  But if you have different brands, as I do, it may be good to get uniform measurements so you know to what to expect.

Out of these three, the Pampered Chef is the best one.  The metal is thicker, the mechanism is stronger and smoother in its motion, thus delivering a quick, well-formed cookie dough ball usually in one squeeze.  Unfortunately, the other two are not as great in quality and have actually fallen off track several times, requiring a pause in my baking, a dash to the tool closet, and the use of pliers to set them back.  I know that I might be squeezing too hard or too repetitively, and I have tried dipping the scoop in water between cookies to prevent sticking.  However, with a tool that is meant to speed up my baking, I expect to scoop, squeeze, drop, and move on, which is why the Pampered Chef Scoop is my favorite.  Oxo and Martha Stewart apparently also make cookie scoops that have received good reviews, but I have never tried them.

Three scoops; three cookies

I managed to stretch the limited amount of cookie batter to three cookie sheets — one with each scoop.  The pictures show the sizes of my cookies.  The largest scoop yielded a 3″ inch diameter cookie that was definitely the chewiest and tastiest, enjoyed in about three or four bites.  It require about 1 minute, 30 seconds more of baking time.  I followed the standard recipe time for the medium scoop tray, which produced a 2.5″ diameter cookie that was still chewy and tasty, eaten in about two bites.  For the last cookie tray bearing the small scoop dough, I subtracted 1 minute of time as I could see they were getting brown faster.  Interestingly enough, many of these cookies measured 2.25″ diameter, almost the same width as the medium cookies, but were much flatter, crispier around the edges, and not as chewy.  They could be eaten in one or two bites.

Yummy, no matter what size...

In conclusion, the best cookies were both the larger and medium scoop cookies.  The smallest scoop probably would require modification to the recipe since they had spread so fast on the parchment, thus resulting in a different texture.  In the future, I might just make the largest cookies and cut them into quarters for bite-sized portions at potlucks or community events, or leave them intact for gifts.

In the end, the cookies were a success at the presentation, receiving many compliments including the always-surprised, “These are vegan??” and “You mean there’s no butter or eggs in these?”  All in all, a great way to open up people’s hearts and ears to a message of compassion, with a little help from their taste buds.