Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vegan Bachelor Buttons (Vintage Baking from Grandma)

Delicious and perfect--vegan recreation of grandma's Christmas cookie: The Bachelor Buttons!

I would have had more of these cooling, but several were consumed!

My grandmother's handwritten recipe. Priceless.
I got to thinking about this cookie when the weather turned bitter cold this past week--45 m.p.h. winds accompanying temperatures in the teens. My holiday urges began to creep in. Not the urges that lead to "shopping"--but the urge to bake. My grandmother used to bake this cookie every Christmas. I loved it--moist, sweet, a bit salty and then, topped with that cherry that I love so much. I used to hide them for future eating excursions. I would lurk about in the kitchen as the rolling and pressing and baking was taking place. I would pluck the maraschino cherries in my mouth like they were potato chips--I was in heaven. I loved to watch my grandma bake. After my mother passed away, my sister and I were in the house looking through, what else--the kitchen. She said, It just makes sense for you to have mom's recipes--you're the cook. So I took them. Unbeknownst to me, hidden between my mom's recipe cards were my grandmother's hand written recipes. I felt like I had just uncovered a sacred scroll or something. Old, yellow, and some really worn or stained with oils--but preserved nonetheless.(Thankfully not in shorthand, as she was once a secretary and known for her shorthand curves and dots.)

A search on the origin of this cookie turned up little to nothing--though some noted it was said to have been appealing to bachelors, thus spinsters would often bake them. My grandma, was in fact, a spinster--but a darn good one given she had a country club membership and lived pretty nicely for a widow.

I have, of course, made this a vegan cookie (sorry grandma!). But this is a very, very good replica if I don't say so myself! I love this cookie with all of its nutty goodness and, the best part--topped with a cherry!
To get some of the yolk look I recalled--I added just a smidge of tumeric--and it does not affect the flavor one single bit--it may even enhance it! I hope you try these and share them. The recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen--probably would make more, but I ate a lot of dough!

Vegan Bachelor Buttons

1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) Earth Balance Shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of tumeric (*optional, but I added it for a bit of color)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or non--your call)
1 jar maraschino cherries
extra chopped pecans to roll in--just about 3 tablespoons should work

Preheat oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix your Egg Replacer and set aside.
Take about 1/3 cup of maraschino cherries and drain them, then, cut them in half. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add the vegan butter and shortening and chop up really well with a knife. Then, add brown sugar. This can get messy, but just follow along. Go ahead and try to mix this together with your hand blender. As it begins to piece up more--add the Egg Replacer--this will then help it blend more smoothly. Now add the vanilla extract, mix well with blender. Next, place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix in with your hands or a wooden spoon until mixture begins to form a dough. Next, stir in coconut and then pecans. Place extra pecans on a plate. Roll about a teaspoonful of dough into 1" balls and then roll a bit in the pecans. Not necessarily to completely cover them, but just enough to add a nice touch. Place on cookie sheet and with your pinky or finger, press a hole into the dough--but not all the way through the cookie. Take a half maraschino cherry and place in the hole. Space the cookies out about 2 inches. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 2 minutes. Place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. These are adorable! I wonder if there's a spinster cookie, hmm?

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  2. These are so cute! I can't wait to try them!!

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  3. Hi! Thanks for the comments! First, if there is a "spinster" cookie, I know my grandma would have had the recipe, though my mother may have tossed it! Second, if you do make this cookie, they are just as tasty on day two--they served as a nice side with my banana I had for breakfast! And snack for lunch. . . and dessert tonight!

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