Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vegan Animal Crackers

As an only child, searching for your Easter basket is a quick and boring adventure. But, when you have a new baby, or in this case, a practicing toddler, you forget to think like a participant and become a planner. I had dreams of an Easter egg hunt with her cousins. But, this year, we thought we would start with a tiny, little basket. I had grand plans to make one from woven paper, but instead I got so focused on the contents of the basket. Belle can't eat chocolate because she is too young for cocoa and sensitive to dairy. So, I decided to fulfill some of her desires.
The other day at school, she saw a little girl eating animal crackers. She had never even heard of crackers, let alone cookies. I have been attempting to profit from her myopic view of the world. Bananas are dessert in her mind. Mangoes are a treat. It is not that she hasn't had baked goods, but I used little or no sugar in her desserts. But, for my husband, Easter was filled with sugar-hazed memories. How could I keep her in the dark forever? I wasn't ready to give up and purchase crackers. I would rather wear flats and curlers in Nordstrom than chemical-laden cookies. Won't it be funny in 1 year when I read this while watching my daughter eat Spaghetti O's, Cheeto's, and Animal Crackers?
So, I looked around for a recipe. Animal crackers at home, vegan-style, seemed to me to be an easy adventure. All I could find was regular recipes, so I sat down to veganize. The recipe was easy to convert as it didn't have egg as a binder. The result was animal crackers, but not quite as good as the ones from the little circus box. I mean they weren’t bad, but the lack chemicals or maybe the recipe meant that these just didn’t hit the spot. Luckily, Belle has never even seen a box of animal crackers, let alone ingested whatever chemicals and dairy derived whey lurks within those amorphous creatures.
If I made this recipe again, I would add nutritional yeast to made them savory or else add a tablespoon of cane sugar to add some sweetness. As the recipe stood, they had a sad in-betweenness of flavor. Next to the Linzer cookies, they were sort of that plain girl who was friends with the popular girl, physically present but not remarkable or even memorable.
In the end, the basket of cookies were an enormous hit. Together they served as enough fuel to help Belle wear out 6 adults and still have time to harass the dogs. (As I was reading Is My Blog Burning, I found that this whole thing fit into the theme for Sugar High Fridays. And, what is a week without a blog event, really?)
Vegan Animal Crackers
Pulse in a food processor until you get a fine powder

1/2 cup oatmeal

Add to the food processor and pulse the following until the mixture looks grainy:
3 t agave nectar
1/4 to 1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
4 T soymilk
1 T apple cider vinegar

Using your hand, knead the mixture together into a small ball.

Chill for one hour. Roll out thin. And cut with cookie cutters. This dough works better with mini-cutters rather than large ones.


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1 comment:

The Apron Queen said...

These look totally yummy! Animal crackers are one of my all time favorites.

Stop by for a visit. I'll even save a cookie for you! :D

Confessions of an Apron Queen: