Peanut Butter Miso Cookies

Folks – it is a CRAZY world out there! I’ve been struggling to make sense of my own thoughts and emotions during this tumultuous time. COVID-19, such a short little name with a monumental impact. I saw it creep slowly throughout the world, talking with my family in Taiwan as they watched their country struggle to get the virus under control. It seemed as if we were safe for awhile, but now, even in my state of Minnesota, there are over a hundred cases (and that’s only the confirmed ones!).

I guess I say this not to add to the chaos, but as a gentle reminder that the best thing that we can be doing is to stay home. Trust me, as a twenty-five year old who loves to explore, that’s the last thing I want to be doing either, but staying home WILL save lives. It’ll help keep your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even your pets (!!) safe. Why, you ask? Well, diseases can only be transmitted if there are people to transmit it to. When contagious people stay home and don’t have anyone to spread it to, then we help prevent the spread of the disease. The scary thing about this is that you can totally be contagious and not know it… so bottom line- STAY HOME PLEASE!

And while I’m on this little public health rant (sorry, I can’t help it, in my other life, I work at the Department of Health!), can I just throw in a small plug for baking? It is absolutely wonderful for getting your mind off things just for a small while, and I find it helps with my anxiety. My favorite thing to bake right now is peanut butter miso cookies.

If you did a double take, don’t worry, most people are totally caught off guard by the combination! But if you love salty-sweet desserts, this one is totally for you. And if you don’t, well, give them a try anyway, you might be surprised! My only suggestion for this recipe is to let them sit overnight. Something magical happens in the refrigerator and the flavors blend so seamlessly after sitting for awhile. That being said, I’ve also baked them right after making the dough and they were terrific as well.

Bake well, stay well, and take care ❤

Peanut Butter Miso Cookies | Makes about a dozen

difficulty level – easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted or at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar*
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/8 cup (a.k.a. 2 tbsp) red miso paste (you can usually purchase at an Asian grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter (this is super important for texture! If you only have smooth pb, it wil work, but the texture will be off)
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*If you want a chewier peanut butter cookie, add in 1 full cup of brown sugar.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F).
  2. Combine coconut oil, light brown sugar, white sugar, miso paste, peanut butter, egg and vanilla in a bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined. It is important not to over mix, otherwise the cookie will be tough. I like to use a spatula for this part.
  5. Roll into walnut sized balls (think a little smaller than a golf ball)
  6. Bake at 350 (F) for 10-12 mins or until edges are just starting to brown.
  7. Cool on a cookie rack, or eat while hot!
  8. Cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, and will keep for a couple months in the freezer (I like to roll the dough into individual balls and then freeze. When you’re ready to bake, no need to defrost, just bake them a little bit longer.)

Enjoy!

Vegan Lemon Orange Black Tea Cookies

 *Disclaimer: There are no “after” pictures on account of everyone eating them before I had a chance to take photos


What do you get when you give someone who doesn’t drink tea, tea bags?  They make cookies with them! Seriously, I’m not sure if it’s my Asian upbringing that prevented me from tossing these straight into the trash or the fact that I’m trying to live more sustainability, but either way, the end result was some pretty amazing cookies. These cookies are like having tea and cookies all in one bite.  Or like a drop of summer with the infused lemon-orange flavor. 


At first, I was a bit skeptical about trying to make tea infused cookies.  In my previous experience, they’re hard to do, even in regular cookies, much less vegan cookies.  Something always manages to go wrong, whether it’s the tea flavor being too strong, or too weak or too bitter after baking.  Luckily, by using lemon-orange tea, or any other sort of fruity lying tea you might have around, the citrus flavor is balanced perfectly with the black tea, so it doesn’t taste too bitter at all. 


I won’t lie, there’s a fair bit of time that goes into these cookies, mostly waiting around time, but still, time that you have to spend not having cookies in your stomach.  BUT, I can promise for being vegan, these are ENTIRELY worth it. The key to this recipe is giving your tea bag of choice enough time to steep in the water and oil, otherwise you’ll end up with tasteless cookies.  It took me about a million times to get the timing right, but lucky for you, it should only take one try 🙂


The vibrant color you see in the pictures are entirely natural. The lemony cream color is just from the black tea, while the more magenta colored ones are from being rolled in crushed freeze-dried raspberries before baking.  Again, the Asian part of me couldn’t bear to throw away too sour freeze-dried raspberries sitting in my pantry, and they turned out to be the perfect tartness needed for these cookies.


DO NOT OVER BAKE THESE COOKIES!!!!!! SO IMPORTANT, I can’t emphasize that enough.  Because there are vegan cookies, when you over bake them, instead of becoming golden brown with crunchy edges when you use butter, it ends up burning and hardening. If you’re unsure, err on the side of under baking.  I mean, their vegan, so technically no raw eggs = eat all the raw cookie dough you want!


As I’m writing this, I’ve got some beet (yes, beet) bread in the oven that I’m hoping will retain a nice, bright pretty color, so send me some good thoughts if you can spare them! I know it’s been awhile since I blogged my last post, but things have been busy around here! I’m finishing up my first year of grad school, which means doomsday (aka finals) is fast approaching.  Can you believe that they make people write 40 page papers? My hand is cramping up already as I think about it. After that I’ll be headed back to good ole’ MN for awhile before starting a environmental health summer internship.


What can I say? I’m excited for summer, the sunshine, and of course, more of these citrusy cookies! If you’e got a couple hours to spare, try this recipe out! Or add it to your meatless Monday dinner as dessert, I can promise no one will complain. 

VEGAN LEMON ORANGE BLACK TEA COOKIES | Makes 12-16 large cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tsp neutral tasting oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tsp hot water (basically as hot as you would normally make tea with)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tea bags of your choice (preferably a fruity tasting one)
  • 1/4 cup crushed freeze-dried raspberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Measure out water and oil into their own bowl.  Add one tea bag to each bowl and let steep for 10 minutes. Take tea bags out of each liquid, making sure to squeeze tea bag thoroughly so you don’t mess up measurements.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. Combine steeped water and oil, vanilla and white sugar and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add flour into sugar mixture and just combine until no flour is visible.
  5. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour (this is crucial as the mixture will be too soft to handle otherwise!) and up to 24 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 (F). Portion out golf-ball sized cookies and roll half in the crushed freeze-dried raspberries.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until centers of cookies start to look set/firm.
  8. Cookies stay fresh for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies

I’ve struggled for weeks trying to figure out what to write about this recipe.  Why has it been so hard for me? I’m not sure, perhaps because these cookies were made for July 4th, a holiday to celebrate America.  Every 4th of July, I am reminded of the wonderful opportunities that America has given me and my family, but there are still things that are happening in America that make my heart cry.


America has always been a diverse country, but these days, it is the diversity that seems to be our greatest enemy.  I’m not exactly the most eloquent writer, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope these cookies will help you set aside your differences, if only for one day, and enjoy America, the home of the brave and the land of the free.

IMPORTANT: The more you knead the butter together with the dry ingredients, the softer and less tough your cookies will be, because the butter will surround the individual flour particles and prevent too much gluten from forming.  The key to getting nicely shaped cookies is to cut them on the prepared cookie sheet or parchment paper to make transporting the cookies into the oven easier

STARS & STRIPES SUGAR COOKIES | Makes 2.5 dozen large cookies
INGREDIENTS

For cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp cold butter – in 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

For icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • Blue and red food coloring

DIRECTIONS
For the cookies

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add butter cubes into dry mixture and use hands to incorporate butter and flour until mixture resembles fine sand.  The more you knead, the better!
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg and almond extract together. Then pour into dry mixture.
  4. Using wooden spoon or spatula, mix egg in until a dough forms.  Then work dough with hands to form a ball.  Chill dough until firm (~2 hours or up to 3 days).
  5. Flour surface generously before placing dough on parchment paper or cookie sheet. Roll dough to 1/8″ thick.
  6. Using star cookie cutters (I used a 2″ cookie cutter and a 5″ cookie cutter) cut out shapes leaving ~ 1″ in between each cookie.  Remove scraps and chill cookies in fridge for 10 minutes. This will ensure that cookie do not spread in oven.
  7. Preheat oven to 300 (F).  Since cookies are already on parchment paper or cookie sheet, simply place in oven and bake 12-14 minutes for smaller cookies and 16-18 for larger ones. Tops should be an even golden brown color.

For the icing

  1. Mix powdered sugar and milk together in a small bowl. Icing should be thick and not runny. Add more powdered sugar if the mixture seems too runny and more milk if the mixture seems too thick. The icing should be able to stay in one place and not spread everywhere when placed on a surface.
  2. Divide white frosting among 3 bowls. Keep one bowl for white frosting and color the other two bowls red and white, following the instructions on the food dye (mine are all natural colors from Whole Foods)
  3. Using an off-set spatula, frost cookies first with white frosting and let icing dry.
  4. Then drizzle with red and blue icing. Icing can be thinned with milk if consistency becomes too thick to drizzle.
  5. Cookies will stay fresh in air-tight container for up to a week (if they last that long).

Enjoy!

the best chewy chocolate chip cookies

 I’m pretty sure I have a chocolate chip cookie obsession. Not just the “I love to eat chocolate chip cookies” obsession, but the full-blown, “make ten batches of chocolate chip cookies and then proceed to frantically give them away otherwise I’ll eat them all” obsession. Chocolate chip cookies were the first cookies I’ve ever baked, and I still think they’re the best cookie. You can’t go wrong with them, yes, there are a lot of different types of chocolate chip cookies out there (crunchy and thin, thick and chewy, lots of chocolate, no chocolate at all), but I’m positive that there is a type out there for everyone.


To avoid doing homework during college (oops…), I’d always try out new chocolate chip recipes and test them out on my roommates. They were THE best taste testers since some of them really liked a lot of chocolate chunks, one of them didn’t like any chocolate, and they were always willing to gobble up cookies coming straight out of the oven. This recipe is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, thin and chewy, but with still soft centers studded in large pools of molten chocolate…a hint of vanilla and just a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Ugh, I am guilty of eating way too many of these in one sitting.


These are super simple to make, and the addition of molasses is a game-changer, I promise you! If you just DYING to have chocolate chip cookies as soon as possible, you can go ahead and bake them after a 30 minute chill in the fridge, but I would definitely recommend not going less than 2 hours of chilling.  The chilling allows the gluten in the dough to relax and the flavors to emulsify, which leads to a softer cookie and has some serious caramel flavor.


MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES | Makes approximately 1.5 dozen


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (make sure it’s fresh or your cookies will end up flat and sad)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp unsulfured blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter – softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks or chopped pieces from a chocolate bar
  • Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium-sized bowl
  2. In separate bowl, combine dark brown sugar, granulated sugar and molasses. Use hands to rub sugars and molasses together until well mixed (mixture should look uniformly like light brown sugar)
  3. In large bowl, cream butter either in stand mixer (medium-high speed) or by hand until it is the consistency of mayonnaise
  4. Then add in sugar mixture and beat together until butter is light and fluffy (3-4 min with mixer, 8-10 by hand)
  5. Add in egg and vanilla and then mix until just combined – do NOT over mix!
  6. Add in dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing well after every addition (put mixer on low speed for this)
  7. Add in chocolate and mix in pieces by hand, over-mixing the dough will cause the cookies to be tough
  8. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days
  9. Pull out dough 30 minutes prior to baking to bring it to room temperature and preheat oven to 350 (F)
  10. Roll dough into a little bigger than golf-ball sized balls and place on lined cookie sheets, giving them at least 3 inches apart to spread out in oven
  11. Gently flatten each ball with the palm of your hand and sprinkle with sea salt
  12. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden and the center still looks a little soft. Cool the cookies (if you can!) on a wire rack.

Enjoy!