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Year Recap & I Love You
So. Here we are at the end of a year that has tested each and every one of us. It’s definitely been a test of dedication to our family, fellow neighbors and communities, as a result of staying socially distant, wearing masks, sanitizing and washing our hands regularly after being in public spaces and interacting with others that aren’t in our “bubble”.
It’s also been a test of our mental states, forcing us to look inward as we refrain from breathing/sneezing/coughing on people. I miss hugging people the most, along with going out to my beloved metal shows. I miss having people over and cooking delicious treats while we create merriment over delicious local brews.
We have also had our own personal tests that compound the issue further. For myself, it was the Hubbs and I moving to Maryland exactly one year ago today. My heart was angrily squeezed, and then broken into an infinite dust with the thought of leaving our forever home in California. Every square inch was manicured to our tastes, inside and out. Our tight network of family and friends that we adored, would no longer be an arm’s length away.
We bought a house in a place we had never visited before, and three weeks later, the pandemic hit. We had tickets to shows on March 13th & 14th. That Friday the 13th, we got word that the shows were cancelled, and that the United States had issued a declaration of National Emergency. We’ve spent a majority of the year cooped up in our new house.
But, we have so much to be thankful for. My Cousin and her family welcomed us in the same city with open arms, as did her friends. Our surrounding Vegan restaurants and breweries have nourished and be-friended us. We remodeled our kitchen that we cook in multiple times a day, and our new neighbors are the best that a family could ever ask for.
I hope that you, too, are doing as well as you can during this pandemic. I know it’s shitty, but we will make it through this. Remember to be kind to one another, and give people a break. You never know what another might be going through, especially now. It’s a good rule of thumb to go by with or without a pandemic, however. I love you, and without further ado – If I could, I’d have you over for a cocktail party and serve you these delightful savory & spicy cookies!
The cheese used in this recipe is two-fold, and both are from a brand that I love. While not all vegan cheese brands are created equal, some are better than others in specific areas. Violife is a brand that excels in both the parmesan and feta copycat world, so I strongly suggest the Violife brand for this recipe.The Violife Parmesan Cheese is best to be coarsely grated for these cocktail cookies, as it creates a more tender dough by creating pockets of moisture that contribute to a flaky cookie. I used a large box grater, measured the 1/3 cup needed, and placed it in the food processor, along with the other dry ingredients.
Mixing The Dough For Cocktail CookiesWhen pulsing, don’t work the dough too much, and stop when things aren’t mixing well. Remove the top to the food processor and using a spatula, re-arrange the mixture so that it has a better opportunity to get picked up by the blades. Do slightly long pulses, about two seconds at a time, and re-evaluate. This will result in delightfully flaky cocktail cookies!
Rolling Out The Dough
This recipe is based off of cocktail cookies made by Dorie Greenspan, a.k.a. the cookie goddess (at least that’s how I think of her), and I didn’t stray too much from her method. After you divide the dough into two equal balls, bring it together, then flatten on a piece of parchment. Add another parchment on top, and roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Using the parchment allows you to roll it out without the introduction of extra flour. It then doubles as a means to protect it when it sits in the freezer to set for an hour.
After the dough chills thoroughly, a 1 1/2″ biscuit cutter is used to create the perfect cookie bites – perfect finger food for a cocktail party!
Violife Feta cheese is probably the vegan cheese that resembles any cheese the closest that I’ve ever seen. It has the same flavor and pretty close texture to that of chevre – young goat cheese, and it’s amazing. The texture is a bit firmer, but it’s GREAT in salads, and particularly great with roasted beets. This time, I whipped it in a small food processor with some plant milk to give it the consistency of buttercream for these cookies, and it did not disappoint.
Bring these cookies into your life today, and remember to find joy in the small things. Practice gratitude when you wake up in the morning to start your day of in a positive light. I love you, and can’t wait to journey to this next year with you, happier and healthier! Cheers!
Spicy Pizza Cocktail Cookies
These are spicy, savory cookies that are perfect little bites for a cocktail soirée!
For The Cookies
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Finely Chopped
- 2 Cups Flour
- ⅓ Cup Violife Vegan Parmesan Cheese Coarsely Grated
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Sticks Earth Balance Vegan Butter
For The Whipped Feta
- 1 Package Violife Feta Cheese
- 4 Teaspoons Almond Milk
For The Cookies
Cut the butter into small cubes and return to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Put the sugar and rosemary into a small bowl together, and rub with fingers to release the oils of the rosemary. Don't worry if the sugar turns a lovely shade of green!
To a large food processor, add all the cookie ingredients except the butter and tomato paste. Pulse a few times to combine. Add in the chunks of butter along with the tomato paste, and do 2 long pulses until large curds form. Make sure the tomato paste is evenly distributed and pulse again if necessary. You're looking for large curds, and even distribution of tomato paste, but don't work the dough more than you have to.
On a clean surface, gather the dough into a ball, and cut in half. Lay out one sheet of parchment paper, press one half into a disk, and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Roll out to 1/4" thickness, and place on a cookie sheet, leaving it encased in the sheets of parchment. Do the same with the other half of dough, and stack it on the first rolled out dough. Place in the freezer for an hour.
When the hour is up, preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silpat. Using a 1½" diameter biscuit cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, spacing them evenly on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I got 20 cookies on a baker's half sheet. Save the scraps.
Bake for 15 minutes, turning the pan at the midway mark. Remove from oven, and let cool on the pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Repeat with the remaining disk. Take the scraps from both disks and combine them, repeating the roll-out between parchment paper. Freeze the rolled out disk while the other cookies bake, and then cut and bake like the others, making sure that you use a completely cool baking sheet to bake the third and final batch.
For The Whipped Feta
While the cookies are baking, prepare the whipped feta. I use Violife Feta Vegan Cheese for this recipe, so any other vegan feta may not work, nor have the desired flavor profile for these cookies.
Remove the cheese from the packaging, while reserving the liquid in the package. Cut the cheese into small chunks and add to a small food processor, along with the liquid in the package, and the 4 teaspoons almond milk. Pulse in long pulses until the mixture is very smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary.
Place mixture in a piping bag fitted with a star attachment, and carefully pipe stars on the tops of the cookie. Top with more fresh rosemary, and if your guests love spice, add more chili flakes. Serve immediately!
You can make these cookies a day before hand, and store them in an air-tight container without the whipped feta.
You can also make the whipped feta a day beforehand as well, storing in a separate air-tight container, covered in the refrigerator. Remove the feta 30 minutes before working with it. Using a spatula, mix again, making sure that the mixture is pliable, and free of clumps after being in the refrigerator. From here, add to the piping bag, and decorate the cookies as stated in the recipe.