Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Share Our Strength and Vegan Candy Cane Jojos


You may have been seeing Share Our Strength’s progressive dinner around blogland lately. I was inspired to take up the cause by several posts I saw. In case you’re still unaware about the program, I’ll give you the lowdown.

The No Kid Hungry campaign is a 5-year effort to end childhood hunger in America.

You can donate to No Kid Hungry by clicking HERE.

Michele from What’s Cooking with Kids is one of the organizers of this event, and I’d say she’s doing a great job getting the word out. There have been several events associated with this campaign that aims to reach its goal by 2015. In 2009 they added 4.5 million meals to needy tables.

I often find myself conflicted about the extreme gap between need and available aid. There are a million needs and they are all important. I want to help more than I do or can. I am rich compared to those in need, even if I complain about the price of milk or my tiny apartment or what my government is not doing. I try to remind myself about that, every day. Certainly if I can drop some money on a Christmas present (or ten, really), I can drop some money here. If you can do more, get the word out by posting about it on your blog.

Money, people, is really the least you can do. Easier than any help you can give and most of us can afford it. Hunger is an embarrassment to kids, especially, and even people you know may be suffering. Hunger is stressful and there’s a strong correlation between hunger and success in life. More than one of my high school students has admitted to me, in quiet moments, that providing food is an issue for their family.

062_edited-1For my part I made dessert (of course). I don’t live close to a Trader Joe’s, so I always try to get someone to bring me a box of Candy Cane Jo Jos. That crisp slightly bitter cookie, the crunch of candy cane, the sweet filling. I want them every year.

*bing!* Brilliant idea. Why not make them?

And even better, why not make them vegan?

I personally feel despair in my soul when a vegetarian or vegan comes to my table and I have nothing to offer. I’ve built up a large repertoire of vegan recipes and I make them regularly. Vegan desserts are nothing to be ashamed of. They are divine and indulgent. I love them as much as any dessert (you know, I love dessert). I wasn’t surprised at all when a girl recently won the Cupcake Wars with her vegan cupcakes.

I always have this conversation with people who are not vegan: “They don’t even taste vegan!”

But they don’t. And really, I shouldn’t even tell them. Why does it matter? Good is good. Even Jake liked ‘em and said, “These are vegan?” He NEVER says that when I make vegan anything.

I wanted to make these for Da’s Kitchen Corners Cookoff too. That’s where I got my inspiration to make these. Check out the other great holiday cookies there.

I also found two awesome recipes for homemade oreos that are gluten free vegan, and not vegan.

064_edited-1Vegan Candy Cane Jo Jos (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

make sure your candy canes are crisp. If you live in a tropical area like me, buy the candy canes from the store and immediately crush them up. Otherwise you get candy cane gluey chunks, which make the whole thing taste like toothpaste. I had to make two batches to get it right.

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/4 Cup dutch processed baking cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 16 tbsp earth balance vegan butter
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp silken soft tofu, mashed finely
  • 3 oz dark chocolate vegan chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Beat the butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes, and scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the tofu, melted chocolate, and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the dry ingredients and mix until it comes together and is a uniform color, maybe 1 minute.
  3. The dough will be very soft. Put down plastic wrap and with half the dough, make a log with about 1 1/2” diameter. (or as big as you wish your cookies to be.) Wrap in the plastic and put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before baking. I put mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes and it was fine. Repeat with remaining dough. This can be frozen for later use as well. I only used 1 log to make my cookies (about 16 sandwich cookies.)

  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the dough round into 1/8” slices and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. When you’re slicing, keep rotating the round to keep the cookies round on all sides (I forgot. Therefore, ugly cookies. But still tasty!) Bake for 12-15 minutes. They’re done when they look dry and they will seem slightly soft when you take them out of the oven, but will crisp up when you leave them out to cool.

Vegan Oreo Cookie Frosting

(makes about half a batch of sandwich cookies or 1 1/2 Cups)

  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Earth Balance shortening
  • 1 Tbsp almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar

Beat the butters together until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat for 2-3 minutes or until desired consistency. You may need to add a little milk or powdered sugar depending on the humidity of your area.

Vegan Candy Cane Jo Jo frosting

  • 1 1/2 Cups vegan oreo cookie frosting
  • 1 candy cane, crushed (I did this in a plastic bag and beat it with my pastry rolling pin)

Combine and put in a pastry bag or plastic ziplock with the corner snipped off. Pipe about 1 tsp into the middle of the cookie (flip it over so the bottom is facing up) and place another cookie on top.

See the other dessert participants for Share Our Strength’s Progressive Dinner. Sure to be YUMMY.


Family Friendly


Gluten Free



Kristen, pajama mama said...

oh my goodness-I soooooo want to try making these...but I'm scared. are they tricky?

and i've been reading about eliminating sugar (I'm already a vegetarian)-and all the health benefits that would surely find me if I did....I wonder if this recipe could be modified to use a natural sugar substitute-like dates? any thoughts? have you tried anything like that?

Helene said...

Slowly but surely getting around the dessert category and I just want to hug you right now for posting those! Every year I make goodie boxes for our friends and family and one new member of the group is vegan and I was getting desperate not being able to find a cookie that would say "happy holidays" and that he'd be able to eat!
Thank you so much!

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} said...

I am drooling! These look amazing. GAH I wish I had time to make them!!

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