OUTSIDE THE BOX
Our cookie challenge – friends, flour and much more
This evening, my mates and I are having a guys’ night in again. Things are about to get wild. Inhibitions are going to be cast aside. And it seems like the “ménage à trois” we’ve arranged is going to involve resisting more than one sweet temptation. But before you jump to conclusions – things aren’t as they seem!
Because instead of setting out, as we would have done before, on a testosterone-fueled voyage into the night to satisfy carnal desires (of course, I only mean the steakhouse around the corner), my two best friends and I plan to spend the evening attempting a 100% vegan “cookie challenge”, and prove our masculinity by kneading plenty of sticky dough and dusting icing sugar on yummy baked goods – armed with a phone camera at all times, of course 😉
Spurred on by some really outstanding vegan baking blogs and recipe ideas from Velivery, we start by going shopping at our local dealer of plant-based foods. Once we’ve got through the checkout, we realize – to our joy – that three bottles of vegan wine happen to have somehow made it into our shopping trolley as well. But as the saying goes, “in vino veritas” (wine makes you say the truth), and the truth is that we know about as much about baking as we do about knitting.
Once we’ve unpacked our ingredients, then weighed, mixed, massaged and dusted them, the clinking of our glasses becomes the soundtrack to our high spirits. That said, not everything runs smoothly: one of the doughs doesn’t seem to want to prove (prove what, exactly?), and another seems to want to stick to my fingers more than it does to the wafer bases. And the crumble mix seems to be decorating everything other than the cookies it’s meant to decorate, which are only vaguely reminiscent of the stars they’re supposed to depict…
So, amidst all the chaos – a cloud of flour, candied almonds that are more burnt than candied, meaning our cookies are likely to be smoked as well as baked, all while setting off the smoke alarm – we depart from any appearance of convention: we raise our glasses for the umpteenth time and sing in canon “Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man, let’s get out of here as fast as we can!” Now we really know why we called it a cookie “challenge”.
Once the flour hurricane has subsided after all – on the floor tiles, of course (perfect for “ice skating” in the kitchen) – it’s time for the sweet fruits, chocolatey fillings and almond creations to be brought to (eggless) justice in the oven. After giving plenty of heat, the oven is opened to reveal some decidedly adventurous specimens of vegan baking art which, of course, have to be eternalized on Instagram straight away using the hashtag #3menandabakingtray, going viral among plant-based Instagrammers with its delicious eye candy.
Funnily enough, our guys-only baking night causes an unprecedented deluge of messages from ladies offering (completely selflessly, of course) to lend a helping hand with our next baking battles. So forget Tinder, and get baking! The ladies will be forming an orderly queue in no time! 😉
But I digress – I’m sure you still want to know what became of the cookies? Well, I must admit that they certainly won’t last until Christmas. We managed to wolf down half of them as soon as they were out of the oven. Because – what a surprise (!) – they taste absolutely amazing. Maybe they’d get a few points deducted for what they lack in appearance, but all our friends think they taste wonderful. For me, the two biggest compliments were (in this order): “You three big kids managed to bake those?” and “You’re kidding, there’s no egg or butter in there? So yummy!”
So why not have fun with your very own cookie challenge – with no animal suffering and plenty of enjoyment for all!