Friday, July 11, 2008

Send in the Carnival Clowns!

Like I've posted before, most of my baking ideas come to me when I'm standing in the aisles of one of my two local Bulk Barns, staring at the bins and bins of food. Suddenly a scoop of macadamia nuts transforms into a Christmas cookie, a previously undiscovered flour becomes a friend's birthday cake or a savoury snack, a whole pile of seemingly unrelated odds and ends form nourishing soup mixes, and all the remaining odds and ends are worked into cookies, biscotti and almost infinite varieties of muffins! This week found me in the checkout line clutching three tiny "remnant bags" of goodies - peanut butter chips, toffee crumbles and Andrew's latest discovery - chocolate-coated sunflower seeds! What can I say, the colours dragged me right in and I had to get them!

Of course, I knew it would be cookie time. I adored chocolate chip and Skor bit cookies as a (younger) teen, particularly those that a small shop near my dad's old house sold frozen every summer. They never got a chance to thaw before I got at them - frozen was just too good! The toffee slowly melted into a buttery lava as you slowly chewed on a piece at a time, and it easily took you half an hour to eat one! I can't remember the name of the place now (**UPDATE: it was called Baker Hill & Needful Things, and it's gone :-( ), but these cookies share the same toffee element and remind me of those long ago summers. To me, toffee and peanut butter mean that there has to be an element of chocolate involved too, and the vibrancy of the sunflower seeds indicated that it should be in the form of the cookie dough itself.

Now, to find a recipe! I didn't have any tofu on hand, which nixed my favourite cookie recipe, and I had a striking lack of solid fats in my pantry too - only 1/2 stick of margarine, no butter, and only enough shortening to get me through my most recent bakery orders (they cleaned me out of bananas too :-)... they love their banana bread!). Onto the good old laptop I went, where I found inspiration in a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe from the vegan goddess herself - Dreena Burton. I took the basics of the recipe and (admittedly) bastardized it to suit my own needs. The result was nothing less than spectacular, if I do say so myself! Flat, chewy not crunchy, and tender without falling apart (thank you, toffee bits!), with only 1/4 cup of oil in the batch too! I definitely added more than the suggested amount of "add-ins" though... I may cut back on it next time around, depending on what the guinea... I mean, taste-testers at my mom's work have to say.

My mom did try one out though, just barely cool, and she raved about it's texture and diverse flavours. I think they have enough personality to fit in with Indigo's Wonderland birthday bash that she's having on her blog to celebrate turning 18, too! They aren't anything like a Nightmare Before Christmas cake or a Sweeney Todd meat pie (yes, I'm a Tim Burton nut), but they're special in their own way! Plus, if clowns and bright colours scare you than these are the perfect Halloween cookie! Happy birthday, Indigo, and enjoy your first job hosting a blogging event!

Carnival Cookies
Makes 12
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup Skor toffee pieces
1/4 cup candy - coated sunflower seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a baking hseet with parchment.
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup vanilla and oil until well combined.
  4. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing slightly.
  5. Fold in peanut butter chips, Skor pieces and sunflower seeds until just combined. Do not over - mix.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto prepared sheets.
  7. Bake 9-10 minutes.
  8. Let cool one minute on sheets, then remove to wire rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 172.4
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.8 mg
Sodium: 36.5 mg
Total Carbs: 23.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 2.6 g


  1. Oh. My. Goodness. Those sound absolutely spectacular! LOVE the combination of flavors and colors. And chocolate covered sunflower seeds? Must get to Bulk Barn asap!!!

  2. Thanks for coming by my blog! These look so yummy - will try them sometime!

  3. my daughter would love these. They look like they have bits of buried treasure

  4. The chocolate covered sunflower seeds must be a great addition to the cookies. They look great!


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