Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baking Baking Baking

Today was the memorial service for my grandma. We had a really wonderful and poignant celebration in her honor... complete with all her running trophies, posters with pictures from different activities in her life, a video montage from 1930s - 1970s, a running "slide" show, and so on. It was so neat to reflect on all the amazing activities she was involved with... and what a big difference she was able to make in our community. There were more than 200 people at her service.

Of course, when you have a party, you need food! We tried to think of foods that my grandma loved - and since she was such a committed health food fan, we had loads of hummus, veggie trays, sliced fuyu persimmons, sliced apples, baguettes, vegan sushi, trader joes flatbread crackers... all her favorites (& all vegan!). Of course, she was also a big fan of chocolate, and we truly couldn't have celebrated her without some chocolate chip cookies & brownies. So that was one of my jobs.

I used Dreena's wonderful "Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Vive La Vegan. I love this recipe. I think I made 10 batches... and ended up with about 225 cookies. I was in major circulation with my two little cooling racks.
Here are all my cookie tins, bursting at the seams.
Next, I moved on to the brownies. In truth, I pretty much never make brownies, although I think that's about to change. I looked through lots of different cookbooks for a good looking brownie recipe. I remember everyone talking about Peter Berley's recipe... but it's got a CUP of oil... and when you need to make at least 5 batches, that starts to be pretty unappealing. Then, I saw the recipe in the new book "Vegan Joy of Baking" - and made a sample batch. Wow!! These wonderful brownies use applesauce instead of oil, and are rich, dense, moist, cakey & fudgy all at once, and totally easy. Here you can see how I was having to get creative in my search for more cooling racks. I've staggered two trays on top of a colander!
In the end I made 6 trays of brownies, I cut them up on the small side... and ended up with 160 brownies! In fact, these little babies were so rich and dense that I now have a big blister on my right index finger from cutting up so many brownies! Here's the final product. Of course I had to sample one (or two) to make sure that they were delicious. I really recommend this recipe! I even left one double batch in the oven for 10 minutes too long... and they were no worse for the wear. My kinda recipe!

Overall, it's been a long couple of days, lots of baking and also lots of emotions - reflecting on my wonderful grandma and wishing she could be here forever ... and knowing that it just doesn't work that way. If you're interested, my cousin & her husband made a really great website for my grandma: http://www.patriciasmith.org/

Lots of love to you bloggy friends!

10 comments:

  1. Holy yum! That's a lot of baking! Kept you busy eh?

    I should definitely try out that brownie recipe. One of many from that book that I want to try.

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  2. Wow, not only did you grandma inspire such a great memorial, with so much love and respect from family and community, but she also inspired the best kind of food! Congratulations to you for all that baking- I know the logistics would have caused my brain to melt down, but you are a much better chef!
    I'm glad to hear about this alternative brownie...what turns me off about Berley's recipe is not the cup of oil, but the cup of maple syrup. Gulp! I can't afford to use that much maple syrup!
    I'm glad you had a good experience at the memorial, and that your grandma got such a rocking send-off.
    {hugs}

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  3. what a cool way to honor someone by making such wonderful food.

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  4. Awesome. You're so amazing! Everything sounds great & I'm happy to know the JoVB brownies are good!

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  5. Yum! The cookies and brownies sound so good. I'm lucky enough to have both The Joy of Vegan Baking and Sinfully Vegan (the book which that brownie recipe was inspired by). I've made them before and I agree, they are darn tasty.

    Your grandmother was so lucky to have a family like yours and a grandaughter like you! It's so great that her favourite foods were picked and you worked long and hard to make all the chocolate goodies. I admire you. I could never handle all that baking! Then again, love goes a long way. :)

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  6. What a fitting tribute to your grandma! See is smiling contentedly, without a doubt.

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  7. What a wonderful way to honor your grandmother - sounds like a very heartwarming, bittersweet memorial service.

    I love how you served dishes that your grandmother loved, at the party - the Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies (can't go wrong with a Dreena recipe!) and Joy of Vegan Baking brownies (yay for applesauce instead of oil!) look quite scrumptious!! kudos to you for taking on the daunting task of baking up SOOOO many batches of goodies!! wow!!

    The website dedicated to your grandmother is phenomenal - a perfect way to cherish the memories of her.

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  8. Food is always a part, isn't it? The cookies and brownies look great, though I have to admit that I don't know how you did it - I like to bake but that is a whole lot of baking!

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  9. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope you are well.

    I just wanted to let you know that I read what you had in your little profile blip about Veganism. It kind of renewed my faith in my choice to eat Vegan. Thank you for that.

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  10. Everything looks fantastic. That's a really beautiful way to demonstrate your love for your grandmother.

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Happy VeganMoFo! I love comments, they really make my day!