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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's agreed to answer any questions you might ask about vegetarian food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie, click on Aunt Nettie below:

Aunt Nettie

Dear Aunt Nettie,

Do you happen to have a really moist spiced pumpkin cookie that actually tastes like it belongs to this season?

Your friend,


Howdy there Suzanne,

'Course I do, darlin! I been rustlin' up vittles fer a mighty long time an' baked up plenty o' pumpkin fixin's. But this year, I done come up with the best one yet. One bite o' these Spicy Pumpkin Cookies an' you'll jes have to put some glue on the bottom o' yer shoes to keep ya from dancin' all over 'tarnation.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

The great pumpkin season has arrived in all its bright orange glory, and what better way to celebrate the harvest than to enjoy it baked into a cookie that delivers a flavor surprise--a subtle burst of heat from two ingredients seldom found in a cookie recipe. You won't find these treats dry or crumbly. They stay soft and moist from the start. Store them at room temperature wrapped in plastic for a day or two or tuck them into the fridge for up to a week. If you're a long-range planner, you can make the cookies ahead, spread them out on a parchment paper-lined metal tray with parchment paper between the layers, wrap them well with plastic, and freeze them for up to two months.


Pumpkin Yield: 12 giant cookies or 24 two-inches in diameter.

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, crushed in mortar and pestle
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Pinch salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) pine nuts

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer powder, or egg replacer for 2 eggs 1/4 cup (60 ml) water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and line two jellyroll pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the pastry flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, baking powder, coriander, baking soda, pepper, cayenne, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Be sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar so cookies will bake properly. Stir in the pine nuts.
  3. Mix together the cooked pumpkin, canola oil, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl, stirring vigorously to incorporate the canola oil.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir well to form a thick batter.
  5. Combine the egg replacer powder and water in a small bowl, beat with a fork until foamy, and stir into the batter, mixing well.
  6. To make giant cookies, drop 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each cookie onto the prepared jellyroll pans, spreading the mixture to form 3-inch (7.5 cm) diameter cookies. Place 6 cookies on each pan. Drop 1 heaping tablespoon of batter for the smaller cookies. Both sizes bake the same length of time.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes. Open the oven briefly to trade the positions of the jellyroll pans and bake 8 to 9 minutes longer. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the cookies to cool 5 minutes before serving.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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