My mother is a baker, which is why most of my favourite memories involve food. For example, I remember coming down the stairs for breakfast one morning and I found racks of fresh, golden doughnuts, dripping with honey lining the counter. My mother had been at it since before dawn, and this was breakfast <3. I loved mornings like that when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how special it was, that I had a mom who could do that.
Because of her, my childhood memories are heavily spiked with the smell of fresh bread, and homemade cookies. She made everything from scratch and the sight of a 40lb bag of flour could make all of us super excited. We grew up taking it for granted that the pickles on the table were hers, the jam on our toast was hers, the clothes in our closets were mostly made by her, our hats and mitts were knit by her and even our beloved dolls and stuffys were made by her. I am the offspring of Superwoman.
Which reminds me… Mom, I’m out of pear butter.
A few years ago, my mom took some of our favourite recipes and made books for each of us. The recipes are written down exactly the way she does things; A handful of this, a splash of that, and a whole lot of instinct. She uses the terms “approximately” and “as needed” a lot.
One of my favorite recipes from this book, is also the easiest. It’s a stove top cookie, full of chocolate and easily made to be gluten and dairy free. These no fuss, one pot, treats are especially fun if you have a daughter who loves to use the cookie scoop! They also stack oh-so-pretty in the cookie jar and are small enough, that you can help yourself to “just one”, many times throughout the day without feeling guilty at all ;).
Chocolate Haystacks – The Recipe
- 2 cups white sugar
- 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance, or Becel Vegan (lactose free margarine)
- 1/2 cup Dairy Free milk – coconut, almond or cashew
- Splash of vanilla
- 1.5 cups sweetened coconut
- 3 cups quick cooking oats
In a heavy saucepan on medium heat, combine the first 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil (stirring occasionally) and remove from heat. Stir in the last 3 ingredients.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment, and drop the mixture onto the sheet with a cookie scoop. It may seem wet, but it will hold it’s shape. I like to add a bit of coconut to the tops for a “snow on the mountain” look, but that’s totally up to you!
You’ll find your instinct is to evenly space the cookies. Don’t. They’re cooked, and won’t need to spread, so place them all beside each other and don’t worry about them touching. Place the tray in the fridge for about an hour, until set… and that’s it!