Sayonara! Kinda!

Don’t cry, I’m not leaving! I’m just moving over to posting only on my new page, www.veganizzm.com. I’ll be posting there from this point on. If you’re a fan of the tomfoolery that goes on here, you can follow me there too, duhs! There’s even a neat little bar where you can enter your email and get a hilarious post in your inbox every few days. Okay, hilarious might be overstating it, but there’ll be some raucous material in there for sure.

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My most recent posts are some keepers fo’ sho. Check them out:

Warm Lemony Chickpea Salad with Toasted Cumin CHICKPEZ

Raw Peach Tart with Almond-Lime Mascarpone

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Much love!
Izzy

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Muhammara

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I grew up in Watertown, Massachusetts, one of the oldest towns in the United States and home to Eliza Dushku of “Bring It On” fame, Helen Keller, and the third-largest Armenian population in the United States. A pretty unique combination of people, I know.

When I was younger I took for granted that a dozen corners around town had Armenian markets which offered imported spices, olives, dates, prepared Middle Eastern foods like tabbouleh and hummus, and fresh pita bread everyday. After school I would stop by with my mom and pick up some fresh-made baklava, baba ganoush, or chickpea salad as a pre-dinner snack (and we wonder where my love ofchickpeas comes from). Kids in my elementary school were largely from immigrant families and spoke Armenian together in the hallways.

When I moved to Wisconsin I realized how unique Watertown is. I craved freshly rolled grape leaves and rich, tahini-laden hummus. I felt homesick for the flavors of a place farther than Massachusetts, and I learned how to create them in my kitchen. Here is a recipe for Muhammara (pronounced mu-HUMM-a-ra), a Syrian recipe which found its way into other Middle Eastern cuisines. This brings me back to the good stuff from Arax Market on Mt. Auburn St.

  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses*
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

*Pomegranate molasses is an intense, sweet and necessary addition to this dip. It can be purchased at Middle Eastern markets or online. You can also make it at home, here is Alton Brown’s recipe: LINK

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1.Begin by roasting the red peppers on a stove burner (as pictured) or sliced and laid on a sheet tray in the over for 5-10 minutes at 400º. Once roasted, place the hot peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Remove the pepper and peel the skins (they should slip right off).

2. Combine the peeled peppers and walnuts in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients except the olive oil and pulse until smooth. With the processor running, add the olive oil slowly and blend until the oil is completely incorporated. Serve the dip garnished with additional chopped walnuts, chopped mint leaves, and paprika!

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Shaved Brussels Sprout, Pomegranate and Toasted Hazelnut Salad

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Hey ladies and gents, boys and girls, hos and bros, chicks and dicks:

I have a question for you. How did it get to be the end of 2013 and nobody told me? Like, the last time I checked we were somewhere mid-April slightly post-tax season slightly pre-ice melting (just Wisconsin? OK) and I was just getting ready to downgrade my winter jacket from x-tra heavy-duty to just regular heavy-duty. HOW, GUYS?

I’m not sure I’m ready for 2004 to be 10 years ago. Like, in 2004 I was a wee 7th grade lassie with the braces, lime green capri pants, and the music taste to prove I knew what ~real emotion~ felt like. Okay, fine I still listen to John Mayer and Greenday. Whatever!

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In any case, I don’t feel quite ready for 2013 to be over. This year I:

+ graduated college

+ got a job working for Yelp

+ celebrated one year dating a great guy named Ben

+ finally stopped using Smash Mouth quotations in every day speech

+ went to Iowa, Colorado, and L.A. for the first time

+ listened to this song (seriously. listen.)

+ got my website wicked hella tricked out!

I’m not big on resolutions, but my biggest goal for next year is to take more chances. I’m finding out that as trite as it may sound, big risk = big reward, and I am too young to not go for it. I’ll let you know how it goes in 2014! In the mean time, have a solid new year, everyone.

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 Shaved Brussels Sprout, Pomegranate and Toasted Hazelnut Salad

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 small pomegranate, sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon spicy mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. With a mandolin or a sharp knight, slice the Brussels sprouts very thinly (making sure not to slice your hand!). In a small bowl, combine  the the lemon juice, spicy mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Mix and set aside.

2. Place a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the hazelnuts and spread them to a single layer over the pan. Toast them for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned on the outside and smell nutty. Remove from heat quickly to avoid burning and set them to cool a bit. Rub nuts in a cloth towel to remove  skins and cool completely. Slice the hazelnuts in half.

3. Toss the sliced brussels sprouts with the lemon-maple dressing and mix in the hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste and serve!

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New New New!

Notice anything different around here? Perhaps the baller-ific website that is the NEW veganizzm.com? [If you can't see the changes, click that link!] I can’t even possibly toot my own horn (which I love to do) because everything you see here was  the tremendous work of my friends Pati Mo and Tyler Schappe. Pati is a graphic designer/photographer/calligraphy fiend and Tyler is a web developer/coding mastermind. They just so happen to be dating and make a killer team. Don’t you agree?

This Veganizzm revamping project has been in the works since it was warm out (which, though it feels like absolute AGES in Wisconsin, has been just a few months). Pati goes to grad school in Brazil, so we had lots of “meetings” over Skype, email, and Pinterest. We started it all off with a mood board, which involved a number of illustrations I couldn’t get over and eventually lead to the new look and feel you see here. This is one of them!

DESIGN

Toward the end of the process I would get giddy when I saw an email from Pati. She’d send along images like the one below and I’d plop down in a chair and obsess over calligraphy for an hour before emailing something like, “#7 with a little bit of #6 and some #5 thrown in. Put #4 in there for good measure.”

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You have no idea how exciting it was to finally receive this a few days ago (I peed a little, it’s okay):LOGOFINAL

The final logo design! This signaled the end of Pati’s design work and Tyler’s construction of the site. All they had to do was add the logo and put veganizzm.com as my main domain… I was SO pumped to open the page for the first time and see the illustrations, neatly organized tabs, and huge pictures! Check out the new functionality of the site. I’ll be working out some minor wrinkles for the next several weeks, but in the mean time enjoy and HUGE thanks once again to Pati and Tyler!

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Candied Ginger Ginger Snaps

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There’s nothing quite like when you’re standing on a chair Christmas morning photographing cookies in a sports bra and high-waisted sweatpants from your 6th grade swim team and your dad strolls in.

My Dad is very supportive of my blogging and likes all the cookies he gets when I test out new recipes, but this is undeniably a weird situation to walk in on. He responded by turning on his heel and announcing he was going upstairs to fold socks. Running this blog (as many of you other food bloggers know!) involves loads of behind-the-scenes grocery runs, flour-sifting, pot-cleaning, table-arranging, chair-standing, photo-snapping, picture-editing, and Dad-explaining. And I love every single part of it! 2013 has been a an exciting year, much of which I’ll get to in the next couple posts before the year is over. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: thanks for reading, writing with comments, and generally supporting Veganizzm as it continues to grow. Merry Christmas however you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) this year. Movies and Chinese food are a great way to spend December 25th, too!

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Anyhow, onto the recipe! These ginger snaps are INTENSE in the best way possible. Ginger is an amazing flavor and I decided to go all the way with double gingery goodness and hot diggity dawg it paid off. I may or may not be getting crumbs all over my keyboard as I type this. Make a batch for family, friends, coworkers, or you and your keyboard cat this holiday season!

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Candied Ginger Ginger Snaps

Adapted from Food.com

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Preheat oven to 350º

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, molasses, water, vanilla, and sugar. Mix or whisk to combine.

2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir well to combine and mix in the chopped candied ginger.

3. Form the dough into teaspoon-sized smooth balls. Pressing down with the back of a fork, make a hashtag shape (#yolo). Sprinkle with sugar and pop these puppies in the oven for 10 minutes, or until very lightly golden and firm. Allow to cool and enjoy!

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Butternut Celeriac & Rosemary Soup

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Say it with me: there ain’t no place like home, homeslices!

After some narrowly avoided travel tumultuousness (somehow I snagged the only non-full flight out of Milwaukee before a blizzard hit, unscathed except for some softcore TSA groping), I am back home in Massachusetts in the land of rotaries, packies, and people who think Philadelphia is the midwest. For those of you traveling over the next few days, please do so as safely as possible!

Now that I’m settled back in Boston I can drop that a bunch of supah exciting blog news will be rolling out this week. Numero uno: new camera! This means I’ll be posting recipes galore as I hone some photography skillz. The much bigger and better part of my news will be coming tomorrow or Tuesday!

In the mean time, here’s a great wintery recipe for a soup that’ll warm you inside and out. My amazing momma made it for me and it’s delicious and sneakily healthy. Perfect with  crackers or a  hunk of bread!

Butternut Celeriac & Rosemary soup

Adapted from The Boston Globe

  • 2 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup  full fat coconut milk (optional)

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1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and pour in the olive/coconut oil. Add the onion, salt, and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes (or until soft), stirring constantly. Add the squash, celery root, and chopped rosemary. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

2. Add the vegetable stock and bay leaf and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the veggies are tender.

3. In a blender or with an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth (you may need to do it in batches). Pour the pureed soup back into the large pot and add additional salt or pepper as needed. Pour in the coconut milk if using and stir to incorporate.

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10 Last Minute Food Gifts Under $20

I am skeptical of the term “foodie.”

If you like to cook, you like to cook. If you like to eat, you’re like pretty much every goddamn person in the world. If you like molecular gastronomy and desserts made with helium… you’re a scientist? That said, some of us would rather get a microplane zester or a box of perfectly spicy candied pecans than an iTunes gift card. My family members are figuring this out AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER ABOUT. I am sure as hell going to use that multipurpose spatula-scraper-mixing tool for more badass kitchen debauchery than I’d ever use a Kindle for reading or building fires or whatever.

In the spirit of food lovers, cooking enthusiasts, and “foodies” everywhere, here is a list of 10 last minute food-related gifts that would be perfect as stocking stuffers, white elephant prezzies, or as a treats for yourself because, hey, you’ve just about survived from Black Friday until Christmas. I’ve got everything a food-lover might want from DIY to cheap Amazon finds to the great locally-made goodies, so read on!

1. Jar of high-quality peanut or almond butter

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(Yumbutter)

My favorite locally-made brand is Yumbutter. They make a variety of MMM-inducing nut butters including flavors like Dark Chocolate D’lishe and Cranberry & Coconutty. A jar of tasty peanut or almond butter goes a long way as a tasty but simple gift. Nut butters can also be prepared at home using my recipe here and packaged into a pretty jar!

2. Microplane zester

ZESTER

(Amazon.com)
Like I said, I will always choose the handy-dandy functional kitchen tool over some froofy present that will gather dust on the shelf. This zester (pictured above) is the one I have. Great for the lemon zest in your lemon squares or to the ginger in your stir fry! Necessary for any and all peel enthusiasts.

3. Good sunflower oil

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(Driftless Organics)

Sunflower oil is something I’ve gotten hooked on recently. It’s super flavorful and is high in Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats (84%, approx. 14% higher than olive oil), low in saturated fat, and is a nutritious alternative to other cooking oils. I buy locaDriftless Organics unrefined sunflower oil!
4. Garlic Press 

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(Amazon)

Chopping garlic is a BUMMER. Not only do my fingers end up smelling like I’m trying to ward off vampires for days, but somehow I always manage to get bored partway through cutting and am left with large uneven chunks. That’s what “minced” means, right? Do your friend or family member a favor and buy them a press (I like this OXO SteeL one), they’ll thank you.

5. Apple Butter

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In my book, spicy = nicey. Apple butter is a great way to get rid of a 4 pound bag of apples and an even better way to make toast, oatmeal, or baked good more delicious. Spiced appley goodness is perfect all fall and throughout the holidays (spiked spiced apple cider, need I say more?). It takes only takes a couple hours of stovetop simmerin’ to make a tasty and well thought out gift. Pick up a jar featuring local apples or make your own. Here’s my recipe!

6. Slotted Spatula

SPATULA

(Amazon)
Slotted spatula…what the what? This is not your grandma’s cooking utensil and rightfully so. I use this dynamic spatula for my every flipping, turning, and sautéing need and it’s THE BOMB. It’s flexible and super thin so it slips under pancakes like a breeze. Seriously. Your pancakes won’t ever see it coming. Perfect for the cooking enthusiast in search of a flexible alternative to those rigid, boxy spatulas of yore.
7. Classy preserves

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(Quince & Apple)

Similar to apple butter, preserves are a simple and freakin’ delicious addition to a holiday feast. If cheese (or perhaps nut cheese) floats your boat, pair some fig, orange, or pear preserves with nice crackers and you’ve got an h’ors d’oeuvre any French person would approve of. Local Madison homies Matt and Clare at Quince & Apple are churning out the tastiest preserves I’ve tried east of the Mississippi (or west, for that matter).

8. Mason Jar Mug

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(Amazon)

No list of foodie items would be complete without a mason jar. These guys are an adorably hip (or hiply adorable?) alternative to your average mason jar and are great for sipping beverages hot or cold. If you’re giving these as gifts you can fill them with candy, a homemade cookie mix (just add water!), buttons or some other cute shit like that.

9. High quality vanilla

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(The Vanilla Beanery)

Is COMPLETELY underrated. Anyone who is a self-respecting cook should have some quality vanilla in the kitch. Madison is fortunate to have a totally baller vanilla-maker The Vanilla Beanery, which (fortunately for you!) ships vanilla all over. Giving vanilla as a gift is also super tricky and smart because it encourages that person in your life to make more baked goods and (hopefully) that means more cookies and cakes for YOU.

10. A homemade spiked cider kit

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(Etsy)

Nothing says, “goddamn it’s winter and I kinda like it!” like hot apple cider with bourbon. Put together a cheap but awesome present with a gallon of some nice local cider, a couple nibs of whiskey or bourbon, and a packet of spices. The recipe should be (roughly):

  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 6 ounces hard cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange rind

Buy a cute little sack and fill it with spices. Write out a cute recipe card and attach it to the cider jug. Give it to your favorite booze-lovin’ pal. Get loaded.

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Sweet & Savory Apple/Cranberry/Almond Quinoa Salad

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I made this quinoa salad for a family dinner a few nights ago. The variety of textures make it super tasty and fun to eat. Eating’s supposed to be fun in the mouth, isn’t it? Answer: yes. The sweet and savory thang goin’ on up in here is also real delish. Stock that pantry with some quinoa and have at it, kids! Highly recommended for BBQz.

Adapted from dis recipe.

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 medium apple, diced [the tarter, the better]
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions- cook until fluffy (about 20 mins) and set aside.

2. Sauté the onion, garlic, and carrot in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent and begin to brown.

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3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, sautéed veggies, almonds, chopped apple, and dried cranberries. Mix in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste.   IMG_2309

Serve warm or chilled! Keeps well in the fridge 2-3 days.

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Berry Jam Oat Bars

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There’s no way to describe these oat squares except supreme. I’ve made them a number of times, but the first time was at my friends’ pad called The Rookery in 2011. To imagine The Rookery just think of a tiny, cramped attic apartment which miraculously housed four college seniors and had a cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan and a reclining lazyboy couch. Yes, I said couch.  My recipe here is adapted from Angela’s recipe with a lot of substitutions because those dudes definitely didn’t keep chia seeds or almond milk on hand. (Go figure.) The Rookery has come and gone but this recipe has stuck around. Add ‘em to your weekend brunch, your lunchbox, or serve them up as a healthy dessert. You’ll be glad you did.

  • 1.5 cups oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat or AP flour (sub GF flour if desired!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup jam (I use Madison local The Summer Kitchen jam

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Preheat oven to 350º

1. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup oats, mashed bananas, flour, baking soda, sea salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Mix well until it forms a thick dough.

2. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish (or line with parchment paper). Spread the dough to cover the base of the pan with the back of a spoon or your hands.

3. Pour the jam over the base layer and spread over generously with the back of a spoon.

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4. In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of oats, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Mix well until you have a sweet, oaty mixture [you may add an additional 1/8-1/4 cup brown sugar if you want ‘em really sweet! I did…]. Spread the mixture evenly over the jam layer and pat down with hands.

5. Pop in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350º. Remove and allow to cool 30-45 minutes (it will be difficult to wait, but trust me, it’s worth it!)

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S’more Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hiya! I’m in the process of moving over some older recipes from my original  Veganizzm website, so if you’ve been riding the V-train for a while you might see some oldie-but-goodie recipes. Enjoy! 

COOKIES 1

In my lifetime I have spent many an hour huddled over a campfire, painstakingly rotating a twig bent in despair from the weight of a dense, gooey marshmallow. The noble quest was always to achieve highly esteemed and oh-so-tasty golden brown perfection. Last summer I worked as a camp counselor and was reminded of the cheap thrill s’more-making gives kids (and adults). I thoroughly understand the importance of a good s’more and decided I would do it justice by creating the cadillac of cookies. I adapted and simplified a beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe to what I will shamelessly call dessert perfection.

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  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2 whole wheat + 3/4 AP)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped vegan marshmallows
  • 4 vegan graham crackers, crushed

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1. Preheat oven to 350º. In a small dish, mix together the flax seed and water.

2. In a food processor or large bowl, mix together the flax mixture, margarine, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and crushed graham crackers. Add the margarine mixture and stir until well incorporated.IMG_1422

4. Roll into about 24-26 balls and place on a plate or pan lined with parchment paper.

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5. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, until marshmallow & chocolate are gooey.

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When the cookies are done, allow to stand 10 minutes (if you can wait that long). Perfect with a glass of soy milk!

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