Okara is the pulp left over from making soymilk. It’s full of fiber, and it makes these delicious, low-fat cookies moist. Vegan and oil-free.
It’s a hard job, but somebody had to do it, and I hope you all appreciate what I went through for you today. I mean, it’s bad enough having to make one batch of cookies, but to make another batch of them the next day? And to have to test these little morsels of coconut goodness by actually eating a few? Torture! But for the readers of this blog, I’m willing to go the extra mile or, in this case, the extra calorie.
It all started about a week ago, when a reader, Melanie, wrote asking why I never make cookies: “My guess is you are not a big fan of cookies….I love cookies and I thought I might send the encouragement over to you to put up some cookie recipes!”
I let Melanie know that I also love cookies–I have a huge sweet tooth and am crazy about most desserts–but the problem with cookies is that they are very hard to make without using oil or margarine; it’s the fat that gives them that crisp cookie texture, so when most people bite into a fat-free cookie, they wind up disappointed. I just hate disappointing people!
If you do a search of this blog you’ll find that I’ve posted only one cookie recipe, and even then I included a full-fat version. But I told Melanie that I’d keep working on my fat-free cookie skills and try to post more cookie recipes.
Then on Monday, something else happened: I received my new filterless soymilk maker in the mail. One of the many advantages of this machine (besides the fact that it’s so easy to clean that I’ll actually use it) is that you can make vanilla soymilk by throwing vanilla beans straight into the machine, to be ground up along with the soybeans. I love the taste of vanilla beans, so I made some fresh vanilla soymilk the very next day, and it was truly the best homemade soymilk I’ve ever had.
But there was a problem: vanilla-flavored okara. Okara (not to be confused with okra) is the pulp that’s left over after you make soymilk, and normally I use it to make things like “crab” cakes and burgers. Vanilla okara just wasn’t going to work for such savory dishes, so I needed to use it in something sweet. I remembered Melanie’s email and got to work coming up with a cookie based on okara.
The results were delicious–“The best cookies you’ve ever made” according to my husband and daughter. Soft and cakelike, they’re not going to fool anyone into thinking they’re a traditional cookie; there’s no crisp cookie crunch, and I can imagine some critics denouncing it as more of a thin scone than a cookie. I think my family just likes soft cookies, and in case there are others of you out there with the same taste, I decided to post the recipe.
Of course, this morning I realized that most people don’t have okara in their fridge, especially vanilla okara. I figured that you could use mashed tofu instead of okara, but I didn’t want to recommend that without trying it myself. So here I am, alone in the house with a rapidly disappearing plate of Tofu Coconut Cookies, which, I’m happy to say, taste as good as the okara version. I can’t wait until E gets home and takes them out of my reach!
Okara (or Tofu) Coconut Cookies
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes packed (about 46g)
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup okara *or 8 ounces firm tofu, blended in a food processor until almost creamy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract optional
- 3-7 tablespoons water I used 3 with okara, 6 with tofu
- 1 tablespoon sugar I used vanilla sugar
- Preheat oven to 375F. Process the coconut in a blender or food processor until it is coarsely ground.
- Mix the coconut, flour, baking soda, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the okara (or drained tofu), vanilla, and coconut extract and begin to stir. Add water by the tablespoon until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and a heavy dough forms. Do not add too much water or over-stir.
- Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop rounded tablespoons of dough at least two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Flatten each cookie slightly with a fork. Bake for 10-16 minutes or until edges are golden and middles seem done. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring each cookie to a wire rack. Sprinkle with sugar and allow to cool completely before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.
If any of you have extra okara to use up, Bryanna Clark Grogan just posted a delicious-looking recipe for Dark, Fudgy Okara Brownies. Go check it out!
Note: As of September 2013, the SoyQuick soymilk maker that I have is no longer being produced. Here is a link to a model that looks very similar to it.
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