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105degrees, L1/W3/D1: cheese-making, CC cookies

November 8, 2010

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m glad you enjoyed seeing some of my weekend eats yesterday. Today turned out to be another Monday of mostly prep work, but we did get to gobble up something I was waiting all weekend for…

First, though: cheese. On Friday, we’d each blended a batch of macadamia nut cheese and one of cashew cheese.

They’d been pressed and draining all weekend, so today, they were ready for flavoring. The macnut cheese, especially, had become remarkably firm.

As a result of that firmness, the macnut cheese was the best candidate for added flair. Russell showed us a couple ideas: goat cheese logs (one rolled on chives, the other in pepper), and bleu cheese made with a spirulina swirl. So inventive!

I kept my cashew cheese plain and pressed it into ring molds, then moved on to flavoring the macnut cheese.

I made one round of cheese with a middle layer of roughly-blended chipotle peppers, plus some crushed red pepper on top. This one went in the dehydrator overnight to create a rind.

I made my other round with a thick layer of chunky kalamata olive tapenade inside, and freshly ground black pepper on top. This one went into the fridge to firm up further overnight.

This afternoon, we put together some nut-free granola.

Now normally, I’m a little suspicious of things without nuts (present company excluded!), but with all the sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, chopped apples, and cinnamon in this one, I’ll think I’ll like it just fine. It’s currently drying overnight as well.

We also learned about growing kefir grains today, and Russell got a big batch of coconut water kefir going for us.

Don’t think I’ve forgotten the best part! I skipped over it earlier to save it for last…
First thing this morning, guess what we pulled out of the dehydrators?

Ohhh, mama. That’s right.

Our nutty, buttery, 100% from-scratch, unbelievable raw chocolate chip cookies from Friday.

Love. At. First. Bite.

With their toothsome edges and moist, tender, chewy centers, these cookies catapulted themselves right into my “top 5 favorite raw sweets of all time” list. I can see myself making many more batches of these before the holiday season is up.

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49 Comments leave one →
  1. Courtney A. permalink
    November 8, 2010 7:04 pm

    Another excellent read! I want to eat those cookies…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 7:47 pm

      Thanks Courtney! I’m trying NOT to eat all these cookies too quickly, hehe.

  2. welcome to our wonderland permalink
    November 8, 2010 7:14 pm

    everything looks amazing! the cheese looks like real cheese!!!! let me know about the granola I love making granola!

    oh how was the burger???

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 7:48 pm

      Thank you! The cheese really does look like real dairy cheese, doesn’t it?

      I will definitely let you know about the granola! As for the portobello burger, it was good – the mushroom was a little thick for my taste (I’m not the biggest mushroom fan), but the bun and the accompaniments were great. Overall, thumbs up. πŸ™‚

  3. Morgan permalink
    November 8, 2010 7:43 pm

    If those cookies taste half as amazing as they look…. Oh man. I thought I struck gold with tasty vegan cookies, but a tasty raw cookie would blow my mind. Almost makes me want to get a dehydrator.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 7:43 pm

      Honestly, the dehydration was just an extra touch. When I make them at home, there’s a good chance I won’t even bother. The dough is so insanely good, you WILL want to eat that sh*t raw. And you should! πŸ˜›

  4. November 8, 2010 7:45 pm

    You are right! Those cookies looks rawsome!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 7:49 pm

      Hehe, rawsome indeed!

  5. November 8, 2010 7:48 pm

    raw. cookies. i’m. drooling.
    those look SO good!! The cheese does, too – looks so much like real cheese. Does it taste particularly nutty or cheesy? And the granola…usually i like nutty things, too , but it definitely sounds like it will still be delicious with all those seeds and fruits.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 7:51 pm

      Oh, these cookies…you have no idea…you have to try them to believe!

      We won’t be tasting the cheese till later this week – today, we just flavored it and set it back aside to keep culturing – but I’ll have a full flavor report in a couple days πŸ˜› Same for the granola!

  6. November 8, 2010 7:50 pm

    Oh, those cookies look so delicious! I want one right now!!

    I actually made a new-to-me raw dessert last night from Matthew’s book, Everyday Raw– it was a lemon cheesecake tart! So good. Thank goodness I only made half the recipe, because it’s almost gone already!!

    Love seeing all your raw food creations! That cheese looks like the real thing!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 7:53 pm

      I haven’t made MK’s lemon cheesecake tart – if you say it’s good, I will have to mark it down to make at a later date! And I’ll make a note to self about doing only a half batch πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for reading and enjoying πŸ˜€ The cheese DOES look uncanny!

  7. Amy B. permalink
    November 8, 2010 8:00 pm

    I am just floored amber! THis is truly awesome what you are doing for yourself! I wish I had the will power, but I like my few junky things and would not be able to get rid of dairy. Keep up the great work and I LOVE the blog πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 8:02 pm

      Aw, thank you Amy! I’m so glad you’re reading and enjoying my blog! A few indulgences now and then aren’t a bad thing πŸ˜‰ and with all the delicious alternatives available today, you’d be surprised how easy it is to do without dairy!

  8. November 8, 2010 8:59 pm

    Now I have to buy a Vitamix so I can make smooth and creamy nut cheeses and kick cow’s milk cheese for good! That’s what this post was about, right? That I absolutely can’t function any longer without a Vitamix and must buy one immediately. I thought so.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 9:12 pm

      That’s precisely what this post was meant to convey. So far, you’re the only person who’s read between the lines – bravo!

      ;P

  9. November 8, 2010 9:53 pm

    Everything looks great as always. I’d love a bite of the granola and a choc chip cookie. I need to get Russell’s cheese book. I’m impressed.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:05 pm

      I’d highly recommend any of Russell’s books. He’s especially knowledgeable about raw cheese-making, more so than anyone else I’ve ever read or talked to.

  10. November 8, 2010 10:31 pm

    I think the only person who could make me consider a life without nuts would be Ellen. (Or, you know, you, but I’m fairly certain you’re dedicated to holding onto the nuts in your life.)

    Blue cheese blue cheese! And tapenade! You’ve also reminded me I need to make another batch of homemade granola. But the cooked (gasp!) kind…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:12 pm

      I could sway you toward a life without nuts?! Little old me? That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me all week! πŸ˜€

      Hehe, baked or raw, granola’s a winner all-around.

  11. November 8, 2010 10:45 pm

    OK….you know how squicked out I am when it comes to nut cheese, right? That said, I am sitting here at work salivating over these creations. I cannot wait to hear how they taste, although I know you aren’t so much of a cheese fiend. I had decided that for my experiment I would just buy some raw dairy cheese (yes, it does exist!)….but then you had to go and make a cheese with olives in it. Way to shake up my belief system, Amber!

    We’re putting the cookies on our mass raw-prep party. I’m making that call right now. πŸ˜€

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:15 pm

      I’m sure you can imagine how squeamish I am about raw dairy (I’m all too aware of its existence), ha. You’re right, I’m biased AGAINST the cheeses, but I think I can still pretty well judge if other people would like them. These are so quick and easy to blend (waiting for them to culture is the only “hard” part) that I highly advise you try them in January πŸ˜‰ Shaking beliefs is a side hobby of mine, haha.

      And as for the cookies, YES. I wouldn’t allow it to be otherwise, so AGREED! πŸ˜€

  12. November 8, 2010 11:45 pm

    Color me green with envy! It looks like you are having so much fun and learning to boot! Not to mention those cookies look delicious!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:15 pm

      Yes, yes, and yes! πŸ™‚ The cookies are fantabulous.

  13. Teresa permalink
    November 9, 2010 6:20 am

    Mmmmm chocolate chip cookies. Raw, cooked, baked, dehydrated…any way sounds good to me. I may have missed this, but are any recipes available, or are those proprietary? I can understand if they are, ’cause all the stuff you’re making at 105Β° looks fantastic.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:21 pm

      Quite right, cookies are cookies no matter how they’re prepared! Unfortunately, I can’t share the recipes we’re making here at 105. But as for these cookies in particular, I did some playing around with the recipe as I was making it, so once I get home, I think I’m going to work out a modification of it, and then post my version!

      • Spumoni permalink
        November 19, 2010 11:29 pm

        Do you know if the recipe for the cookies would be in any of Matthew’s published cookbooks OR Russel’s?
        I am willing to wait for your modification, however if I could see a recipe sooner so I could make them in time for Thanksgiving, I would be so happy!!

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        November 20, 2010 11:26 am

        Actually, yes! Very close versions of these chocolate chips AND the cookies are in Matthew’s book Everyday Raw. If you don’t have access to that book, just let me know, and I can email you the recipes directly. πŸ™‚ These would make a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal!

  14. November 9, 2010 6:24 am

    I’m so fascinated by this process of creating non-dairy “cheese,” with a macadamia nut base! I’ve never even heard of it before seeing it on your blog recently, and I’d love to know what it tastes like πŸ™‚ The photos remind me of deliciously seasoned goat cheese.

    Happy Tuesday πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:22 pm

      I don’t even like cheese, yet I find it pretty fascinating as well. Check out today’s post (it’ll be up shortly) so hear about how it tastes!

  15. November 9, 2010 7:15 am

    i remember the first time i made some almond cheese – that was the day i decided i could go vegan… and did! those cookies looks good, but i’m still drooling over all your ‘cheese’ creations. please hurry back to kansas city so i can meet you and try some of your awesome food!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:23 pm

      How cool that almond cheese “pushed you over the edge”!

      Hehe, I’ll be back in KC after Christmas. A friend and I have been discussing throwing a little party at some point with an all-raw foods buffet – if we do it, you’d be welcome to attend!

  16. November 9, 2010 12:29 pm

    Gah! Those cookies! Lovely little gems… that I’d like to steal! YUM. They look totally baked and delicious. I want to go to 105 degrees! 😦 lol

    Anyway, I’m loving your time there, maybe not quite as much as you are but still.

    Those cheeses are so creative. Seriously, wow. And so firm. I’m totally curious what ingredients you used for those but I know it’s probably hush, hush. πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:24 pm

      Gems, indeed! As for the cheese, yeah, it’s pretty hush-hush, but my instructor Russell James does sell an all-raw-cheese e-book on his site – check it out!

  17. November 9, 2010 1:01 pm

    It all looks stunning! Yes, the chocolate chip cookies are temptatious, even as photos.

    I’m so glad you’re getting to learn about kefir – it is a wonderful friend. And that cheese is visually stunning, even to a person who’s always hated cheese! I’d love to know how to do that and have a go at making some.

    How is your energy holding up with the intensity? I guess you’re being pretty well fueled for it, but that’s a huge stamina-demanding endeavor you find yourself in the midst of.

    love
    Ela

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:27 pm

      I think I’m getting into this raw cheese thing a bit. As long as I keep in mind that I’m eating nuts, not cow pus, then I’ve found myself actually enjoying some of the cheeses. πŸ˜‰

      My energy waxes and wanes, but overall it’s been remarkably high. School, blogging, and my daily afternoon workouts SHOULD be sucking the life out of me, but more often than not, I feel quite well. I wonder if my nearly-all-raw diet is behind it?

  18. November 9, 2010 1:12 pm

    that cheese looks soooo cool! i want to try making some cashew cheese too, i think it would be so cool if it tasted good πŸ˜› & yum @ those cookies!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:28 pm

      It’s so easy! Especially with cashews, since they blend up so nicely πŸ™‚ Give it a try sometime!

  19. November 9, 2010 1:21 pm

    OMG..is about all I can say about those cookes! :o) Those look like they rock! I think I need to come be your assistant for the rest of the time that you are at 105degrees! :o) You are making some amazing looking and sounding foods! I’m jealous…hehehe πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:28 pm

      Ooh! Having an assistant would be AWESOME! You could lick my spatulas and everything πŸ˜› (Wait, why did that come out sounding dirty?)

  20. November 10, 2010 11:28 am

    I can’t believe those cheesy logs! They’re beautiful! And you saved the best for last – cookies!! I love the perfect little chippers!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 10, 2010 1:42 pm

      Thank you and thank you! πŸ˜€

  21. February 27, 2011 8:25 pm

    Wow I really want those cheeses! I need to learn how to make these!

  22. Bev permalink
    December 17, 2011 1:20 pm

    I have been making raw cashew and macadamia nut cheese for a few years and have Russells ebook which is really good to get you started and creating your own versions.
    But I am now trying to find out how to use spirulina in nut cheese, it sounds as though you add it after the pressing and draining, so you then leave it to ferment?
    I have spirulina powder.
    I would really appreciate a few hints and tips to get me on the way.

    • December 17, 2011 5:41 pm

      Hi Bev! I’ve yet to use spirulina in my cheeses, mainly because I’m a little wary of the taste being overwhelming. However, I believe what Russell does is to LIGHTLY mix in the spirulina (so that it makes swirls of blue-green instead of turning the whole cheese blue-green) after the pressing and draining but before fermenting/culturing. Hope that helps; good luck in your cheesy adventures!

  23. Bev permalink
    December 18, 2011 10:51 am

    Thanks Amber, I will let you know how I get on! Fingers crossed it goes well.
    I am also going try adding umeboshi as I have read somewhere else that it makes the “cheese” taste a little like cherve.

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