Today’s visit to The Chicago Diner reminded me of how much I love their bakery. I’ve been slacking on my bakery reviews lately, mostly because I post so many on Yelp but that ends now. There was a time, back when I was vegan, that TCD’s bakery was sub-par. Cakes were iffy- sometimes really delicious, others really dry. I remain terrified of the tofu cheesecake to this day, but I really should give it another shot because their bakery is now in my top 10, and I can eat butter and eggs with the best of them.
Teno and I popped in for lunch and to say hello to Vegan Baking Featherweight Champion, Malissa, who also happens to co-author one of my favorite foodie blogs, Per-Person. I devoured my biscuits and gravy with tempeh potato hash and Teno threw down on the vegan mac and cheese but the best part came in the form of a coconut-custard filled carrot cupcake with coconut “butter”cream. It was so moist and perfectly spicy and creamy that I had to rush home and post about it.
There are a lot of politics involved in vegan bakeries, I’ve found. In Chicago most conventional bakeries are getting hip to the vegan trend in our fat, lazy city and offering a few things here and there. New vegans are usually pretty psyched on the lamest of vegan brownies, but smart vegans investigate the motives behind these offerings. Places like The Bleeding Heart Bakery, for example, have had vegan baked goods all along and they offer a wide variety. The ingredients are organic, sustainable and locally grown and they even donate profits to good causes all over the city. This is the kind of business really dedicated vegans want to throw their money at. I only know two people from The Chicago Diner, and neither has told me anything about the ethics behind the business practices, but the restaurant is going on its 25th year of meat-free menus and they offer everything from Not Dogs for kids to raw chocolate cake for you wacky raw foodists. So I can only assume it’s another business vegans should support because they’re in it for the right reasons.
I vered off topic, sorry. Back to the deliciousness. I love Chicago Diner’s German chocolate cake, coconut bars, vegan scones and now the coconut carrot cupcake. If you’re visiting Chicago put the Diner on your list.
Here is a recipe for vegan choco chip cookies from their official cookbook, which you can buy in the restaurant or online.
Please click the pictures I have posted here to see their owner’s Flickr streams.
For the cookies you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
- 2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup soy or rice milk
- 2 sticks soy or other vegan margerine
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (try Sunspire brand)
Cream margarine, sugar and vanilla together. Gradually add flour, milk substitute and chocolate chips. Mix well. Spoon onto a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees at 8 minutes. Yields 3 dozen cookies.