Today I'm talking about these cookies and running. Those two joyous things don't always go together, but today they do! And if there is a good reason to try pair cookies with running, I'm all about that. Am I right?!
I started my running hobby way back in grad school, when I randomly heard a commercial for a Disney Marathon Weekend and decided...hey that sounds fun. My dearest Abbie was my biggest cheerleader and ran with me 3-4 times a week. We started by walking 1 minute and running 1 minute and upped it each week until I could run for 30 minutes straight. From there, I ran a 5k, 10k, 15k, then my first half marathon (not that Disney one) in Jacksonville, Florida.
Once I finished the half marathon...I kept it going pretty consistently through moving from Florida to Colorado and doing about one big race a year until we moved to California in 2012. When I got to California, before I even started working at my job, I decided I needed to join a running group. I needed to find like minded people around this HUGE Bay Area, make some friends, familiarize myself with my surroundings, and not get fat from being depressed about moving away from my home in Denver. I connected with Team in Training and joined the East Bay Team to train for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco. I attended a Kick Off in San Francisco and met the most amazing people and coaches, Alfonzo Jackson and Mama Lisa Felder. Fast forward to today and I'm proud to say I've done too many half marathons to count, four full marathons, my first sub-2:00 half, and two half-ironmans and I have those specific people to thank for pushing me forward into doing ALL THE DAMN THINGS.
So...where do these cookies fit in? Well two of said coaches from my Team in Training days were inducted in the National Black Runner's Association Hall of Fame in December! Last Sunday, there was a local East Bay celebration in Oakland and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. I was actually asked to make dessert for the spread and came up with these babies to share. These two a,along humans have helped me (and a bazzilion other people) that I was SO happy I was able to contribute.
Coach Al and Mama Lisa taught me so much about health, fitness, and endurance sports. I tried to channel them when baking these! They are still a cookie - so not the healthiest of items, but they have sweet potato all up in there, which I know Coach Al would approve of. I remember Mama Lisa banning gummy bears from our long runs, so I doubt she would give me the stamp of approval, but hey, what can I do.
So I spent my last Saturday morning making 5 dozen of these cookies to honor my favorite coaches. Coffee + cookies = happy weekend for me! I did run a 6 miler later that afternoon...also in their honor.
Vegan Sweet Potato Sugar Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies // Adapted from Minimalist Baker
- 1/2 cup of vegan butter ( such as Earth Balance), softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 sweet potato puree
- 1 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- extra sugar for the top of the cookies
In the bowl of a stand mixer (alternatively you can use a hand mixer), beat on a medium speed until the butter is creamy and smooth. Add sugars and vanilla to combine then add in your *sweet potato. Turn the mixer off and add in all your dry ingredients - flour, corn starch, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Mix around once or twice with a spoon to incorporate so all the flour doesn't go flying around the room, then turn the mixer back on to fully mix everything together. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and pop the dough into the fridge to it firm up, about 20 minutes. Using a tablespoon, measure out the cookies and roll into balls. Dip the balls in a bit of extra sugar and place on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and cool on a rack. These freeze great too...if you need to save some for a rainy day.
*You can use canned sweet potato or even pumpkin or butternut squash as a substitute. If you can't find canned, you can use cooked and mashed sweet potato. Wash and dry 1 medium sweet potato, poke a few holes in the skin with a fork, cook on high in the microwave for 4-5 minutes until tender. Cool and mash it. There you go!