I saw a documentary recently highlighting the devastating effects of the ever increasing demand for Palm Oil. Thousands of hectares of forests are converted into palm oil plantations to satiate the demand for this cheap oil which has now made its way into all forms of snack foods like cookies, biscuits, peanut butter, potato chips et al. This oil is everywhere! Are you aware that the forests which are cut down were home to beautiful Orangutan families who are literally made homeless overnight as their homes are cut down and the land burnt to make way for these plantations. These beautiful animals will eventually die from loss of habitat if we as consumers don’t refuse to purchase products containing palm oil.

Baking (and cooking) yourself means that you know exactly what goes into your foods.You can use the highest quality products, you save the environment by not adding to the tons of plastic used to package products, you eat fresh and healthy and most importantly your individual impact on the environment reduces. And if more and more of us join this way of living we may actually live in a much happier and healthier ecologically balanced world.

With this thought I made my first ever homemade cookiesand they were just wonderful! They were crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, with sugar adjusted to my taste and the fresh aroma of baking to beat any processed biscuit or cookies you have ever eaten. Here is the recipe for my No Palm Oil, artificial flavours and colours free, preservatives free, Vegan cookies.

• Plain Flour 1 1/2 cups
• Baking Soda 1/2 tea sooon
• Salt – a pinch
• Vegan Chocolate chips – 1/2 cup
• Blueberries – 1/2 cup
• Organic sugar – 3/4 cup
• Organic coconut oil – 1/2 cup
• Vegan milk (I used almond milk) – 1/2 cup

Take a large bowl and add the sugar, salt, organic coconut oil, vegan milk and whisk together. This will turn into a slightly runny liquid. Whisk the flour and baking soda into this and mix. This will form a slightly thick mixture. Mix well using a spatula and ensure that all of the dry ingredients are completely mixed. Then divide this mixture into half and add chocolate chips into one and mix and add blueberry into the other and mix. As this base is not very runny I used my hands to slowly mix the blueberries into the mixture. Now cover both these batters and place in the fridge for about half an hour.

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees. To bake your cookies place a baking paper on the tray. Scoop out some of the mixture onto a karchi and level the mixture. Then scoop out the mound of batter into the baking tray. No need to shape. Place into the hot oven for about 15 minutes. The coconut oil will begin to melt slowly as it heats and the round mount of the batter that you placed into the baking tray will slowly spread out perfectly into a cookie shape and have the right thickness too. Do not overcook this. Once your cookie batter is spread out and the top has a nice even brown coating then your cookie is ready. Enjoy your cookies warm and fresh or have it later once cooled — either way you are going to love this.

Ms Aditi Pathak Is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.

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