This photo shoot did not go well-not on the first day or the second. And when photo shoots don't go well the d-man has a meltdown. You know, the "I don't need this shit!" kind of meltdown. It's not fun to be around, but I stick it out. Why, do you ask? Three words...Post. Meltdown. Magic. Let me explain. When something goes wrong the d-man gets mad-angry, temporarily succumbs to defeat and you think he's given up. But if you give him a minute, he refocuses, kicks it into high gear and puts-it-on-ya...photography-style. See Exhibit A below. ...but enough about the d-man's temperament. Let's talk cookies. Vegan. Quick. Yummy. These bad boys are crazy-easy and you'll be finished inside of thirty minutes. What? You read me. The main flavor of this cookie is espresso combined with a dash of vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. What's surprising is not one flavor dominates. I loved this cookie with its crunchy edge, non-dairy buttery-ness and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Fresh, out of the oven these cookies were amazing. With its espresso base the cookie is perfect for dunking in hot black coffee. Guess what Dave did the next morning? Easy Vegan Cookies? Meet my Go-To List.
Easy Vegan Cookies Photo Notesby David Game Plan This was going to be easy. I've shot a million cookies so I had this shoot in the bag. Since I went high key on the white acrylic for the Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, I would go low key and moody for the Easy Vegan Cookies. Simple. The Reality I've never seen moody cookies and now I know why. Cookies are happy and fun and going dark defeats the inherent nature of the subject. I put the cookies on gray slate with a dark background and started shooting. From a technical standpoint, I had my lighting mojo going but brown cookies against a gray surface is like wearing brown shoes with a black suit. It just doesn't work. Here's the shot: Since the shot wasn't working, Mondo and I called it a day and went to the opening of an art show. Considering I was shooting the same thing the next day, I left everything setup in the studio. I never do this and always break everything down, but what could go wrong? The Next Day On the way down to the studio, I started thinking about Victor Schrager and the Martha Stewart Cookie book. I loved this book and always wanted to shoot a job like this. I had my inspiration. I reset the studio, metered the lights down to perfection and was ready to rock. One problem: ------>I forgot to turn off my camera the night before and the battery was dead! I didn't have a backup and I didn't have the charger with me. Damn! Mondo says I had a meltdown, but I was just a guy working through some things. I got in my car, drove through 45 minutes of LA traffic, recharged the battery for a couple of hours and drove back to the studio. The New Setup This was going to be super clean and super Martha Stewart. Mondo did her styling magic and staged the cookies. Here is the lighting setup: This lighting setup is so simple, it's stupid. The main light is a V-Flat (two 5x8 foamcore panels taped together) closed to a narrow strip with some bounce light going into it. The white background is just a light bounced into the back of the studio and the fill light is from a piece of white cardboard. For the stack shot, I used a piece of silver foil instead of the white board so I would have more texture and specularity on the side cookie. The Takeaway When things go wrong, I should chill because most of time everything works out. After all, life's pretty good when you get to eat a big plate of cookies at the end of the day.
Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies RecipeRecipe slightly adapted from TLC
- 2 cups unbleached flour, 240g
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- ½ cup vegan chocolate chips(I used Guittard Semisweet)
- 1 cup raw sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- ¼ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground coffee. Reserve a teaspoon of the dry ingredients and set aside. Coat the chips with the teaspoon of the dry ingredients.
- In a mixer add sugar and oil and mix for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and then add the water. Again, mix well. Add the dry ingredients. Fully combine but don't overwork the dough.
- Stir the chocolate chips into the dough.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets (I used a size 40 scoop). Put them in the oven. Bake for 6 minutes and then rotate the sheet 180 degrees. Bake another 4 minutes. Remove from the oven. They will continue to cook a bit after being removed so they won't appear fully cooked yet.