My mother hated cats. When she would find a cat near our house, she would jump up and scare it away, hissing like a boiling kettle. I would ask her why she hated cats so much, and she would always reply, “Cats have kittens, they pee, and it stinks.” So my sister Takako and I never had much contact with cats as we grew up. We had a dog, a rabbit, hamsters, squarrels, parakeets, turtles, and gold fish. But never a cat.
Now I live with three cats, adopted from our former neighbor. They are my first cats, and they converted my former self as a dog person into a cat person right away. When Takako visited me here, her first night in the old, squeaky couch bed, one of the cats slept beside her, and the next morning, the first thing she said, beaming with utter joy, was: ”I slept with a cat beside me! A dream come true!” We both can clearly see our future as crazy cat ladies.
Last December, I received a small package from Takako, who is a vegan chef in Tokyo. It was a Christmas present: a set of cat-shaped cookie cutters.
With the cookie cutters, I made cat cookies, adopting Takako’s vegan cookie recipe. Her original recipe uses maple syrup and canola oil, but I used brown cane sugar, soy milk and olive oil, and added some sesame seeds.
The taste and crunchiness remind me of Japanese “Asparagus Biscuit,” stick-shaped sesame-flavored cookies that I loved as a cat-less child back in Japan.
I used cat cookie cutters, but any cookie cutters work, of course. You can also make small balls and flatten them with a hand. The recipe makes 25 pieces of 5cm cookies.
If you have maple syrup, use 50 g of it, instead of brown sugar and soy milk. —Kyoko Ide
Pre-heat the oven to 340 F (170 °C). Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well with an egg beater. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients first with a silicone spatula then with a hand. Don’t mix them too much as this will create too much glutine. When it’s mixed into a dough, flatten it with a rolling pin. With cookie cutters, cut the dough. Line them on a cooking sheet.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Cool them on a cooling rack.