This recipe is both cute AND delicious. It was also the most thoughtful recipe of my 2019 year — not because it is particularly tricky, but because it took me weeks to decide on this exact recipe. I went through several variations of “bats,” all failures, before landing on this simple and effective recipe.
It all started when I was perusing Pinterest, looking for Halloween inspo, and came across this magnificent creation.
I was so impressed by the look of the wings, that I thought I MUST MAKE THESE. Of course, this was not a vegan recipe (it is filled with cream cheese and spaghetti noodles), nor did it seem appealing enough to veganize the original.
The base is dyed-black rice paper, filled, folded, and deep fried. Rice paper got me thinking about spring rolls, and I thought “Oh! I’ll make very thin, shaped spring rolls!”… Nope. That did not work even slightly. I tried to dye the rice paper with activated charcoal to avoid commercial food colouring, usually made with squished bugs, and the colour didn’t take. I also pureed the filling to make it spreadable, but in any amount, it just oozed out of the rice paper. It was a big mess, and I ate that mess and felt helpless.
I thought, “Oh! I’ll make dumplings! The dough will hold better than soggy rice paper!” … Mmm nope. I had in mind that I could create the same bat wing shape by rolling the (blackened) dough flat, cutting into a triangle, and using matchstick carrots for the “bones,” and lightly spreading the same spring roll filling, folding, and TA DA! It was always meant to fail. The dough was too springy and wouldn’t yield to the rigid carrots, determining the shape. I ended up with a black dumpling ball with carrot sticks poking out like keys through a fist. Nice visual, eh? Another fail.
Finally, I gave up on the wing idea and searched for a whole bat shaped cookie cutter. I was going to make little bat dumplings! (Well, the dumpling idea turned to perogies when I considered how beautifully malleable pierogi filling is.) My struggles weren’t over though. Have you any idea how difficult it is to find a bat cookie cutter? Even in halloween season, it was a process. I finally found one in a set at Dollarama. Success!
The ending of the story is happy. After too many trials and error (SO many errors), I created these beautiful Vegan Bat Pierogi (Perogies)!
They were/are still time-consuming, as all perogies/stuffed dumplings, but no more so. These are simply a Halloween-ized version of my pierogi listed here, but with alternative cheese. The filling is made from mashed potatoes (no milk or butter, just seasoned), combined with my vegan ricotta cheese instead of sharp cheddar, and the dough is the same pierogi dough I fell for, with a bit of activated charcoal. Funny enough, you can actually follow the recipe for my Tortellini to get these bat babes (just omit the spinach and rose sauce). For simplification, I will post it all below.
The only extra items you need to make these are a bat-shaped cookie cutter, and some food grade activated charcoal.
A word on ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: Activated charcoal’s primary purpose is as a detoxification medicine. It’s what hospitals use (in large doses) to combat alcohol and other drug overdoses. Because of the charcoal’s extremely porous properties, it binds with toxins in the body to release them. Recreationally, it is used for anything from upset stomach, allergies, detoxification, and food colouring! It is completely safe to ingest in the latter form, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, make sure that you are using food grade charcoal (as it is also used cosmetically). You can get it in capsule or loose powder form. Secondly, make sure it is vegan. Thirdly, don’t eat your charcoal items at the same time as taking medication or vitamins, as they will be rendered ineffective.
Vegan Bat Perogies
Using the cookie cutter I purchased, which was 3 inches long, I was able to make 24 bat perogies. Depending on your cutter size, you will get more or fewer. There will likely be extra “cheese,” but, again, that depends on your own stuffing preferences.
Cook time: 50 minutes
(Ricotta + Potatoes at 30 minutes + Perogies 20 minutes)
Prep time: 1+ hour
(Dough at 5 minutes for mixing, 30 minutes for resting, 30+ minutes for assembling)
- 2 cups of flour (I always use organic, unbleached flour as non-organic wheat products are rife with toxic, carcinogenic pesticides)
- 2 tsp activated charcoal powder (FOOD GRADE, and vegan)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbs of warm water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I’ve used grape seed oil, olive oil, and avocado oil, and any are good)
- 1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl and knead until a smooth, sticky dough has formed. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to elasticize.
Vegan Ricotta Ingredients
- 2 cups peeled, raw/blanched almonds
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbs lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2-4 tbs water, for blending
Vegan Ricotta Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Set peeled (please buy peeled) almonds in boiled water for 10 minutes to soften.
Strain almonds and add with the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until fully processed. You may need to add more water to get everything blended, but try not to add more than you need.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper and spread the mixture out in it. The more surface area, the faster the cheese will dehydrate, so the larger the dish, the better. You don’t need to strain out the water, as it will cook out, and you don’t want it too dry.
Bake for 30 minutes, but rotate the mixture every 10 with a fork. You want the ricotta to have areas of browning and to take on the texture of ricotta (dry, but soft).
Remove to a mixing bowl and let cool.
While ricotta is cooking, bring 3 potatoes to a boil (washed, peeled is optional). Once softened, strain and mash. Season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool.
Mix the ricotta and potato mixture together and season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, to taste.
Assembling is the fussiest part, but worth the effort. Split dough into at least half, or quarters, and roll out your dough on a floured cutting board to a few millimetres’ thickness. Use your cookie cutter to cut out two bat shapes per pierogi.
Next, add filling to the centre and wings of the bat shape, with more in the centre and less to the sides. Be careful not to add too much filling. Then press the second bat shape into the filled one, sealing with pressure along the edges. (If it won’t stick, add a touch of water.)
For an extra touch, pinch bone lines into the dough at the wing.
Assemble finished Bats onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Continue to make bats until dough has run out. Depending on your mold size, you should get around 24 Bat Perogies.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook the perogies on a (or 2) baking sheet(s) for 20 minutes, flipping half-way through. You may also boil, and/or fry them. For boiling, boil until they reach the surface.