Sunday, September 22, 2013

Favorite Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thanks to Dreena Burton's perfect recipe from one of my first and favorite vegan cookbooks, Vive le Vegan!, I have been enjoying this cookie for years.

Dreena Burton's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

 When I first went vegan I relied on what I called the 'Wholly Vegan Trifecta' for anything I needed to cook/bake. Everything I cook today is based, mostly, on things I learned from these books: Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan!, and Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. You can tell by the condition of each splattered, warped page which recipes and information I have relied on most from each book.  

The beginnings of my vegan journey, Becoming Vegan, VWAV, and VLV!
Since I have a weakness for chocolate chip cookies. I knew when I went vegan I would need a solid recipe. The one in VWAV is certainly solid, and delicious, but the recipe yields a few dozen and did I mention I have a weakness and that it's name is COOKIE?!

Mmmmmmm, cookies. (Extra points if you spot the obligatory cat hair! ;)

Imagine my delight when I discovered Dreena's recipe for Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies that yields only 10-12 cookies per batch without doing any math or thinking. I can pretty much make these cookies blindfolded and with my hands tied behind my back. Impressed? Don't be. It's only because I know the recipe by heart and my daughter is now old enough to follow directions and loves to help in the kitchen. Especially when the result is perfect vegan chocolate chip cookies.  :)

She measures. She jokes. She even does the dishes.

Since she's shared it here, I figure I can post the recipe. The only changes I make are that I use the 1 tsp option of vanilla extract and add a scant 1/2 tsp of almond extract. For me, almond extract is the secret weapon of deliciousness in chocolate chip cookies. It brings out the touch of salt and marries it perfectly to the sweetness.

I also use only a scant 1/4 cup of oil and allow them to chill, covered, in the refrigerator while I clean up. Since I live in Florida, this step helps them from spreading too much, which they will do if you live in a very warm, humid place like I do. 

I love that this recipe also relies on a tiny bit of molasses to add a hint of richness and the sugar (I use Organic Florida Crystals exclusively) is reduced a bit but replaced by some maple syrup. 

We use Ghiardelli semi-sweet chips as they are incidentally dairy-free and often on sale at my local grocer. 

Best part of vegan baking? Lickin' the!
For all the years I have made them, not one time have I taken them out of the oven and thought 'are they really done? They seem too soft'. Seems I've never quite gotten used to the texture of vegan cookies right out of the oven. If they seem too soft, they're not. Baked for 11 minutes and left on the pan for one more full minute and then carefully moved to a cooling rack, you have to let them cool completely. Tempting as biting into a just out of the oven cookie to enjoy it's warm gooeyness may be, it will leave you thinking they need to go back into the oven. They don't. When they are truly cooled to room temperature, they are perfection. Cooked all the way through but not super crunchy, they land on the softer side of cookie, producing a delicate crunch on the outside and an almost chewy, perfectly sweet chocolate chip cookie inside. 

I have doubled and even tripled the recipe for fundraisers and family gatherings and they have always disappeared in record time. Making them together is a special treat for my daughter and I, especially now that I just supervise while she enjoys being a big kid and a capable baker. I'm a proud mama.

Dreena Burton's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 8-12 depending on how big your spoonfuls
Recipe from Vive le Vegan!, p.131

1 c. flour (I use wheat, for GF use spelt but adjust to 1 1/4 c. spelt flour, total)

1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c. unrefined sugar (we like Florida Crystals)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 scant tsp pure almond extract
1/4 scant c. canola oil
1/3 c. non-dairy chocolate chips
1/3 c. nuts, optional (when making for adults, I like to add walnuts)

preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to mix and get rid of lumps (who needs sifting? not me!). In a medium bowl combine sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, almond, and canola oil. Whisk until well blended. Add wet to dry ingredients and gently mix until all flour is absorbed. Gently fold in chocolate chips and optional nuts. (I chill at this point for 10-15 minutes just to ensure the cookies are less likely to spread in my hot, humid kitchen). Spoon batter onto parchment paper or nonstick mat lined baking sheet. I typically get 9 large cookies or 12 small/med ones. You can shape a bit but don't flatten as they do spread some.

My little baker did a great job of spooning a perfect dozen.
Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from oven but allow to cool on baking sheet for another full minute. Any more than that and you risk them being overcooked or drying out.  Carefully (I find a wide spatula and a quick movement to slide under the cookie avoids the super soft cookies at this point from crumpling), move cookies to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Very important so that they can continue to cook and firm up to that perfect moist cookie perfection! Store in air tight container.

Ta Da! Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie deliciousness!
The only bad thing about this recipe is exactly what I like about it. It only yields a dozen at most and they taste perfection. How is that bad? Well, this morning we each wanted one before breakfast and realized our newly baked treat is already dwindling! Good thing we saved two (she hand-selected which) for the Cap'n's homecoming this evening! 

*I have not made these with the GF option that the book notes, but I have made Dreena's amaranth flour chocolate chip cookies from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan and can totally attest to their amazingness so it stands to reason this adjusted recipe is equally wonderful.

Best. Cookiemaker. Ever.


x said...

Yum, choc chippers are the best!

J said...

What a nice little helper you have in the kitchen; that's great that she enjoys being involved! The cookies look great! :)

Unknown said...

Yum! I love the pictures of the little cookie maker! She is too cute!

Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan! said...

thanks, ladies! We love these. T is super eager to help in the kitchen. So sweet. Once I adopted the attitude, 'so what if there's flour in and on everything, we can clean it up!' it became super fun to have her help. :)

Sandra said...

Hello fellow Vegan Mofo'er :-)

Love your cookies and would like to link to your recipe on the Vegan Mofo round up post on my blog this Friday.
Nice to meet you btw.

P.S. Connect with me on Facebook (CandidaDietPlan), @candidadiettips on Twitter and Sandra Boehner on Pinterest so you see when the post goes live ;-)