December 7, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn't love a good chocolate chip cookie?

I tried Sarah's oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe for the first time this fall.  I LOVED THEM.  They are so good and so easy to make (I made them gluten-free twice) that they made me forget about my favorite vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe, a recipe I used to keep our pantry stocked with sweets for six months straight.  So now, in an effort to spread more egg-free, dairy-free C.C.C. love, I'm sharing what I use as my go-to cookie.

I first saw the recipe online and later found out it is from Vive Le Vegan, a cookbook by Dreena Burton.  I like how this recipe uses oil and not margarine or shortening.  It's nice to have a variety of chocolate chip cookies in your back pocket in the event that you don't have the right ingredients, and I often don't have vegan margarine on hand.

The recipe also calls for a mix of raw sugar and maple syrup, which is a slightly different taste than refined sugar.  Be warned that the texture of this oil-based dough is different from cookie dough made with shortening, margarine, or butter.  It's not a creamy or fluffy dough but more wet-looking and gritty (especially if you opt for turbinado sugar).  Farther from regular dough and closer to wet sand.  Therefore you will need to hand-roll each one to ensure that they are packed in enough.

I omit the molasses from the original recipe (simply because I never have this in my pantry) and I add cinnamon, which I love in my chocolate chip cookies.  This soft cookie is more on the delicate side -- especially if made gluten-free -- so I find it necessary to use less chocolate chips than I would normally use in a recipe.  I usually double or triple the recipe because these beauties go fast!

Vegan (and GF) chocolate chip cookie.  How I have missed thee!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 2 dozen two-inch cookies)
Adapted from Dreena Burton's recipe in her cookbook Vive Le Vegan

1 cup white whole wheat flour or 1 cup gluten-free flour blend* plus 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup raw sugar (This recipe works with organic, turbinado "raw", and granulated "white" but stick to organic or turbinado if you want to keep these cookies vegan.)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life chips if you also need these soy-free)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by greasing with oil or lining with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in mixing bowl.
  3. Use a separate bowl or make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Add oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.  Combine these ingredients.
  4. Then mix flour and sugar mixtures together until well combined.  Add in chocolate chips.
  5. Form dough into 1 1/2-inch balls being sure to pack in the dough to retain their shape.  Flatten onto baking sheet spacing the cookies two inches apart.
  6. Bake for about 11 minutes.  Be careful not to overbake!  For some reason these cookies will not get golden brown like your typical chocolate chip cookie and you might not trust that they are fully cooked.  But take it out by 11 minutes and let cool off on the baking sheet for at least a couple of minutes where they will continue to bake a little more.  Then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

I made the cookies gluten-free for a preschool bake sale.  Sadly, I dropped my container of cookies right on a corner during transport and half of my cookies broke.  The next time I make these (which will be soon, heh heh), I'm going to try adding an extra 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum to see if it makes for a stronger cookie.  Okay, and next time, I won't try to juggle as many things in my arms...

*How to make Gluten-free Flour Blend 
3 cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch

  1. Thoroughly mix flour and starches together.   Store in an airtight container.
  2. You may want to double the recipe so that you have a good-sized stash of GF flour blend for your future baking needs.
  3. It is critical to add xanthan gum or guar gum when you use a gluten-free four blend.  Xanthan gum (which contains corn derivatives) and guar gum work as binders for baked goods -- very necessary in the GF baking world as you lose the binding property when you are not using a wheat-based flour.
  Use the following rule of thumb for adding xanthan gum or guar gum:
  • 1 tsp per 1 cup of flour mix = sandwich bread/pizza crust
  • 1/2 tsp per 1 cup of flour mix = cakes/muffins/quick breads
  • 1/4 tsp per 1 cup of flour mix = cookies

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