Best (Vegan) Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

{ Thursday, September 11, 2008 }
I may be one of the last people to have read the New York Times article on chocolate chip cookies. (On a recent visit to Whole Foods, I found the recipe displayed alongside the recommended chocolate disks, just in case I hadn't already seen it all over the blogosphere.) Well, I already have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love (even though its not vegan) and I didn't have much interest in switching, but I did want to try my hand at some of the recommendations in the article.

First, I veganized the recipe I already had. I love this recipe, because it calls for oatmeal to be ground to a fine powder--upping the nutritional content without sacrificing texture. I subbed out earth balance margarine for butter and egg replacer for the eggs, which got me close, but the recipe required a bit more tweaking to get the moisture content right.

Next up, there's this whole idea of resting the batter in the fridge for 36 hours before baking. This whole cookie experiment took place over two weekends and four batches of cookies. (I take this stuff seriously, people!) The first couple batches were baked at 0, 24, and 48 hours after mixing. 36 hours may be optimal for the cookies, but its darn inconvenient for me. If I mix up a batch of cookies in the evening, I sure don't want to be baking them for breakfast two days later! As the article suggests (and other foodbloggers have confirmed) the cookies definitely taste better after resting. 24 hours is better than 0, but 48 hours was even better. The cookies had a better flavor and took on a richer color after baking. Even the raw batter was better after resting!

Left to right: 0, 24, and 48 hours after mixing

I was also intrigued by the addition of sea salt in the NYT recipe. I'd already discovered the amazing combination of sea salt with caramel, but it wouldn't have occured to me to add extra salt to cookies. I mean, there's already salt in the batter, right? The second weekend (and next two batches) were dedicated to exploring the addition of salt, as well as continuing to work out the moisture issue with the batter. I can't tell you whether just upping the salt content of the recipe would work the same way, but there is something added with the extra sea salt on top of the cookie. I didn't measure the amount, but a more generous sprinkling did produce a better tasting cookie. I started out with a light dusting and ended up upping the amount a couple times.
In the end, the boy and I couldn't stop eating these things. They were really that. good. Go make them, but don't say I didn't warn you!

Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal, then blend in a food processor to a fine powder)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 ounces chocolate chips
4 ounces dark chocolate, grated (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Blend the oatmeal and combine with flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the earth balance and both sugars until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add egg replacer, vanilla, and milk and mix until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and grated chocolate, if using. Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheets (I use a #20 scoop and divide each scoop into two balls). Flatten each ball slightly and liberally sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating sheets midway through cooking.

Even though the oatmeal makes me feel slightly less guilty indulging in these, they are still pretty outrageously high in fat and sugar. My next cookie experiment will involve lightening these up a bit, but I'm in too much of a sugar coma to think about that right now.

1 comment:

Jess said...

The ones we had at the beach that day were delicious. Not sure if those were from this recipe or not but yum!

Sea salt on cookies.. interesting indeed!