Well, this is awkward. You know how for the past three years I’ve been all, “OMG I love butter so much it’s my favorite thing in the whole world and I want to marry it and have little butter-human hybrid babies”? Yeah, so, um. I went vegan?
So, let’s get this out of the way because everyone always has questions. I’ll keep it brief because I don’t want to be that vegan. I did it because I became increasingly more uncomfortable with the treatment and killing of animals, the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, and the implications of an omnivorous diet for my health. Yes, I’m getting enough protein and B12. No, I don’t judge other people for not being vegan or vegetarian, although I think it would be really great if, as a society, we turned to a more plant-based diet.
It’s been about a month since we’ve transitioned to a vegan diet. I don’t miss meat (although we passed by a burger joint this weekend and the smell made me weak in the knees), and I haven’t missed cheese yet, either, which shocks me because I was a straight up cheese addict. I miss eggs a little bit, but there are lots of ways to replace them in baking, and I’m having fun experimenting.
Moving forward, I am still going to continue to make kick-ass dessert, baking, and sweet breakfast recipes for you on Sift & Whisk. They’ll just happen to not have dairy or eggs in them. Will they be healthier? Maybe sometimes, but let’s not get crazy. Dessert is still dessert, and I want the vegan versions to be just a decadent as their traditional brethren. So while vegan desserts may not be better for your body and should still be eaten in moderation, they are a better for the planet and for the welfare of animals. And you can eat the raw batter, yo!
Alright, enough of the hippie-dippy stuff. Let’s talk about these motherfuggin cookies. A few weeks ago I saw Ovenly’s “Secretly Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies” on Food52. This was just a few days into my new veganism, so it seemed like a godsend. I whipped the dough up when my niece and nephew were spending the night and baked a few cookies off without resting the dough first, then popped the rest of the dough into the fridge. The cookies made with the rested dough were better, but both were a little ho-hum. I did majorly enjoy the raw cookie dough, which somehow tasted exactly like the frozen cookie dough my mom used to buy from Schwan’s when I was a kid.
The following week, I was sick with the flu (don’t procrastinate getting your vaccinations, kids), and the whole time I was bedridden I kept thinking of ways to improve that cookie recipe. My old favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe used browned butter to give it a nutty flavor, so I started thinking of what ingredients could have a similar effect. I decided on using a blend of two nut oils: macadamia nut oil, which is buttery but expensive, and peanut oil, which is relatively cheap but neutral in flavor. I also replaced a portion of the flour with ground toasted oats to enhance the flavor, and used dark muscovado sugar in place of light brown sugar for more complexity and a deeper color.
I used only 1 cup of chopped chocolate because Phillip always complains that there are “too many chocolate chips” in chocolate chip cookies. By using chopped chocolate, rather than chips, the bits of chocolate dust are distributed throughout the cookie dough, making the chocolate flavor pronounced throughout the cookie, while the larger chunks of chocolate provide the gooey little pockets that you want in a chocolate chip cookie.
The resulting cookies are maybe the only way I will ever eat chocolate chip cookies again. The extra magical thing is that I forgot to cover the container I had them in for three days because I am neglectful. But they never got stale or hard. They were as chewy on the third day of open-air exposure as they were when they had just finished cooling. I am assuming that has something to do with the fact that the fat is liquid at room temperature, so the cookies retained moisture better, but I’m just speculating.
So before you get mad at me for going vegan, make these cookies. And then while you’re eating them and totally not missing eggs or butter, leave me a comment and let me know what dessert recipes you’d love to see veganized.
- ½ cup (50 grams) rolled oats
- 1½ cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (170 grams) roughly chopped vegan chocolate (I use 72% dark)
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 grams) packed dark muscovado (or dark brown sugar)
- 5 tablespoons peanut oil (or other neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola)
- 4 tablespoons macadamia nut oil (or other flavorful nut oil)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- Maldon sea salt, or other flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Spread the oats on a baking sheet and toast in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes, until fragrant. Allow to cool, then grind the oats into a fine powder in a spice grinder or blender.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chopped chocolate to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugars. Break up any lumps in the muscovado (or brown) sugar by running the mixer on low for a few seconds. Use your fingers or spoon to break up any lumps the mixer missed. Add both oils and the water. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fully combined, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the mixer speed to low, add the chocolate & flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and scrape down the bowl just to make sure everything is combined evenly, but don’t overmix the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours (you can keep it refrigerated for up to 10 days). Don't skip the chilling step!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet baking pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a disher to scoop the dough into 2-inch mounds, eight on each baking sheet (stagger the dough mounds so they don't spread into each other). Freeze the cookie dough mounds for 10 minutes. (If your freezer isn't super large, you can put all the dough mounds on one pan, freeze them, and then redistribute the frozen dough mounds between the two baking sheets before baking.)
- Remove the cookie dough from the freezer and sprinkle the tops of the dough with sea salt. Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. The cookies are done when the edges are set and the tops are still a tiny bit shiny. Cool the cookies on the pan for 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies directly to a wire rack to cool completely.