I’ve had a huge sweet tooth lately. HUGE. Recently I’ve been just going to Pinterest, typing in “Desserts,” and seeing what happens.
Note: I do NOT recommend doing this.
Per usual, my sweet tooth hones in on two things: chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t even care what the context is; if the party includes chocolate and peanut butter, I’m there.
Take these cookies, for instance, which were the result of a few rounds of kitchen experimentation and dumb luck. I’ve been wanting to make vegan cookies for a while, but felt a bit intimidated by the idea, because there are many things to consider. To help you navigate vegan baking, here are the usual non-vegan ingredients, and their vegan solutions.
- Butter: Since butter is a dairy product, it’s clearly not vegan. Vegan cookies require a different source of fat and moisture. Solution: Earth Balance (or other buttery spread) and avocado*.
- Sugar: White sugar is often not vegan-friendly, because many US cane sugar refineries use animal bone char in the manufacturing process. Solution: Sucanat (stands for Sugar Cane Natural) is a great substitute for white sugar. It is a bit sweeter than regular sugar, so in these cookies I added extra salt to balance out the sweetness.
- Eggs: In non-vegan cookies, eggs bind the ingredients, add moisture, and add some leavening. Solution: Flax eggs for moisture and binding, and a touch of baking powder to help the cookies rise.
- Chocolate chips: Most chocolate chips are made with milk or non-vegan sugar. Solution: Buy vegan chocolate chips! Simple.
*After using avocado as a partial butter substitute for cookies last year, I knew it could do the job, but you’re probably looking at me like I’m a crazy person right now, so let’s break it down. Most importantly, these cookies do NOT taste like avocado. The avocado simply takes the place of half the butter/margarine, adds good fats, and fills the cookies with moisture and richness.
Now that we’re done with all the explanations, let’s get to the good stuff; I love a fat cookie, and these fit the bill. They’re super soft, thick, fluffy, cakey, packed with dark chocolate and peanut butter. Prrrrrfection.
I suspect that these cookies can make a believer out of anyone who is wary of vegan baked goods. The Beast, my very non-vegan coworkers, and The Beast’s mom all devoured these cookies, despite their vegan-ness. Whether you are vegan, have a friend who is vegan, or just want a slightly healthier option for your dessert cravings, you must, MUST try these.
- 1 avocado
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) vegan buttery spread (I used Earth Balance)
- ¾ cup Sucanat (sugar cane natural)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 5 tablespoons lukewarm water (2 flax eggs)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or use only all-purpose flour if you wish)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups vegan chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Pulse the avocado in a food processor until smooth. Meanwhile, cream the butter in a large bowl. Add the avocado to the butter, and beat on high for 2-3 minutes. At first it will look lumpy, but eventually it will be whipped and smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, then add the Sucanat, mixing until smooth.
- Pour in the flax eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using a spatula to wipe down the sides frequently. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Use a heaping tablespoon to scoop the batter, then roll into balls and place on a greased/parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press down lightly with your fingers on each cookie, flattening out slightly. Bake for 9 minutes. After removing from the oven, let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
Just look at these. What’s not to love? I’m kind of obsessed. For about 110 calories per cookie, I’d say that’s a smart way to kick those ridiculous dessert cravings.