Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free!)
Last weekend, after a
gluttonous satisfying dinner for two at our local vegan fast-food joint (“carne asada” street tacos were involved), the hubby and I decided we needed to balance it out with a little something sweet. Specifically, chocolate chip cookies. Boy oh boy, I had not had a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie since I became vegan 8 months ago (save for maybe a cheat or two in the first month… oops). Mr. VP was down for helping me bake some up, so I immediately started looking up recipes on my phone while he drove.
We stopped at the store on the way home to pick up some (vegan) chocolate chips.
And, here came the tricky part… scrutinizing list after list of ingredients. That’s one of the inconvenient aspects of going vegan; you can no longer just pick up any package of food and assume it’s “safe” for you to consume (although it’s a good habit to read labels, regardless). Thankfully, Mr. VP is a good sport, and he helped me check all the friendly-looking packages not explicitly labeled “milk chocolate.”
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It went a little something like this…
The first few brands of dark chocolate chips we checked contained milk fat. Then I saw one brand over on the next shelf that had the word “Vegan!” in large green letters all over the package. “Look, babe, this one says ‘Vegan’!” I was so excited, I thought it was too good to be true. I checked the back of the package just in case, and there, in small print below the ingredients, was the notice, “This product may contain traces of milk.” Hmmm…
I was about ready to give in, when I came across an unassuming package of Scharffen Berger semiweet chocolate chunks. No milk ingredients and no “milk trace” or shared equipment disclaimers, which I’m pretty sure they would have to disclose since milk is also an allergen. They also happened to be gluten-free.
We promptly picked up two bags and raced home to make some
damn blessed cookies, already!
I’ve gotta say, the first vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I tried was good, but not quite what I expected. I adapted it from a paleo recipe, which included coconut flour and almond butter. Even with extra baking time, the texture was really crumbly and the almond butter flavor was very pronounced.
A few days later I decided to make cookies again to share with my artist friend, Miguel A. Chavez, when I noticed that my bag of coconut flour had a chocolate chip cookie recipe on the bag. This one did not call for almond butter, and I had all the substitutions to make the recipe fully vegan.
Now these cookies, these to me are exactly how vegan chocolate chip cookies are meant to be.
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and warm, melty chocolate all in the same bite.
(Okay, so mine had chocolate chunks; it all looks the same after it’s baked!) I also used walnuts for half of my batch, which are optional, but they add a nice toasty flavor that complements the chocolate perfectly.
By the way, I also re-tested these using all coconut sugar instead of the coconut sugar/cane sugar mix, but the resulting cookies were darker and had a noticeable coconut taste. The coconut sugar steps in for brown sugar, and the Zulka Morena cane sugar takes the place of refined white sugar. I recently found out that not all sugars are vegan (some brands filter their sugar through “bone char” to achieve the white appearance, eww), but I checked online, and the Zulka brand doesn’t use bone char. Anyways, for these cookies, I found it’s best to use a mix of coconut sugar and cane sugar.
These vegan chocolate chip cookies would be perfect with a tall glass of coconut milk. Oh, la la!
Nutrition information below is without walnuts, per 2 cookie serving: