Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Frills Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a habit of overdoing it. Saying yes to too many things. Filling up my calendar until there isn't an empty space on it. Telling two friends I will go to two different things on the same night, at the same time. Leaving cookies in the oven for too long, because they look a little mushy and how much could another two minutes hurt?

It's that last one I want to talk about today. I am always convinced that my cookies need another two minutes, even when the recipe says that they should not, under any circumstances, stay in the oven for more than ten minutes. "Twelve minutes will be perfect," I retort. "You don't understand how my oven works."

You know where this is going. More often than not, I end up with hard, crispy cookies, when what I wanted was a soft cookie, oozing chocolate, lightly browned, a sweet pillow to place between my lips. I know I need to trust the recipe, to pull back, to stop myself from overdoing it. Sometimes I think I will never learn, but once in a while I'm rewarded. 

This weekend was one of those days. A cold front swept in early Friday morning, bringing with it gray skies and high of 74. 74! I met some friends for an eight mile run, read The Savage Detectives for three hours straight and baked these cookies. I decided to trust the recipe and pulled the cookies out of the oven after only ten minutes, then waited for them to cool. And when they cooled, they were perfect - simple and sweet, easy to make and a joy to share. As it turns out, occasionally following the directions pays off.

My baking cabinet is still pretty bare but I had all the ingredients on hand and the directions are straight forward and easy to follow. I changed up a few of the ingredients (white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and half brown sugar, half white instead of all white) but I followed the directions to a T. As should you.

No Frills Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from VegWeb

You will need: 
2 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
a dash of cinnamon
1/2 - 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

1. Set ingredients out so they are at room temperature before you start. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put your cookie sheets in the oven so they are preheated as well.  

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in chocolate chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.

3. In a medium size bowl, add together sugar and oil; mix well. Add the vanilla and then add the water; mix well again.

4. Pour the wet mix into the well in the dry bowl. Stir just until combined.  

5. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and then flatten slightly. Place on warm cookie sheets with space between each ball - the cookies will spread, but not too much. Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets (top to bottom and 180 degree rotation). Bake another 4 minutes and check them. The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be. They will harden up some as they cool.

6. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets. Try your best not to eat all the cookies in one sitting. Good luck!