Vegan GLUTEN-FREE Chocolate Cookies
with White Chocolate Chips

Yield: 1 dozen cookies (recipe easily multiplies)

I am not sensitive to gluten–at least not in any noticeable way–so I created these cookies for two reasons: 1) for folks who are, and 2) because I have a summer crush that is quickly turning into a long-term affair with brown rice flour.  It lends to these cookies and, presumably, other baked goods, an ever-so-slight “sandy” texture that reminds me of the commercial Pecan Sandy cookies of my childhood.

To create this recipe, I started with my late mother, Sallie Gough’s, recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  I adored both my mother and her cookies.  The recipe scribed in her distinctive hand-writing on a badly stained file card is a testament to the central role Chocolate Crinkles played in my young culinary life.  When my cousin, Dan, would make his annual summer visit from Texas to our home in Mississippi, baking these cookies–dark, almost black, balls rolled in powdered sugar that baked up into flat-ish white cookies with dark rivulets through them–was always on the itinerary along with box sliding on Sewer Hill and epic neighborhood games of Kick the Can.

Note that, since I am not gluten-sensitive, the “trace” of gluten that “may” have been present in my vegan white chocolate chips did not pose a problem for me.  If you are baking for gluten-free cookie lovers, make sure a possible trace is not an issue or look for a brand “without a trace.”

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup apple sauce (this flavor is not detectable)

1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola or sunflower is fine)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free white chocolate chips (may subsitute vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips)

12 pecan halves.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients except white chocolate chips and pecan halves.  Make a well in the center and pour in applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla.  Whisk together wet and dry ingredients until completely combined and the consistency of any other cookie dough.  Stir in chips.  With a small scoop or tablespoon, scoop up rounded tablespoons of dough and place about 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Top each with a pecan half, pressing down gently to ever-so-slightly flatten the cookie.  Bake 12 minutes or until completely set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cookie sheet placed on wire rack. Store in airtight container.

 

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Vegan (Practically) Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Gluten-Free)

Yield: 6 cookies

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut flour
12 juicy dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips (chips are not not raw)
1/4 cup broken pecans

In a food processor, process the cashews until a flour-like texture.  Add remaining ingredients except cocoa nibs or chocolate chips and pecans. Process until the texture of a nice dough, but not a nut butter.   Transfer the dough to a medium-size bowl and fold in the cocoa nibs or chocolate chips and pecans.

Shape the cookies by flattening six scoops of dough onto a foil-, wax paper-, or parchment paper- lined cookie sheet.  Freeze for 20 minutes and keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

Note: though these cookies are packed with wholesome ingredients, they are also packed with about 330 calories each. Make them half this size for a dozen cookies with a calorie count that may be easier to swallow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate-Chocolate Chip,
White Chocolate Chip, & Dried Cranberry Cookies

gluten-free-chocolate-chocolate-chip-white-chocolate-chip-and-dried-cranberry-cookiesYield: approximately 2 dozen cookies

Just in time for the holidays are these handsome and festive cookies appropriate for even the most gluten intolerant on your guest list.

I am not a gluten-free baker but, occasionally, I make treats for my high school art students.  And, in my large Advanced and AP Studio class of 31 students, I learned that I have one girl with a gluten sensitivity.  So, feeling badly about her not being able to indulge in the treats I shared with them, I decided to experiment.

A few years back, I created a recipe for gluten-free cookies made with white bean puree and chickpea flour. They were delicious, but not as handy to make as if they didn’t call for the white beans.  And, I recently learned that my small neighborhood Kroger no longer carries chickpea flour, though they seem to stock every other kind of flour imaginable.  So, I chose one that was less expensive than most and that I thought might have a similar texture to the chickpea flour, namely brown rice flour.  Good decision.

Whie some gluten-free baked goods call for special flour blends, xantham gum, egg substitutes, and the like, I wanted mine to be straightforward and absent of ingredients that most bakers wouldn’t have on hand.  As a result, these absolutely delicious and beautifully-textured cookies were born.

I had found, through previous experiments with gluten-free cookies, that adding almond extract, in addition to vanilla extract, helps mellow any “off” taste that results from using flours that are stronger tasting than all purpose white or white whole wheat.  But, it occurred to me that a teaspoon of espresso powder might further counteract those sharper flavors of some of the alternative flours without lending a pronounced coffee flavor.  And I was right.

As for texture, these are a little crispy and ever-so-slightly sandy–like the commercial “Pecan Sandies” of my youth–which everyone who has tasted has found very appealing.  And I hope you do.

I served these with Prosecco to guests who stopped by after a concert.  It was a lovely pairing and a special way to end the evening.

 

1/4 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup demerera sugar (or 1/2 cup granulated and 1/2 cup brown sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon espresso powder (or coffee/instant coffee ground to a powder in a spice grinder)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown rice flour (I use white whole wheat when not baking gluten-free)

1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (or up to 4)

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips (I ordered these online) + 1/4 cup additional (optional)

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (I found a bag of pre-chopped ones) + 2 tablespoons additional (optional)

Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper; set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and shortening until fluffy.  Beat in sugar and continue beating until well creamed.  Add extracts, espresso pwder, salt, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda, and mix on medium-low speed just until well-combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Mix in the non-dairy milk, adding an additional tablespoon or two if necessary, as the brown rice flour is very absorbant.  On lowest speed, mix in both typs of chips and dried cranberries.  Using a tablespoon or small scoop, arrange mounds of dough about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten with your middle three fingers to about 1/2-inch thick.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.  Remove baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before removing to a serving platter.  If desired, drizzle with 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted; I use a pastry bag for this task.  If more color is desired, press a couple of tablespoons of dried cranberries into drizzled white chocolate, distributing among cookies.

 

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Vegan Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies (coconut oil is the secret to THE BEST chocolate chip cookies ever!)

Toasted Coconut-Chocolate Chunk CookiesYield: approximately 3 dozen cookies

In my go to chocolate chip cookies, I like a blend of vegan butter and vegetable shortening for the best of both worlds.  Craving cookies, but with no shortening, I decided to substitute coconut oil (solid at room temperature) and oh, boy, those of us who haven’t been baking cookies with coconut oil have been missing out!  The resulting cookie has the most delectable crispy-crumbly-tender texture imaginable, but they don’t fall apart, no sirree!  They are perfection in every way.

The coconut oil imparts to the cookies a very subtle hint of coconut flavor, that will make coconut lovers swoon; but not so much that the coconut averse would object.  However, we love coconut in this house, so I decided to add some toasted coconut instead of nuts and the result was addicting and just as comforting as old-style chocolate chip cookies.  However, feel free to load them up with the chips, nuts, and dried fruit of your choice.

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cups demerara sugar (or lightly packed light brown sugar)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspooons baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

10 ounces vegan dark chocolate chunks or chips (most organic brands are vegan; check the label)

1 1/2 cups lightly toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.  With an electric mixer, beat together butter and coconut oil until creamy.  Add sugar and continue beating until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  (Note: if using dmerara sugar, because of the larger crystals, they will not dissolve completely.)  Add baking powder, soda, sea salt and one-third of flour, mixing on low speed just until combined.  Add remaining flour in two parts, continuing to mix on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Add chocolate chunks and coconut and mix just until combined.  Drop by generous rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets, using dampened fingers to gently flatten the tops of the cookies.  Bake 9 to 11 minutes, rotating pans after 5.  Cool pans on wire racks.

 

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Vegan Plum Delicious Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

A small number of almost over-ripe plums gave rise to this unusual and unusually good cookie.  The plums provide mostly moisture in addition to subtle flavor and color, not to mention added nutrition–as do the walnuts– to an otherwise decadent treat.

To create this recipe, I started with my go-to brownie batter, omitting the water/coffee and adding plum puree plus a tiny bit of baking soda.  The results are plum delicious!    Note:  I only had a few plums, so I made one-fourth of this recipe.  It quarters or halves very nicely.

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or unbleached white flour)

2 cups natural sugar

1 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 cups canola oil (this sounds like a lot, but you’ll need it)

2 cups very ripe pitted plums, pureed in food processor until fairly smooth

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I like Trader Joe’s–what  a great value!)

2 cups chopped walnuts plus 36 extra halves or  large pieces for garnish, one per cookie, if desired

Preheat oven to 35o degrees.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and set aside.  (Line two if you have them, or bake the cookies in two batches.)  In a large mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients, except chocolate chips and nuts just until well combined.  The dough should be just slightly stiffer than brownie batter.  Stir in chips and nuts.  Spoon tablespoon-size mounds of dough onto prepared sheet, about 2 inches apart.  (I use a very traditionally-shaped shallow tablespoon measure, as I like the ration of height to width.)  Bake 12 minutes.  Check after 8 and after 10.  They should be set, but shiny in some spots, as they will continue to cook after they are removed from the oven.  Allow the cookies to cool slightly until they are easy to handle and then use a metal spatula to remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

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Vegan Spiced Double Chocolate-Lime Cookies

“Boss’s Week” came and went last week, but other priorities prevented me from acknowledging it in any way, except to have one of my talented students create a “Happy Boss’s Week” poster, by special request, featuring caricatures of each one of our administrators.  It was adorable and well-received, but I wanted to give our incredibly supportive principal and assistant principals something homemade.

I decided that a favorite chewy chocolate cookie would be perfect.  But I had just come home from the Asian market, so I decided to spice them up with a little lime zest.  (I remember, when I was a child, someone in our family was under the weather and a neighbor brought us a delectable chocolate-lime pie, a flavor combination I’ve rarely had since.)  When I tasted the dough, though–one of the beauties of eggless cooking!–it cried out for cinnamon and, especially, ginger to complement the sweet-tart lime and the pleasantly, but strongly flavored molasses and cane syrup (I used a combination).  Voila!  Vegan Spiced Double Chocolate-Lime Cookies were born.  Then, my husband suggested I attach the recipe plus three more, one for each season, from my brand new cookbook.  What a bloomin’ inspired idea!

Enjoy at your Memorial Day BBQ or any time…perhaps with  little lime sorbet?

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

1 cup vegan butter, room temperature (I like Earth Balance)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cups natural sugar plus 1 cup for coating
1 cup light-flavored molasses, pure cane syrup or, if you dare, dark corn syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or to taste)
Zest of 1 fresh lime
8-9 ounces vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line two cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment paper and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place butter, oil, and 1 1/3 cup natural sugar.  Reserve remaining 1 cup sugar. At medium to medium-high speed, cream mixture until well-combined and fluffy. Add cane syrup and vanilla and beat just a few more seconds to combine, scraping bowl, as needed. Mixture may look slightly curdled, but don’t worry. Add remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips, and beat on low speed, scraping bowl as needed, just until combined. Taste and add more cinnamon and ginger, if desired.  Add chips and beat on low just a few seconds to distribute.

Cover dough well and chill for half an hour, but no longer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a small scoop with a release lever, scoop out balls of dough about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Roll in reserved 1 cup of sugar and place a generous 2” apart on baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 4 minutes, open oven door and, using a spatula, quickly flatten each cookie slightly to 1/2-inch thick. Close the oven door and continue baking for 6 more minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cookies should be ever-so-slightly cracked, look a little moist and soft in the center, and be more set around the edges. Leave cookies on baking sheet and set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then, using a spatula, transfer cookies to the racks and cool to room temperature. Repeat with remaining baking sheet.  Store in an airtight container.

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Vegan Oatmeal, Apple-Nut, Chocolate Chip Spice Cookies

Yield: 24 “normal” cookies or 12 “behemoths

(If pressed for time, I make the big boys. But these are equally good large or small.)

Today, I had an appointment with a periodontist and scheduled gum-grafting surgery for September 3. It seems that for years I’ve done a little too good of a job of brushing my teeth and have some gum recession to tend to before getting the aforementioned Invisiline braces. I now know, first-hand, from whence the phrase “long in the tooth” comes.

What does that have to do with these cookies? It is the only reason I can think of for why I had an especially irrepressible craving for something sweet and tender, chock full of crunchy and chewy morsels like nuts and dried apples, foods I won’t be able to eat post surgery. I was told that I would need to eat a soft diet for two weeks. Hmm…that sounds like soy lattes, wine, soups and vegan ice cream to me. So, in the meantime, I think I should hoard the forbidden foods in my jaws like a squirrel.

Once again, my favorite dough (but with half whole wheat flour and a little oatmeal) plays a supporting role in these cookies that star dark chocolate chips, walnut pieces, dried apples and a warm and toasty blend of spices which is especially tasty. Be sure to use all four spices because they are more than the sum of their parts.

½ cup vegan butter, room temperature (I like Earth Balance)
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk, preferably at room temperature (plain or vanilla soy milk works too)
1 generous teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch nutmeg
scant 1/2 cup oatmeal
scant 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
scant 1/2 cup walnut pieces (or almonds, hazelnuts, pecans)
scant 1/2 cup diced dried apples (a 1/4-inch dice seems just right)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Slowly blend in the soy milk, vanilla and maple extract. Add the flours, baking soda and spices, and mix on low speed until well combined. Then fold in the remaining ingredients. Drop 24 small scoops onto Silpat-covered, oiled or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Press tops of mounds down slightly and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Or make 12 extra large cookies using two scoops of dough, pressing the mounds down to about a 1/2″ tall disk, leaving 2″ between, and baking for approximately 12-15 minutes. Check after 12 . Cool slightly on cookie sheets and then remove to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

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Vegan Oatmeal, Dried Fig, Chocolate Chip and Nut Cookies

Yield: 24 “normal” cookies or 12 “behemoths

(As I have said before, like so many people, I seem to always be pressed for time, so I make gigantic cookies. But these are equally good large or small.)

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. Last week, I needed a few food gifts and wanted to make my chocolate chip cookies (posted on this site), but with dried cranberries or cherries. However, I discovered that I didn’t have enough chips and the only dried fruit I had on-hand were figs, already cut into 1/4 inch cubes from a previous recipe.

No worries. I simply made the dough as usual, but nudged it gently in a more wholesome direction by substituting 1 of the cups of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour. And, instead of adding 1 1/2 cups of chips (or 3/4 cup of chips and 3/4 cup of nuts), I added 3/4 cup oatmeal and 1/4 cup each of dark chocolate chips, nuts and dried figs. A combination of ground cinnamon and ginger provides just the right spicy background for these cookies that subtlely suggest that autumn is just around the corner.

½ cup vegan butter, room temperature (I use Earth Balance)
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk, preferably at room temperature (plain or vanilla soy milk works too)
1 generous teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (omit if butter is salted)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup of pecan pieces (or almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, walnuts, etc.)
1/4 cup diced dried figs (a 1/4-inch dice seems just right)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Slowly blend in the soy milk and vanilla. Add the flours, baking soda and spices, and mix on low speed until well combined. Then fold in the remaining ingredients. Drop 24 small scoops onto Silpat-covered, oiled or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Press tops of mounds down slightly and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Or make 12 extra large cookies using two scoops of dough, pressing the mounds down to about a 1/2″ tall disk, leaving 2″ between, and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Check after 12 . Cool slightly on cookie sheets and then remove to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

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