May 2, 2014 1 Comment
Do you like chocolate chip cookies? I sure do! But, then again, who doesn’t?!
Haters may care to disagree, but really, chocolate chip cookies don’t need all of the butter, sugar, and gluten that most recipes call for to be amazing.
And–I promise–these are amazing.
You know who’s also amazing? My gorgeous friend Julia, who helped me bake these beauties!
A lover of healthy food (particularly kale), Julia–like me–used to enjoy candy, chips, and the cookies from our middle school cafeteria that were almost the size of someone’s head. After learning about how inhumanely animals are treated in factory farms, she decided to go vegetarian, then transitioned to eating completely vegan over the course of two years. Instead of chowing down on processed food, Julia now enjoys oatmeal, smoothies, and fruits and vegetables of all colors of the rainbow.
While I am not a vegan, I don’t think eating factory-farmed meat and poultry is a smart choice and totally support my friend’s decision to not eat animal products out of respect for her furry (and feathered) friends. Best of all, I know Julia is doing healthfully: she eats a variety of beans, grains, and nuts for protein and focuses her meals on fresh produce. No Oreos for this vegan!
This past weekend, I decided to have my pal over to talk food and help me with a long-term project: creating the perfect gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie.
We succeeded. These were killer, just as good (if not better) than the chocolate chip cookies I used to make back in my butter-filled baking days.
Do you see that chocolate gooey-ness on Julia’s hand? People, these are legit. And we ate them plain…imagine how good they’d be with vegan ice cream and a little melted dark chocolate on the top…
OK, I need to stop. I’m making myself hungry.
I guess a glass of almond milk will have to do for now.
Are you ready to get this deliciousness inside of your mouth? I do hope so, because really, who doesn’t like cookies?
An idiot, that’s who.
First things first: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/4 cup of unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar or maple crystals, if you prefer) with 1/2 cup of non-hydrogenated organic palm shortening. Start beating on low, then increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
To the palm shortening mixture, pour in 1/4 cup of maple syrup (or preferred liquid sweetener), 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Start the mixer on low, then increase the speed to medium, beating until the ingredients form one homogeneous mixture, about 2 minutes more.
A note about vanilla extract: including 1 tablespoon is ESSENTIAL! In all of my years of baking chocolate chip cookies, I’ve found that 1 tablespoon of vanilla is the magic number, regardless of the other ingredients. It really highlights the flavor of the chocolate and nicely balances the cookie’s sweetness.
To the wet ingredients, add 2 cups of almond flour, 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a generous pinch of salt. Mix on low until a cookie-like dough begins to form, about 2 minutes.
Using a spatula, fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips–minis, chunks, chips, whatever you’d like. I used vegan dark chocolate morsels, which I adore and use for many of my recipes.
Using a large ice cream scoop, place rounded balls of cookie dough (about a tablespoon each) on the prepared cookie sheets. I made 16 cookies, which is a pretty nice baking number, if I do say so myself.
Before you put the cookies in the oven, sprinkle each ball with a pinch of good-quality sea salt, if you’d like. I love how the salt brings out the sweetness in the cookies.
Bake for 10 minutes, then take the cookies out and check them. They should be just beginning to turn brown on the edges and the center should be very soft. If the cookies are still pale in color, bake them for another two minutes or so–but NO LONGER! Almond flour cookies bake faster than you think and are susceptible to dryness, so it’s always better to pull them out early. (There are no eggs, so you don’t have to worry about getting sick, anyway.)
Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Sigh with delight as you remember what a real chocolate chip cookie tastes like.
I’ll try to put one through the screen to get to you! Maybe it’ll work…
…oh well. Guess you’ll have to make them yourself!
What’s your chocolate chip cookie secret? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!