Let’s face it ~ most people realize that cookies are not health food. And those of us who are vegan realize that most cookies contain milk, eggs, and butter (or worse, hydrogenated oils.) But sometimes, the siren song of cookies in the bakery window is just overwhelming. Despite a desire to eat a whole-plant-food based diet, sometimes the cookie monster inside simply won’t be put off with another piece of fruit for dessert or an imitation cookie (you know the kind ~ the ones even undiscriminating little kids won’t eat.)
Before you succumb to that cookie (or worse yet, a package of store bought ones), hurry home and make these. They are not CHIP- or Forks-Over-Knives- approved; they contain too much sugar and fat for that. But they are a far sight healthier than Toll House chocolate chip cookies that most of us grew up eating!
I spent several years perfecting this recipe. I wanted to cut the fat, do away with the dairy products, and use whole wheat flour. I had some pretty sad and sorry cookies at the beginning! You get the benefit of all that trial and error. The final piece to the puzzle was parchment paper. I know it’s a pain to use and adds extra expense, but it is worth it. No more squashed cookies trying to peel them off of the pan with the spatula. No more stuck-on goo to scrape off before the next ones can be put on the cookie sheet. And no more washing the pans, either. If you are careful about keeping the dough off of the sides, you can just throw the paper away, wipe the pans off, and put them back in the cupboard.
I usually have “one extra note” to make about my recipes. Here is today’s. When it comes to vanilla in cookies (or anything, for that matter) use a heavy hand. If the real stuff is too expensive for you to do that, then by all means use imitation. The taste difference will amaze you. Confession: I don’t measure my vanilla – I guesstimate and splash it in. (I taught my kids to do this, and it got my daughter, K, in trouble one of the years she wasn’t homeschooled. She was in home ec. making chocolate chip cookies and her teacher spotted her splashing in the vanilla and romped on her for it. It was too expensive for such a thing and besides that, you are supposed to measure it, don’t ya’ know!! When it came time for the teacher to taste test all the groups’ cookies [not a bad job to have…], guess which ones got the highest praise? Ha! Vanilla for the win!)
- 1/2 c. non-hydrogenated soy margarine, softened (1 stick), such as Earth Balance
- 1/4 c. light olive oil or melted coconut oil
- 3 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar (you can use 2 ½ c., but it’s better with 3)
- 2 T. molasses
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no added water)
- 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk plain or vanilla soy)
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional, but it adds extra nutrition and omega 3 fatty acids)
- 2 c. chocolate chips (more if you want them bursting at the seams)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
- 4 1/2 c. King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s ‘white’ whole wheat flour (from spring wheat that is sweeter and not as strong in flavor)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on cookie sheets. This step is non-negotiable. Without it, I cannot be responsible for how awful your cookies look.
With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl, combine margarine, olive or coconut oil, cane juice, molasses, and vanilla. Thoroughly stir in egg replacer powder. Add a third of the non-dairy milk, or so, at a time, beating it in completely after each addition. Keep whipping it until fluffy and creamy. Tip the bowl some to make it easier. (You can toss the milk in all at once, but it tends to cause separation and then you have to work harder to whip it together.) Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, salt, and baking soda, mixing well. Stir in flour until no dry spots remain. Don’t be afraid to add an extra 1-2 T. non-dairy milk at this point if the dough seems crumbly. You want the dough to just stick together if you press a clump on a spoon, or between your fingers. The moisture content of whole wheat flour varies causing slight differences each time. Just don’t add too much extra milk, or your cookies will be very flat and hard.
Drop by tablespoon onto parchment-covered cookie sheets. (Or roll into balls for perfectly round cookies.) Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove to cookie racks to cool. If you want smaller cookies dropped by teaspoon, reduce the baking time to 8-10 minutes.