Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

No other dessert on earth has power over me the way chocolate chip cookies do. It's an ungodly, unbridled, unrestrained passion. I cannot have then in the house without mowing through them in a matter of days.

All that changed when I went gluten-free over a year ago. Being vegan--at least for the now--further complicates my obsession.

Until now.

The forthcoming recipe is similar in flavor to the amazing cookies in my cookbook, Modern Family Table, but of course contain no wheat, butter or eggs. They're perfectly chewy and densely decadent, everything you want in a chocolate chip cookie, and nothing you don't!

yields 24 cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar (make sure it's labeled suitable for vegans)
2 1/4 cups self-rising gluten-free flour blend*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup neutral oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips**

*I use a variety milled by Dove's Farm here in the UK. It is a combination of rice, potato, tapioca, buckwheat and maize and also contains xanthan gum and baking powder. Because it's not a finicky bread or pastry dough, I suspect you could experiment with relative ease
**You don't have to purchase chocolate chips that are specifically labeled vegan. Instead, just find a semi-sweet chocolate chip that contains no milk fat. I used Baker's in these. My favorite in the US is Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet chips.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the dry ingredients (in this recipe, sugar is considered a dry ingredient). Add the oil applesauce and vanilla and stir until combined.

Form into one inch balls and flatten with your hands to help them spread. They will be nearly the exact same shape when they come out of the oven because the oil is already at melting point at room temperature and therefore will not further melt the way butter or shortening does.

Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the baking tray halfway through cooking. Remove to a cooling rack. They taste lovely as soon as they've cooled but are out of this world a few hours later.

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