Monday, September 24, 2012

feeding the monster: chocolate chip cookies

life is getting a little complicated for me.  it seems that i am reaching that age many women dread; you know, that age where you reluctantly reveal the ages of your children.  that age where your joints will ache when you simply think about doing something strenuous or catch the part of the forecast that calls for a drop in temperature.   yup, that's the one, the one leading to the change, yes, that change.  

what does that mean, you ask.  it means that i can gain weight through osmosis and that you better think twice about cutting off my chocolate supply.   to add the proverbial insult to injury, i also feel a cold coming on, lucky me.  needless to say, i spent the day in the house not venturing any further than the recycling bin in the carport.  a call for comfort food led me to chocolate chip cookies-they were easier to make than a pot of matzoh ball soup.

in my quest for healthier eating habits, i have amassed a small collection of vegan cookbooks by isa chandra moskowitz.  my need of a chocolate fix had me perusing the index of vegan with a vengeance in search of a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  it seems that they have been on my mind for weeks and i needed to get them out of my system.  what better way to do this than to simply eat way too many warm from the oven cookies.  

as a cookbook author, i love reading isa's books.  she lets her personality show and she doesn't hold back.  the first sentence of the head note for her chocolate chip cookies reads:  "there's nothing healthy about these."  her motivation for this recipe was to simply prove that a vegan version could be as tasty as a traditional non-vegan version.  it worked, she proved her point, and now i needed to prove to myself that i could make some that might be a little less unhealthy for me in my quest to keep the cholesterol level in check.


my first step was to convert the recipe over to coconut oil.  while it wouldn't have been a bad thing to use a nonhydrogenated margarine, i didn't have any and had to use what was in my closet-a new, unopened jar of virgin coconut oil i picked up on my last trip to trader joe's. 

 the recipe calls for regular granulated sugar and the addition of molasses.  well, that sounds easy enough if you happen to have some which i somehow do not at the moment.  even my supply of sorghum seemed to have dried up.  in the closet, i found (from left to right) brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, sugar beet syrup and honey from our bees.  i went with the honey-a non vegan ingredient.

 the coconut oil will not whip up the way margarine does-it will actually get a little runny if you over mix it.  so take care with the length of time you cream it with the sugar.

the recipe also calls for all purpose flour.  i was a little surprised by that.  i decided that if i was going to eat these cookies, they definitely needed some whole grain.  in place of the 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour,  i used a combination of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and ground flax seeds.

i didn't have vegan chocolate chips, and honestly, i don't know that i would keep them on hand since i do not follow a strict vegan diet.  to keep them tasting a little more like the traditional toll house recipe, i added some chopped walnuts.  unfortunately, the dough came out really dry and crumbly most likely as a result of the whole wheat flour and the flax seeds.  the last minute addition of some soy milk saved the day.
 pressing the tops of the cookies to make more of a thick disk before baking improved their appearance.

 honestly, you can't tell by looking at them that they are (almost completely) vegan cookies.  the whole wheat flour and the ground flax seeds are barely visible.  i certainly didn't taste it and i am a little nauseated now having eaten at least 3 of them while they were still warm from the oven...

almost completely vegan chocolate chip cookies
makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup coconut oil-preferably virgin coconut oil and solid at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon molasses or sorghum(for the vegan version-honey, for the non-vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips-vegan or non vegan
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped small
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk

preheat the oven to 350.  in a small bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, flax seeds and the baking soda and set it aside.  in a large mixing bowl, cream the coconut oil with the sugar, molasses, vanilla and salt for 2-3 minutes taking care not to let it get to warm.  add the whisked dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine.  add the chocolate chips, walnuts and soy milk and mix to form a slightly crumbly dough.  using a #40 scoop or a fully filled and rounded teaspoon of dough, form the cookies by gently pressing the top of the dough to flatten it into an even disk.  bake for 9 minutes (if you are using a convection fan, you may have to adjust the time) or until they are slightly browned around the edges.  allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then remove them to a rack to finish cooling.

and now, it is time for me to step away from the rack...i may never go back to the traditional version; thanks isa!!!

1 comment:

  1. These look delish! Cant wait to try them!(www.naturallyyummyclare.blogspot.co.uk)

    ReplyDelete