Going vegan was and is still a challenge.
I had to re-learn recipes, educate myself on food I had never tried before and become creative when ordering in restaurants. It has gotten a lot easier now, but since I am not a fan of cooking and there are really no vegan restaurants close by, I was forced to fend for myself and family in the kitchen. Thus, the experimentation began.
One favorite dessert in our house is chocolate chip cookies. Before I went vegan, I would buy pre-made cookies or the refrigerated dough. I knew these were full of ingredients that weren’t so great, but the convenience won out so many times. The process of changing my diet to a plant-based, compassionate focus meant I became acutely aware of every little thing that was added to the foods we ate. It also meant I had to learn how to bake—again.
I tried quite a few different recipes for cookies. I found some on the internet, and in cookbooks and my children were always the judges. Too soft, they would say. Too crispy, they commented. Too flat, too puffy, too much like cake, too dry they told me. I was beginning to think I just couldn’t find the flavor and feel of a regular old fashioned chocolate chip cookie—vegan style.
And then I found Dreena Burton. This recipe turned out so good, that my kids though I made regular non-vegan cookies at first These are vegan? Yes, I answered. We have a winner!
Since finding this recipe, we have baked these cookies for parties, potlucks and as treats to bring to school and they have always been well received each time.
Dreena Burton’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see note below for wheat-free version)
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 cup unrefined sugar
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 – 1 1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup organic neutral flavored oil (a little generous 1/4 cup)
1⁄3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined (do not over mix). Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 8-10 large cookies.
*For a wheat-free version, use spelt flour, adding an extra 1/4 cup of flour (for 1 1/4 cups total)
*On a side note: I have substituted applesauce for an oil-free version and they still turn out great. I also have found (for me) they turn out better if I don’t separate dry and wet ingredients. I first mix all of the dry, and then just add the wet directly to the dry and start mixing. If the mixture is a little dry, I slowly add a teeny bit of water.
I hope you give these a try. They are amazing!
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo Credit: Roger Bourland/Pixoto