An Experiment In Vegan Baking

So as I discussed in my last blog, in order to try to get healthy, I am trying to go vegan. This is never something that even crossed my mind until about a month ago. But it has been a surprisingly easy transition thus far. Granted right now I am more of a vegetarian than a vegan, but if nothing else I definitely have vegan tendencies. By far the hardest part is craving chocolate. They do make vegan chocolate, and I have been trying to eat that when I need a chocolate fix, but it is expensive and making it last becomes a challenge.


I think I may have a problem. I need to go to chocolate rehab. Every night between 8 and 10 I become this horrible chocolate craving monster. I become ravenous. I NEED chocolate. If I sound like a drug addict it may be because I basically am and my drug of choice is sweet, delicious, wonderful chocolate. This is another thing I try to chalk up to “I’m a girl. This comes with the territory.” And that may be partially right, but I also might have a serious problem. This is real life guys.

So I decided maybe if I could at least make healthier chocolate choices I would be better off. I also am trying to limit my chocolate intake, but that is a struggle I need to take one day at a time.

Anyway, I thought why not make some vegan chocolate chip cookies and maybe I can just have a cookie every now and then and keep the chocolate monster at bay. So I got my ingredients and tried to make a healthy (ish. healthy is a relative term in this case) cookie. Since vegans can’t have butter or eggs, I was a bit weary of how this was going to turn out. I got the recipe from the book Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, but the good old internet had it online so here it is, copy and pasted for your enjoyment:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c evaporated cane sugar
  • 1 1/4 c refined coconut oil
  • 1/4 c ice water
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (10-12 oz) package vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 c chopped walnuts

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar and coconut oil, mixing on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the water, molasses, and vanilla, mixing until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 to 4 additions, mixing each addition until almost fully incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips and the walnuts, mixing until just combined.
  • Arrange 2 tablespoon sized balls of cookies dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bakes for 10-13 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned and the centers are set. Cool in pan five minutes then move to rack to cool.


So I followed the recipe and it turned out ok. They taste great… They don’t look pretty… They are very crunchy. Since they are tasty I am chalking up what I would normally consider a baking semi-failure to a semi-almost-success. Here are a few issues I had that may have lead to the semi-almost-success:

  • I didn’t have parchment paper so i greased the cookie sheet just in case. this was stupid. The recipe calls for 1¼ cups coconut oil. There was enough oil in them that I didn’t need to spray the pan. And the bottoms were a little burned and I definitely don’t think the pam helped that. Also, the cookies feel a little greasy, it’s not awful, but you definitely want a napkin nearby when you eat them. Again, I don’t think the pam helped this problem.
    • Sidebar: Coconut oil is weird. I think its supposed to be all healthy, which is awesome. Buts it’s solid. And a bit hard to scoop (read: very hard to scoop.) And it’s expensive. They sell it in jars, and I paid $8 for my jar and used ⅔ – ¾ of the jar on these cookies. I need to order it in bulk if I am going to keep buying it.
  • I had whole wheat flour, but not whole wheat pastry flour. Does that matter? I have no idea. Who knows? Anybody? If you do let me know.
  • They burnt a little, so I’m thinking next time I am going to do 350° instead of 375°.

In general I prefer a chewy cookie and these are definitely the crispy variety, but I found a blog that suggests a few things in order to make them chewy (You can find it here if you’re interested) So next time I may try omitting the baking soda and see where that get me.

So here is a picture of the cookies. Like I said they are not very pretty (they got all smushed together) . But they do taste good! I promise! This is what a vegan baking semi-almost-success looks like people:

There you have it.




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