Yes, my friends, I am so giddy with excitement, I can barely type. Why is that? First and foremost, because I'm a dork. What has excited my geek meter? I just may be on the threshold of cracking the vegan Toll House chocolate chip cookie code. As frequent readers know, I have a constant ongoing battle trying to make a vegan version of chocolate chip cookies that taste like the Toll House recipe. Let's just say last week, I had a major - and wholly unexpected - breakthrough.
Last week, I wrote about the Sparkled Ginger Cookies from Vegan With a Vengeance, a Greg favorite that continues to have such a strong hold, he helped me make another batch over the weekend. When I was making the ginger cookies, what did I notice across the page...but a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies. I admit, the sight alone of the recipe didn't really make a blip on my cookie radar. It was when I read the caption underneath the title that I realized I needed to give these cookies shot. Why? Because the wonderful Ms. Moskowitz explained that she made these cookies for a carnivorous co-worker who didn't believe vegan chocolate chip cookies could replace the butter and egg variety - until he tried these.
After reading the recipe, I realized where things had gone awry for me before. Typically, when I veganize a recipe, I try to keep as many ingredients the same as possible and provide vegan swaps for the animal-based ingredients. This recipe is genius, though, because it deconstructs the original Toll House recipe and rebalances them in order to preserve the original flavors.
Specifically, I am talking about the brown sugar. Frankly, I don't think a chocolate chip cookie can be a chocolate chip cookie without brown sugar. Therefore, I always make sure brown sugar makes it into my manifestation of vegan chocolate chip cookies. I was shocked to see that this recipe didn't have brown sugar - but on further review, I saw why. Brown sugar is simply white sugar and molasses mixed together. What this recipe did, though, was use white (or in my version, raw) sugar with the molasses added later. By breaking apart the ingredients like this, the egg becomes unnecessary, because the molasses is so sticky it acts like a binder. But, because white sugar and molasses are mixed together, the brown sugar flavor is preserved. Hooray!
RECIPE UPDATE: I took a tip from Ms. Moskowitz and Ms. Romero in Vegan Cookies; they stated that if your dough is very dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of soy milk to correct the problem. I tried that and it worked like a charm! I've updated the recipe accordingly.
Very Nearly Like the Chocolate Chip Cookies You Had Growing Up
(recipe adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)
Yields: A big ol' pan of cookie bars
1 c. non-dairy butter substitute, softened (like Earth's Balance)
1 1/4 c. raw or white sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. soy milk
2 c. or 1-12 ounce bag of vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips, like Ghirardelli
1) Cream together butter substitute and sugar; add molasses and vanilla and mix until well incorporate.
2) Slowly add flour and baking soda until just mixed. (There will probably be drier clumps.) Mix in 1 Tbsp. of soy milk, just until the dough comes together - don't over mix!
3) Add chocolate chips and mix into the dough, until dough comes together.
4) Press dough into a well-greased 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.