Easy Vegan Chocolate-chip cookies
Sommelier and I dabble in veganism, and it was during our Vegan Voyage that I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to perfect vegan baking. Chocolate, having originated from the fermented and roasted fruits of the cocoa plant is, mercifully, easily prepared in a vegan manner. As such, it was an obvious choice for me on this culinary adventure. I read multiple recipes online that included utterly perplexing ingredients such as ‘vegan egg’ (flax seed and water), coconut oil (imparts a very strong flavour) and vegan chocolates made from the likes of cashew butter. Being an incredibly lazy baker, a mega-fan of good quality dark chocolate, and stoically dedicated to keeping ingredients simple I ignored every single recipe I read online, concluded that vegan margarine was a better fit for my cooking style, fixed the eggless setting issue with baking powder and bicarb. (2 very effective setting and raising agents, but I can confirm that they can also render an otherwise delicious cookie literally fizzy if used overzealously), visited my favourite chocolatier (shout-out to Federation!) to gather his finest dark chocolate wares and set about baking cookies from things already present in my pantry. This is now my go-to party pleaser of a recipe because it is incredibly easy and also suitable for the lactose intolerant (which we have recently learned that the twins who share our driveway and keep bringing us baked-goods are – so now we have a retaliation baked-good recipe, because I refuse to be outdone by 2 young children! No matter how sweet and lactose intolerant they are). It also caters to the egg allergic among us (of which I know none) without offending the vehemently anti-vegan (of which I know a distressingly high number). It still looks and tastes like a classic sea-salt and dark chocolate cookie and few things in life have brought me greater pleasure than sneaking vegan treats into the mouths of the anti-vegans.
1½ cups self-raising flour
1¼ cups brown sugar
½ cup nuttelex, chilled. Room temperature butter substitutes make for a VERY gooey cookie.
¼ cup rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
250g Good quality dark chocolate, chopped or grated (you can add more if you want to, we won’t judge)
Combine all ingredients and roll into tablespoon sized soft, workable balls. If the mixture is too sticky and does not comfortably roll into balls without sticking to your hands add more flour, if it is too stiff and cannot be easily rolled add more rice milk.
Bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven when they are still a little soft to the touch and leave in the pan for a further 10 minutes. They will look uncooked when you first take them out of the oven, but they will set in the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. Should keep for at least a week.