Friday, 26 October 2012

Grown-Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I moved into my flat, 6 other people moved into the building as well. A few of us bonded over the fact that whoever did the renovations had a different concept of what a finished flat should look like (we think it should include ceilings without holes, working lights, oh, and warm water and working radiators tend to be a plus as well...) anyhow in the midst of stressing about builders and not being able to go and buy furniture, I met some really lovely people.
The cool thing about this rather lame story is that a few of us have started inviting each other over for dinner. This week we had a mean shepperd's pie one floor down and I made cookies. But I decided to make cookies 45 minutes before I dinner started and had no eggs or butter left. That's when I remembered that I could just make vegan cookies (well they would have been vegan if there had been soy milk in my kitchen...this way they were just egg free).
These cookies feel somewhat more grown-up than normal chocolate chip cookies because the chocolate flavour plays really nicely with the peppery notes and they are not overly sweet (that said....they're cookies, you'll still get over any kind of afternoon-lull with one or two of these).
The recipe mine is based on is the 'Chocolate Chocolate Walnut Cookie' (cool name, isn't it?) recipe from the fantastic Veganomicon (the original is lovely as is but I didn't have walnuts or almond extract either...) and  in case you are wondering - I like using fleur de sel in cookies because it seems to stay somewhat separate from the dough and you get those lovely bursts of saltiness (not excessively so, but enough to bring out the sweetness of the other ingredients).  

Grown-Up Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Bicarb
1/2 tsp Fleur de Sel
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper (if you use already ground pepper, you might want to use more)
2/3 cup Vegetable Oil (go for one that has a mild taste, canola is a good option)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 tbsp Ground Flaxseed
1/2 cup Milk (if you use a non-dairy alternative these cookies are vegan)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Pecan Halves
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (again, go for non-dairy and your vegan and lactose intolerant friends will love you)

Preheat your oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with parchment.
On one of the trays lay out the pecans and roast them until they are dark brown (but not burned!). Allow them to cool slightly while continue with the next few steps.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb, fleur de sel and pepper in a bowl.
In a large bowl mix the oil and sugar, once you have a smooth mixture, add the flaxseed, milk, and vanilla extract.
Crumble the pecans into smallish pieces.
Mix the wet and the dry mix. If you start having issues combining them using a fork or whisk or spoon (or whatever you are using) switch to your hands :)
Add the pecan pieces and chocolate chips and make sure they are somewhat evenly distributed across the dough.
If you use a tablespoon measure and use it like you would use an ice-cream scoop (i.e. pile the dough up so you have something resembling a circular sphere) you should end up with 32 cookies. That means you end up with 16 cookies on each sheet and they'll be spaced out far enough.
Pat the cookie balls out a bit so you have cookie disks and bake them for 10-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.
I found that these cookies set quite late so even after 15 minutes I had perfectly gooey cookies after dinner. The next day at lunch I felt like I should have taken them out slightly earlier. So I guess the message is that it depends on when you are planning on eating the cookies.
Obviously, milk is amazing with these cookies, but they work really well with some red wine as well (since we're being all grown-up and stuff).

Do you have a favourite cookie recipe?

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