I love lazy days. They’re not actually particularly easy to come by these days, as the realization that I’m leaving Montreal has started to set in, and along with it, shpilkes (look it up- it’s my favourite Yiddish word) have started presenting themselves, pushing me to want to constantly be doing things that I know I’ll miss when I leave. I like the shpilkes, most of the time, but they’ve definitely caused me to feel a little bit spread too thin on a couple of occasions recently.
Luckily, this weekend, I got to spend a wonderfully lazy Saturday hanging out with Aaron, always in close proximity of our couch. We binge-watched Jane the Virgin, cleaned the house a bit, and did some cooking. I did my nails and read my newly-arrived copy of Bon Appetit’s 2017 travel issue.
After a very savoury breakfast of crispy smashed potatoes and eggs, and a very savoury lunch of rice, refried beans, homemade salsa roja, cilantro, and onion, I felt a creeping craving for something sweet. We did have semisweet chocolate chips and toffee bits (the greatest addition to ANY baked good), but we were at the very end of a grocery shop rotation and had literally eaten everything in the fridge and freezer. This meant no butter, no eggs, and no desire to leave the house to go get either of them.
I gingerly combed through the internet, searching for a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe, wary and suspicious because while I love much of the vegan savoury food I’ve eaten, vegan baked goods have often missed the mark for me. This might be because I like my desserts very basic- it’s the one food category where my tastes haven’t changed at all since I was 9. I would take a perfect chewy and buttery chocolate chip cookie over any other dessert on the planet. So lame, eh? But the heart wants what it wants.
I didn’t believe that a cookie could be crispy on the edges, but gooey, chewy, and slightly dense in the middle without the Magic Science Chemistry Baking Power of butter and eggs- but I am here to relay the knowledge that IT IS POSSIBLE.
After being a little unsatisfied with the vegan recipes that I was finding, I decided to just look at a very well-loved recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies and figure out the substitutions myself. I used The Kitchn’s flax egg tutelage to replace the 2 eggs, and used 1 cup of canola oil instead of one cup of butter. I used fewer chocolate chips than the recipe asked for, and added toffee bits in the place of chopped pecans (why anyone would ruin a perfectly good cookie with pecans is BEYOND me). The cookies came out of the oven slightly domed and a little cakey-looking (which I really don’t like in a cookie) so in a fit of frustration, I pressed each cookie down with a spatula while still warm, and it worked WONDERS. Slightly crispy edges, chewy, almost doughy middle.
Here’s the full recipe:
- 1 cup canola oil (or 1 cup melted butter)
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground to a fine powder and mixed with 6 tablespoons water until gelatinous (or 2 eggs)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup toffee bits
In a bowl, mix oil (or melted butter) and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in flax mix (or eggs) and cinnamon until uniformly-textured.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mix to wet ingredients, mix until combined, and stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits
Form into 1-inch balls, pressing together if needed because the dough is a little crumblier than others due to the lack of butter. Drop onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, about an inch apart.
Bake in a 400° oven for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. Let rest on cookie sheet for two minutes and then, using a flat spatula, plate, or flat-bottom measuring cup, press the cookies down lightly so they’re about 1cm thin. Let rest on the warm tray for another 10 minutes to firm up slightly.