Double Chocolate Balsamic Cookies: A Recipe

Do you want to know the sign of a bad sweet tooth? It’s when you already have a fresh batch of cupcakes in the kitchen and you decide to make cookies too. An even greater indication is when your pantry isn’t properly stocked and you desperately improvise to make baking the cookies possible. That happened to me today. I woke up feeling a bit under the weather and still found the energy to bake. I guess cookies are the true best medicine? Yes, I think that’s what researchers are saying nowadays…

Onto those cookies! My pantry really was lacking in the ingredient department. I had plenty of sugar (of course), but hardly any flour, cocoa powder, or vanilla. Originally I wanted to make ginger cookies, but without ginger, that doesn’t work very well. So, chocolate cookies seemed fitting for my needs. These particular cookies use an unusual ingredient: balsamic vinegar (which, incidentally, I spilled all over the floor). I was hoping it would provide richness and a bit of ooomph, but I can’t really notice it in the baked cookies. Maybe more sophisticated palettes will detect it?

Double Chocolate Balsamic Cookies 02December Photo Project 2012: Day #13

A quick note about these cookies: they are sweet. I consider these a great indulgence. You can reduce the granulated sugar by a 1/4 cup if you prefer, but I like how they turned out. They would be lovely with your favorite vanilla ice cream! Also, this recipe would most likely work with all-purpose flour, all whole wheat pastry flour, or a combination of both. I was using up the last of a few different varieties of flour.

Double Chocolate Balsamic Cookies

Makes about 1 dozen cookies

1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (please use organic/Fair Trade, here’s why)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar for sprinkling on top, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, vigorously whisk together oil and first two measures of sugar. Add in balsamic vinegar, vanilla, and flax mixture. Whisk until ingredients are well combined and smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop spoonfuls of dough (about 1 1/2 tablespoons per cookie) onto a baking sheet. You can use a cookie scoop if you prefer – I like them because they make uniform, round, pretty cookies. People will be amazed at their beauty!

5. Put the last measure of sugar onto a plate. Take a ball of dough, gently press the top into the sugar mixture, and place it back on the cookie sheet. Make sure the cookies are flattened slightly. They will spread while baking, but the extra little push at the beginning helps.

6. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies have flattened and cracked across the tops. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

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Pistachio Lime Cookies

I seriously considered not baking cookies this holiday season because my sugar intake has been creeping closer (and closer) to the over-the-limit line. But, since I am a serious cookie muncher, withholding treats would inevitably lead to unpleasant moods. Nobody wants to spend time with a cookie deprived Amy. Trust me.

The recipe I am sharing today was one of my submissions for the VegNews 2011 Holiday Cookie Contest. I didn’t win (congratulations to those who did – I can’t wait to bake up the prized recipes!) but these cookies still deserve some love. While they may look like tropical cookies from the ingredient list, these Pistachio Lime Cookies are just as festive as any other holiday-themed cookie, especially with their green-flecked interior and sparkly, sugar dusted exterior.

Pistachio Lime Cookies

1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1/2 cup unrefined granulated sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon lime extract*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely ground
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unrefined granulated sugar, for coating cookies

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add in milk, extracts, and lime zest. Beat until well mixed.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, pistachios, coconut, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Transfer cookie dough to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour before proceeding with the recipe.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Using a small cookie scoop (or two spoons), drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Place the 2 tablespoons of sugar on a plate and gently flatten the top of each dough ball in the sugar. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

*If you cannot find lime extract, I am sure that a tablespoon of lime juice would work nicely. Or, turn  these into Pistachio Lemon Cookies by replacing the lime extract and lime zest with lemon extract and lemon zest!

I’ll be back soon with some fun giveaways, so don’t stray too far!

Just Another Cookie Recipe

I am pretty sure we all have our favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies, right? My favorite is one Tim and I created years ago in an attempt to replicate a cookie brand we loved in New Zealand. While they didn’t turn out exactly the same, they were close and pleased us immensely. When I veganized the recipe, they were even better; imagine that!

The other night Tim requested chocolate chip cookies (big surprise!). It was late, I was lazy, and I didn’t feel like following a recipe. My solution was to toss ingredients into my mixing bowl and hope for the best. Who needs baking science?

The result was a delicious, chewy, chocolate chip cookie with a subtle hint of coconut.

A few notes about this recipe: I am pretty sure you could reduce the sugar amounts to 1/3 cup each and still have excellent results. Also, I used light coconut milk but it was very thick, and that is essential for this recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

yield: about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic, unrefined sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup organic chocolate chips
2 T unsweetened shredded coconut, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Mix in the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
6. Stir in the chocolate chips and coconut.
7. Use a cookie scoop (or spoon) to distribute dough onto prepared baking sheets.
8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are slightly golden. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Enjoy!