Originally published on The Thirlby.
Chocolate chip cookies seem to be a good place to start with vegan baking, because they are usually forgiving and nearly always good. I’ve made these vegan (above) and non-vegan and frankly there’s not much distinction, except that the vegan version spreads a bit more. Feel free to sub in rye flour, but do not omit the sour cherries! I will know.
2 sticks (226 grams) softened vegan butter or dairy butter
1 ¾ cups (350 grams) coconut sugar or light brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons (10 grams) ground flax seed + 3 ½ tablespoons water, or 1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
10 ounces (283 grams) chocolate, roughly chopped (I like a blend of milk and bittersweet chocolate)
1 cup (150 grams) whole dried sour cherries
Flaky salt (for sprinkling on top)
For vegan cookies: combine your flax meal and water, stir, and set aside to thicken.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high for 3 minutes, until airy and light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times as it progresses from dense sugar paste to fluffy creamed butter. (I’ve also done this with just a wooden spoon and a large mixing bowl—it works out ok as long as your butter is truly soft.)
Add your flax/chicken eggs and vanilla extract. Cream for a further two minutes, scraping the bowl at least once.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to your sugar mixture and mix on low speed until just a few streaks of flour remain. Add your chocolate and sour cherries and continue mixing slowly, until evenly distributed. Using a rubber spatula, give the dough a few folds to make sure no flour remains on the bottom of the bowl.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the dough to prevent it from drying out. Chill your dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to make it easier to scoop.
After chilling, line several baking sheets with parchment paper and form cookies. For bakery-sized cookies: use a ¼ cup measure to shape around 16 cookies (80 grams each) and place four per baking sheet. For medium-sized cookies: use two tablespoons of dough and place 14-16 per baking sheet. Sprinkle each with flaky salt and lightly press into the dough to help it adhere. At this point, I prefer to freeze the cookies to help them keep their shape, especially if they’re vegan. You do you, but note that freezing necessitates slightly longer baking.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a few sheets with parchment paper. Bakery-sized cookies will need about 16-20 minutes, and medium-sized cookies will need closer to 10-14 minutes. Rotate your pans halfway through, and if they’re spreading out wonky, use a spatula or butter knife to encourage them into a more circular shape.
They’re done when the edges are golden brown. They’ll continue to cook on the baking sheet for several minutes. Let cool and enjoy.