Don’t you just love chocolate chip cookies? Here, have one…
Now what makes this recipe different is the fact that it is Vegan, and pretty tasty to boot. It uses the standard dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt . . .
but it substitutes all the traditional dairy products (milk, butter, eggs) with canola oil and water.
I was a little skeptical that oil and water would combine, but after a minute of brisk whisking a smooth mixture was formed.
The chefs/owners of Ovenly Bakery stress that after mixing the dough you must let it chill for at least 12 hours before you bake it. I'm not sure why it needs to be chilled. Normally you chill to re-solidify the butter in the cookie recipe which helps it hold its shape, but this recipe just has oil. Does oil solidify when it gets cold? Where is Alton Brown when you need him! I also found (unsurprisingly) that the dough was on the oily side. When you form theses cookies make sure you have a towel handy, because your hands will get very slick.
But of course I was too impatient to wait more than an hour or two before baking up a few test subjects. Here are the little gems hot out of the oven. Golden brown and dotted with molten chocolate bliss. I didn't have any coarse salt to sprinkle on them, so these are the unsalted version.
I actually managed to let them cool a bit before I popped one into my mouth. Hummm.... They were good, very tasty in fact, but I found them, how can I describe this … I found the texture of the cookie a tad oily and a little "loose". The oily I can understand (the recipe called for 1/2 cup of canola oil), but it seemed that without the dairy the cookie didn't have anything to bind it together. The cookie just seemed to melt in your mouth without any chewing required. Melt in your mouth is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do like a little chew in my chocolate chip cookie. I wonder if chilling the dough for 24 hours will have any impact on the texture of the cookie...
~ 23 hours later ~
This time I followed the instructions to the letter. I formed the dough into little pucks, popped them in the freezer for 10 minutes, and sprinkled them with coarse salt.
And the results were about the same. I didn't see much difference between the cookies I chilled for 2 hours compared to the ones chilled for 23. Same loose, melt in your mouth texture. BUT much to my surprise I DID like the addition of the salt to the cookie. With each bite I got this hint of salt mixed with the sweet of the cookie and chocolate. It was like a brain teaser. My mind didn't know whether to focus on the salt or the sweet. The confusion kept me wanting more. Very interesting phenomena.
So the final verdict from my family and myself... Good cookies, very, very good cookies, but not the absolute best. My favorite chocolate chip cookie is still the Mock Mrs. Field's also known as the Neiman-Marcus $250 Chocolate Chip Cookie that has ground oats and grated chocolate in the mix.
The next time I try this recipe I will throw in a some ground oats and some grated chocolate. That might dethrone the Mock Mrs. Field's cookie as my all time favorite!
Here is a link to the Ovenly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies as published in Vogue Magazine.
Update (10-5-2014): I baked a batch for a Saints Game Day Party, and these cookies were a huge, huge hit. Everyone loved them! There were no vegans at the party but there were who were several lactose intolerant. The LI people now want these cookies baked for every sporting event. And thankfully the Saints did win the game in OT what a nail biter.