I’m quite sure that most of us will eat more plant-based dishes in the years to come whether or not it’s part of a belief system. One reason is that chefs and experts are creating more delicious dishes, including desserts and baked goods, without meat or dairy. This is becoming a requirement to satisfy customers in restaurants and cafes, and it is growing trend in commercial food production, well-documented by my having walked the entire 2018 Fancy Food Show here in San Francisco last month.
I remain an omnivore, but even at my house, family dinner changes with changing tastes, health issues, and ideas about the world. I’m intrigued by the challenge of making familiar (and brand-new) things with different ingredients―in part because I’m curious and because it makes me think! My only requirement is that the ingredients that stand in for milk, butter, and eggs meet my personal standards.
The new chocolate chunk cookies below are made with almond butter, coconut oil, and organic sugar. The almond butter is the type made from pure almonds and salt, with no palm oil or emulsifiers―stirring is just the price you pay for a pure ingredient. The coconut oil is unrefined (virgin) coconut oil because I don’t like to use processed oil when there is a suitable unprocessed alternative. You might wonder why I did not use one of the vegan margarines. So far, I don’t like the taste or the ingredients in these products, so I’m choosing other sources of fat instead.
One of the interesting things about these cookies is that they do not spread in the oven. This is mostly because coconut oil melts at a higher temperature than butter. This means that you must flatten the dough a bit with your fingers (no big deal) before baking, or leave them fat and chunky. Playing around with their shape lets you determine how crunchy versus soft you want them to be.
I added some oat flour because I like whole grains in cookies and because oats have lovely caramel toffee flavors that play well with the brown sugar. Mingled with almond butter and brown sugar, the flavor of the coconut oil is subtle and very much in harmony with the other flavors. (I don’t like when all plant-based dishes taste like coconut, regardless of whether coconut tastes good with the other ingredients in the dish!)
The point of making a new chocolate chunk cookie was to tip a hat―rather than duplicate―the old standard, while bringing something different and pleasing to the table. Even if you are not committed to a plant-based diet, I hope this will become one of your new chocolate chunk cookies. No baker can have too many of those!
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150) grams all purpose unbleached flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 grams) oat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed (not too firmly) organic light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 grams) almond butter (the kind you have to stir)
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (112 grams) virgin coconut oil, melted and warm
- 3/4 cup (130 grams) chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped chocolate
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts
- Flaky sea salt
Will you be making these cookies? Let us know below!