I’m an unrelenting cookie purist.
Nothing turns me into your local scrooge faster than a chopped up candy cane in a perfectly decadent chocolate chip cookie. This is one of my least favorite things about cookie swaps—the need to guild the lily with five pieces of cookie flare. The second, of course, is that no matter how simple or over-the-top, chances are I won’t be able to eat your cookies.
I’ve lamented my holiday party cookie FOMO here, and talked about Thanksgiving dietary woes here. While I’ve remedied the main elements of the meal by bringing my own gluten-free stuffing and gravy, dessert is usually a sad course, when, if I’m feeling daring, I might go all out and lick some pumpkin off the top of a pie crust. But most of the time, I just shovel some whipped cream in my mouth and call it a holiday.
We’ll be at Charlie’s for Thanksgiving this year, which means I won’t be cooking at all. But on the bright side, it also means I will be eating my weight in gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, which are always on offer to ensure that I will have a happy belly and face full of acne by the end of the weekend.
To get into the Thanksgiving spirit a little early, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies at home that are not only gluten-free, but VEGAN!
The recipe for these vegan chocolate chip cookies is from my friend Michelle Lopez’s new book, Weeknight Baking. It’s a brilliant concept, especially for a remedial baker like myself: Michelle has packed her pages with both quick and accessible projects that take less than 30 minutes and only one bowl, and recipes that are more involved, but can be divided and conquered over the course of the week in smaller, after-work time increments.
Her vegan chocolate chip cookies are made all the more moist and gooey thanks to almond butter and coconut oil. The latter can be either the refined type if you want the flavor to melt into the background, or organic unrefined if you don’t mind a little tropical pizzazz. The chopped almonds add a good dose of crunch while still being true enough to the traditional plain Jane version for my purest self.
I used this gluten-free flour (duh) to make these wheat-free and they turned out a little bit denser and thicker than pictured in the book, but still delicious. They had the look of a Levain cookie, which New Yorkers with dietary restrictions may appreciate!
GIVEAWAY: You can enter to win a copy of Michelle’s book Weeknight Baking by leaving a comment here or on Instagram and telling me your favorite type of holiday cookie.
I’ll be choosing a winner on Friday, November 22nd at 10pm EST. The book has a whole section on alternative baking, and of course, you can make anything gluten-free by using a 1:1 GF baking mix.
With health and hedonism,
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almonds
- 10 ounces vegan chocolate at least 70% cocoa, from a high-quality chocolate bar, hand broken into pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted almonds
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup unsweetened creamy natural almond butter
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine the chocolate and almonds. Pulse for a few seconds at a time until the ingredients are chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces, 10 to 15 seconds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, almond butter, water, and vanilla until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add the chopped chocolate and almonds and mix until evenly distributed throughout.
- Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the cookie dough into balls and place them at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. If the cookie dough seems too soft to scoop, refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake one pan at a time for 12 minutes, until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey. The cookies will look puffed when you pull them out of the oven, but will fall and crack into the perfect cookies as they cool. Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies feel firm to the touch. Repeat with remaining cookie dough balls (or freeze it to bake later). Serve warm or at room temperature. The cookies can be stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.