Friday, June 24, 2011

"Bake (Vegan) Cookies!"

When baking maven Maida Heatter heard the host of a television program begin to list activities and hobbies a person can pursue to reduce stress, she offered her own solution, hollering back at the set: “Bake cookies!” The host of the program didn’t seem to hear Maida and continued with the program, adding yoga and other pursuits to his list of stress reducers, so Maida hollered again, “Bake cookies! Bake cookies!”

Maida has a lot of experience in the kitchen, and if she says baking cookies reduces stress, I believe her, but the problem is that stress also tends to prompt a baker to, “Eat cookies!” so I’m not sure stress-reduction is a good cookie baking motive.

On a recent afternoon, I wasn’t feeling particularly stressed, but I was in a mood for chocolate (dark chocolate is good for us, you know!), so I decided to make Heidi Swanson’s (of delicious vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (one of my favorite flavor combinations in the world).

I like these cookies because they’re so much healthier than ones made with processed sugar and white flour, and I think they taste better (probably in part because I know they’re better for me). My sister prefers a crispier cookie than this, and I like a crispy cookie, too, as long as it’s buttery, but I wouldn’t want these vegan cookies to be any different than they are. So, if you don’t like soft cookies, you won’t want to try these. My niece, though, says they’re some of the best cookies ever, and I think kids are great cookie critics!

The dough in the picture up top is more chocolate-chunky than chocolate-chippy because I didn’t have chocolate chips in the house and had to cut chocolate pieces from one of those big, thick, splintery Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars. If you make these cookies, you should know that the consistency of the dough will be a little bit different than regular cookie dough, so if you’ve never done any vegan baking, don’t follow your normal baking intuition and immediately start adding flour or liquid to try to “correct” the texture. Bake a batch (or just a cookie or two) first to see what happens (it can be the control batch), and go from there. I’ve never had to alter the recipe in any way. Also, don’t over-mix. You want to use a fairly light hand to pull the ingredients together, but do mix thoroughly. And don’t over-bake, either. If you want to eat crispy cookies, use another recipe.

Hmmm. . . looking at this recipe, it appears that chocolate wasn’t in the original recipe, and I thought to add it (good for me!), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Heidi suggested it as an option when she posted the recipe.

Is the recipe legible? I can read it, but if you can’t (after clicking the picture to make it bigger), let me know, and I’ll type it out for you. I do realize when I quickly scribble something down (as I did with this recipe last year sometime), my hand-writing is atrocious.

So, if you’re ever up for something that combines peanut butter and chocolate and is mostly good for you, pull up this recipe and “Bake cookies!”


  1. These sound great, Susan, thanks for the recipe. (Which is indeed legible)These are going on my list of lovely things to bake :)
    I have a work colleague who is vegan and I always feel sorry for her when anyone brings yummy things into work, as she can't eat them ... so I know she'll be delighted to try these.

    Ps. I agree about the chocolate, you HAVE to have it with peanut butter, great combo :)

  2. Well, good, Claina! Let me know how you like them. I have to make half a batch at a time so I don't eat too many (since much of the time, I'm the only one dipping into the cookie jar!).

    Take care,

  3. I love that I get to have a hand written recipe by Susan in my recipe book! I plan to save this recipe until I have the money in my budget for maple syrup. Feeding a family of 7 only what I consider healthy food can be quite a challenge, but doable and fun!

    I'm thrilled you are blogging again. I enjoy the glimpses you give of your every day life. Your home is lovely!

  4. Renee, that is funny! I guess you could call it my handwriting, though I hate to claim it! :-) Occasionally, I write in a neater hand, but it's not always in my control nowadays, for some reason. My hand has a mind of its own. I do know what you mean about maple syrup and the budget! Buying bulk helps, for sure, but it's still expensive!

    And thank, you, Renee,