June 8, 2010

Double Dark Chocolate Cookies (vegan)

Don't all diets need a little chocolate?  I'm busy working to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans but just can't live without a little chocolate now and then...or rather nearly every day.  The question that remains is how to administer said chocolate.  Some of my chocolate cravings are satisfied by very good chocolate from TCHO, a new favorite, but I'm also itching to get back into my baking groove and had cookies in mind.

I started with a basic recipe from Martha Stewart.  I knew it could be tweaked to make a just as satisfying and yet much more nutritionally valuable cookie.  I did have my diet in mind but there also was the soon-to-be 8!! year-old monster, my son Alex, that needed to be kept happy.  It would be cruel to make batches of cookies that were too "healthy" to appeal to his taste buds.  So I tested and tried combinations until I arrived at this recipe.

This dairy-free, egg-free, low-soy, whole wheat, lower sugar version of the double chocolate cookie really satisfies my chocolate cravings and yet still manages to stay kid friendly.  They exemplify my ideal cookie texture: crispy on the outside, chewy inside with melty chocolate bits throughout.  And if you just so happen to be counting points with Weight Watchers you can have one for 2 points or two for 3 1/2.  They fit in perfectly with my dieting modus operandi: filling up on vegetables seasoned with good quality protein and skipping the bread/pasta/rice so I can indulge in a sweet--that is if I can get to them before Alex does!

Double Dark Chocolate Cookies
My adaptation of the Double Chocolate Cookie recipe  from Martha Stewart
Makes 3 bakers dozen cookies (39 cookies)

4 oz (~1/2 cup) unrefined coconut oil*
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
8 oz (~1 1/3 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
3 tablespoons golden flax seed meal
6 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredient notes:
*Lately I've been using Tree of Life brand coconut oil which has very mild coconut flavor and is acceptable to Alex's palate.  If you or those you are baking for don't object to coconut then by all means use a more coconutty oil.
**Any baking cocoa you have will work but if you want the darkest cookies use half regular cocoa and half black cocoa (like this one from King Arthur Flour).   You would then be using 1/4 cup of each type of cocoa.

-Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Line your baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
-If your coconut oil is liquid it's best to chill it until just firm.  Add your solid coconut oil and brown sugar to a stand mixer and beat until well combined.  Note: this will not cream and become fluffy like margarine or butter.
-Melt half of the chocolate (4 oz) in a double boiler or microwave and set aside.  Mix the flax seed meal and water together and allow to gel.
-Add the gelled flax and the vanilla extract to the coconut oil mixture and beat until combined, at least one minute.  Add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated, you will need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
-Stir or sift together the flour, cocoa(s), baking soda and salt.  Add to the coconut oil mixture and beat until smooth, scraping the sides several times.
-Add in the remaining chocolate (4oz).  The dough will be thick and gummy at this point and you will have to work to get the chips even throughout.
-Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto the lined cookie sheets leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between each cookie.  To make this easier use a 1 tablespoon disher, see link at the end for an example.
-Bake for 11-12 minutes until puffy.  Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheets.
**These freeze very well as baked cookies.  You can bring them to room temperature or gnaw on them frozen.

Trying something new...
I'm an avid fan of Amazon.com so I'm testing the Amazon Associates function in Blogger. For full disclosure these are links that would give me a kick back if you purchased the item through them.  They are however things I actually do use and like a lot.