Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment

A vegan friend from work, knowing that I love to bake, brought me in Erin McKenna’s BabyCakes NYC cookbook to show me a different perspective on ingredients. It was certainly a different perspective. I was looking through the book, scanning all the looong ingredient lists including Xanthan Gum, Whole Spelt Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice (or Panella in Australia) and Coconut Oil and thought ‘what the hell is all of this?’.

I was very curious about all of these baking substitutes and was eager to make something to test them out and spot the differences. So about $70 and two hours of hunting around four different stores later, we (well, mostly my boyfriend) found most of what I needed. These health ingredients are expensive, and hard to find (thank you dear boyfriend!)!
P.S. I was going to try the banana bread too but decided to leave it for another day, hence the bananas in the photo.

I decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookies and Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Instead of making my cookies with butter, sugar, flour and eggs, I was going to be using coconut oil, dark brown sugar (I gave up on trying to find the Panella sugar. You can order it online), gluten free flour, flax meal, applesauce and some xanthan gum to make sure everything stuck together! It felt like a science experiment.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Adapted from BabyCakes

Although this recipe might look crazy with all its strange ingredients, its actually quite easy to put it all together. Follow the instructions carefully and try not to substitute too many ingredients. Make sure to melt the coconut oil before measuring it, as it comes in solid form. 30-40 seconds in the microwave should be enough.

1 cup coconut oil
6 tablespoons applesauce
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (or Panella sugar)
2 cups gluten free all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 cup flax meal (I bought whole flax and blended it)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line 3-4 baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, salt, vanilla and sugar.

Separately, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum.

Using a rubber spatula, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until a dough is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough, roll into balls and place onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Gently press each ball down with the palm of your hand to help them spread.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes. The finished cookie will be crisp on the edges and soft in the center. Let the cookies to stand on the trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 36.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Adapted from BabyCakes

This recipe is almost exactly the same as the traditional Chocolate Chip Cookies, only it has added cocoa and less flour to compensate. These are delicious, too!

1 cup coconut oil
6 tablespoons applesauce
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (or Panella sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 cup flax meal (I bought whole flax and blended it)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line 3-4 baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, salt, vanilla, sugar and cocoa.

Separately, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum.

Using a rubber spatula, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until a dough is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough, roll into balls and place onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Gently press each ball down with the palm of your hand to help them spread.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes. The finished cookie will be crisp on the edges and soft in the center. Let the cookies to stand on the trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 36.

So how did they turn out, you ask? Well, the Double Chocolate Chip Cookies baked up much better than the Chocolate Chip Cookies. They weren’t as oily and spread more evenly so they were all of the same thickness, while the Chocolate Chip Cookies spread strangely thin around the edges and stayed fat in the centers. While they were baking I got a strong smell of the coconut oil, which was yummy, but smells just like Reef Tanning Oil and reminds me of summer and sun baking. That was a bit weird.

The concept is one that I am in two minds about. If you are a vegan, or gluten intolerant, then fantastic!!! You can eat cookies once more!

But I’m not so sure. I get that the coconut oil is great for you and speeds up your metabolism while butter is horrible for your waistline and your cholesterol levels, but I like eggs. I think eggs are a great source of protein. Why would I replace each one with 3 tbsp of applesauce? Why would I use gluten free flour + flax meal + xanthan gum (this one still freaks me out as I don’t really get what it is) when I could use plain or wholemeal flour?

Overall, the cookies were nice, particularly the double chocolate ones (yum! Bake these!) I had fun experimenting and will probably give a few more recipes from BabyCakes a try.

5 Thoughts on “Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment

  1. Pingback: >Cocoa Fudge Cookies | Butter.

  2. natalie on July 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm said:

    as a lover of anything buttery, these were surprisingly the most amazing cookies i’ve had, and completely guilt free!

  3. So stinkin’ good. I’m thoroughly addicted!

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