Vegan Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
I adore chocolate chip cookies...ones loaded with impossibly large amounts of chocolate, crispy-chewy around the edges, and melty soft in the centers. I like the caramelly taste that the cookie has, complimented effortlessly by a post bake dusting of flakey sea salt. There is something magical about how a few simple ingredients go through a Disney-esque transformation after just a few minutes in a 350℉ oven. The fats and sugars melt and brown providing levels of flavor scaffolded infinitely by the bold, sweet earthy chocolate and its luscious cocoa butter. The experience of chocolate chip cookies is only improved by the simple process that is needed to make them. There is no kneading or fermentation, no whipping anything to stiff peaks, only a quick beat of fats and sugars, the addition of dry ingredients and then the folding in of the main ingredient and star of the show, the chocolate itself. Whether they be bakery style chocolate chip cookies, cakey chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, or even just the raw cookie dough itself, my love for these classic treats shows no boundaries.
To pay homage to my borderline chocolate chip cookie obsession, I created this recipe. Its perfect for chocolate chip cookie lovers of all different types. These cookies are actually vegan, by way of coconut oil, tahini paste and flax seed meal, and believe me when I say you definitely won't miss the butter at all. They also contain almond flour which, along with the tahini, helps provide a satisfying nuttiness that does butter's job better than it ever could. You could make these completely gluten free if you wished, substituting the regular whole wheat flour for a gluten free flour blend or just using 100% almond flour. While I am not vegan, I do enjoy a primarily plant-based diet and have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to extract even more rich flavors from vegetables, grains and fruit. Since this cookie dough contains no eggs, no one will look at you weird for eating the dough raw, so munch ahead! If the fact that these contain no butter or eggs is a turn off for you, I promise that if you make this recipe just one time, I can change your mind. While testing these, I fed them to my friends, coworkers and family members, and not a single person even asked if they were vegan, they simply asked if they could have more (while their mouths were still full, I might add).
To further convince you that you need to make these, I developed them as a one bowl recipe. You don't even need a mixer. Just one medium sized bowl, a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and you're good to go. Seriously, if you don't make these, I'll regret it for you. They are the best cookies I have ever made and I want you to share in the happiness.
TIPS, TRICKS & FAQs
- Is it really necessary to refrigerate the cookie dough? - Since these cookies contain coconut oil, which melts at around 20℉ less than butter, and tahini, which contains unsaturated fats, and thus isn't even solid at room temperature - refrigeration prevents them from spreading too rapidly and assists with a little more flavor development. You'll find that the short 30 minute refrigeration period is just enough to clean up the kitchen and wait for the oven to pre-heat. As the recipe suggests, scoop out the cookie dough before you refrigerate so that you don't have a hard time scooping.
- What is tahini? - Tahini is the bigger, badder cousin of your favorite nut butter, and it's out here to kick butt and take names. It's a thin paste made of toasted, ground sesame seeds and light olive oil. It's incredibly versatile and flavorful - used in both sweet and savory applications. You've probably encountered tahini before, as it's commonly found complimenting the savory chickpeas in hummus - 'nuff said. You can pick up a jar of the stuff from your local grocer, in the peanut butter aisle, or here on Amazon.
- How do I tell if the cookies are done baking? - People tend to over bake cookies based purely on the notion that 'they're not done yet'. You worked hard making those cookies, don't do that to yourself. Due to the thinness of most cookies (chocolate chip included), they continue baking on the pan, long after you've removed them from the oven. When the edges are golden brown and the center isn't wet, they're done.
- Use great chocolate - For me, this is a must. Try to use the highest quality chocolate you can find. Lower quality chocolates do not melt properly, and dry out in the oven. I use organic, certified fair trade chocolate in all of my baking endeavors. In these cookies specifically, I used an artisanal 74% organic bittersweet chocolate chopped into bite sized chunks. As all of the cookie greats would tell you, use a chocolate that you would eat, not a subpar bottom shelf specimen that you wouldn't even snack on.
- Do I have to pick up and drop the sheet pan? - This baking method, coined 'pan-banging' by cookie queen Sarah Kieffer, of the Vanilla Bean Baking Book helps create crispy chewy edges with pools of chocolate in the center. You absolutely don't have to do it (just bake the cookies like you normally would), but I would definitely try it at least once!
- Why does your recipe contain gram measurements? - Good question! I test all of my recipes in imperial or metric measurements because they are much more consistent than the American system of 'cups'. If you've ever followed a cup recipe exactly and wondered why it came out nothing like the picture or as described, it's probably because your cup can vary wildly from my cup, or your neighbors cup, etc. You can pick up a cheap kitchen scale here from Sur La Table, or here on Amazon, and join the many ranks of bakers who've switched to the more consistent measuring system.
Vegan Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies
By: Scott Smith
- 2 tbsp melted and cooled coconut oil (25 g)
- 3 tbsp + 1 tsp well stirred tahini (45 g)
- 1/3 cup organic brown sugar (66 g)
- 1/3 cup demerara (turbinado) sugar (66 g)
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp flax seed meal
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat or AP flour (56 g)
- 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (56 g)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate, chopped (4 oz)
- flake salt, for sprinkling
Make the Cookies
- Make the flax egg: combine the flax seed meal and water in a small cup, stir together and seat aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the melted and cooled coconut oil, tahini, sugars and vanilla until combined.
- Add the flour, almond meal, baking soda and salt to the bowl, mixing just until combined. Add the flax egg and continue mixing until the dough is no longer crumbly.
- Fold in all of the chopped dark chocolate. Scoop out the cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Chill the cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the cookies are chilling, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- After the cookies are done chilling, place the sheet pan in your 350°F (180°C) oven and set a timer for 12 minutes. When the timer reaches the 2 minute mark, open the oven and pick up and drop the sheet pan on the oven rack so the cookies de-puff and the chocolate spreads slightly. Close the oven door. Do this every 30 seconds for the last of the two minute bake time (4 times in total). Remove the cookies from the oven and lightly sprinkle with flake salt. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the pan before serving.