Wednesday, December 6, 2017

(Almost) Ovenly's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Almost) Ovenly's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies are a vegan classic turned up to 11. Chips and chunks of chocolate bring the goods, while kosher salt in the dough and on top push the sweet-savoury limit.

(Almost) Ovenly's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most people would say they can't think of anyone who would turn down a chocolate chip cookie. It's true - the basic formula of butter, brown sugar an a heft dose of chocolate is enough to whet the appetite, even more so when the batter is ever so slightly on the salty side. I, on the other hand, seem to be surrounded by anti-chocolate chippers these days, and what's more surprising to me is that a portion of them are kids!

Well, I can't change the minds and palates of those who refuse to embrace the chewy, moist perfection that is a perfect chocolate chip cookie, but I can make a batch that tastes and feels just as good as the melted butter / egg yolk version I love while being completely vegan and low in saturated fat. While kids don't necessarily care about the sugar, flour and fat in a cookie (and really, it's a cookie), adults can have a more refined palate for things like that. Using Ovenly's recipe as a jumping-off point, I used spelt flour and bittersweet chocolate along with crunchy salt flakes, each layer adding to the sophistication of the cookies. You'll notice a few chilling times in the method too - these are not the wham-bam-thank you ma'am cookies from the back of the chocolate chips bag, but (to quote Alton Brown) your patience will be rewarded. Not only does the rest time allow the whole grain flour to hydrate, but the more solid dough prevents chocolate sinkage when it comes to bake time and the brown sugar lends a deep caramel note to the whole batch. The brief freeze immediately pre-baking is also paramount for the cookie's final shape - baking the dough from room temperature would cause way too much spread on the tray, since even cold they flatten a good bit.

Now as for the taste, it is definitely a connoiseur's cookie. Does it taste like the butter and egg laden ones, or the giant bakery creations, or even the classic Toll House recipe? Well, no. But they are delicious nonetheless, chewy and with that bittersweet / salty contrast that makes chocolate chip cookies just so addictive. Everyone who likes a chocolate chip cookie will like these, but those with a penchant for dark chocolate will love them. As a bonus, without the eggs and dairy to contend with it's relatively safe to put them out on a holiday dessert table, even if you left the label at home. You can even taste test the batter... you know, for quality control.

(Almost) Ovenly's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~28 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
pinch nutmeg
¾ tsp Kosher salt
¾ cup miniature chocolate chips (love Callebaut in cookies like this, soy allergies use Enjoy Life for both chips and chunks)
½ cup chopped dark chocolate or bittersweet chunks
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup or honey
1 tbsp vanilla
½ cup canola oil
⅓ cup water
Coarse-grained or flaked sea salt, for garnish  (I used Kosher but prefer coarse grey salt when I have it)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add the chocolate to the flour mixture, and toss to coat.
  2. In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugars and corn syrup with the canola oil and water until smooth and incorporated, about two minutes (Note: an immersion blender is AWESOME for this).
  3. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or a sturdy silicone spatula until just combined and no flour is visible. Do not overmix.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 24 hours. Do not skip this step.
  5. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  6. Scoop cold dough into tablespoon-sized balls (I used a disher) and place them on the pan 1” apart. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
  7. Place the pan in the freezer at least 15 minutes.
  8. Heat the oven to 350⁰F.
  9. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Do not overbake.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 134.2
Total Fat: 6.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 128.1 mg
Total Carbs: 20.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 1.6 g