The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

My laptop is down, so I’m posting from my phone because you need this cookie recipe. It’s a cookie recipe my from my sister Holly (she makes the best cookies!) I’ve been veganizing it for several years now, but yesterday I had a breakthrough discovery.image

If you’ve been hiding under a rock you may not know that “magic chickpea brine” has taken the vegan world by storm. People are making meringues, pavlovas, macarons, marshmallow fluffvegan lucky charms marshmallows, sponge cake and even angel food cake with the stuff. I was curious about what else the liquid from a can of chickpeas might do and wondered if it might make a successful egg replacer. I hope you’ll you’ll be pleased to know it successfully replaces egg in a traditional cookie recipe. In fact, it’s the best egg replacer I’ve ever used! it binds, it leavens and it provides that chewiness that I’ve missed in vegan cookies.

Previously I always used ground flax or cornstarch. A neighbor of mine is allergic to flax and cornstarch seems to make a drier more crumbly cookie. I’ve probably tried every egg replacer you can think of and this idea has performed the very best of all. You simply use 3 tablespoons of chickpea brine per egg you need to replace. I’m going to venture out on a limb and say this will easily work for cakes or any other baked good that doesn’t use more than a couple of eggs. These are literally perfect!

Recipe for The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted and veganized from my sister’s recipe)

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter at room temperature (earth balance buttery sticks or homemade: Bryanna Clark Grogan, Miyoko Schinner and veganbaking.com have good recipes for homemade vegan butter)
  • 1/2 cup packed organic brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic unrefined granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons chickpea brine (from a can of chickpeas, or the liquid from any other can of white beans)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic all purpose unbleached flour (or GF all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I like 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, (or in your stand mixer) Cream the butter and the sugars with an electric beater. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and chickpea brine. Beat to combine.

Add the flour and beat until well mixed. If the cookie dough seems too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour and mix till combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet, I use this medium sized cookie scoop. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool for several minutes more. Store in an airtight container for up to five days. Makes about 24 cookies.

Notes and troubleshooting: you can also use the liquid from home cooked chickpeas or any other white bean. The key is having a viscous liquid. Think raw egg consistency.

When measuring flour, I use the scoop and level method. Spooning flour into a cup spoon by spoon and then leveling it will make cookies that are too thin and flat.

Be sure to use proper vegan butter and not buttery spread or coconut oil as a substitute. Vegan butter spread has a higher water content and coconut oil needs modifications to work in this recipe.

When the Stars Align! Kittee Bern’s Teff Love! Review (Gush Fest) and Giveaway!

platter 2Platter of Yum: with homemade 100% teff injera, spicy red lentil wot, mild yellow split peas in a creamy sauce, Ethiopian inspired Mac and Cheesie, Tangy lentil Salad and a tasty green salad with Italian Salad dressing.

Luckily for me, I’ve been stalking Kittee Berns of Cake Maker to the Stars for quite some time now. The infatuation/hero worship began when I first ran across her crazy awesome blog, and then found out she’s been vegan for 23+ years. Kittee is incredibly talented inside and outside the kitchen! She’s forever cooking/crafting/knitting/sewing all of the most fantastic things! A dear friendship has developed out of that stalkerhood and sometime in the last year I became an unofficial recipe tester for Kittee’s debut cookbook, Teff Love. During that time period, I’ve developed a serious hunk of burning love for all foods Ethiopian and sprinkled with berbere.

hummus and teff crepesEthiopian spiced hummus with toasted sunflower seed butter base, quick teff crepes and a bit of greens with Italian dressing on the side.

As you know, I LOVE food. So it’s no surprise that I adore pretty much every ethnic food I’ve ever tasted, and it turns out that despite never visiting an Ethiopian restaurant (0r Ethiopia, obviously), Ethiopian food is my new favorite cuisine. The recipes in Teff Love are straightforward, well explained and mouth-wateringly delicious. Most of the ingredients required to make these recipes are simple whole foods you can purchase at any grocery store and the book is almost entirely gluten-free. However, like any different genre of food, there are a few specialty ingredients/spices that you need in order to make the recipes in the book, these ingredients can be purchased at an Ethiopian Market/Grocer or easily online. Buyer beware: make sure to purchase imported berbere for these recipes! It packs some heat, but it’s a very delicious and complex spice mix, while berbere that’s produced stateside is mostly cayenne pepper and is EXTREMELY spicy.

pudlaEthiopian spiced chickpea pancake.

shehan ful (2)Shehan Ful, these are some of the best beans I’ve ever eaten, and guess what?!? You eat them for breakfast! Though I’ve made them for lunch and dinner plenty of times too!

If you’re like me and just wading into Ethiopian food bliss for the first time, Kittee has plenty of fusion recipes for you to dabble with that are all ready familiar and comforting to your palate like: brownies, crispy potato wedges, tofu scramble, vegan mac and cheese, pancakes and more.

browniesOutrageous Fudgy Mocha Teff Brownies! Look at the amazing crinkle top!

JojoCrispy Garlicky JoJo Potatoes Deliciousness

sourdough pancakesBlueberry Sourdough Pancakes, plus some banana ones for good measure

Tempeh SaladEthiopian spiced Mac and Cheesie and an Insanely good Tempeh Salad loaded with Apples.

tofu scrambleTofu Scramble tastiness

When you’re ready to take it to the next level and start making real Ethiopian food, Kittee holds your hand throughout the book and teaches you everything you need to know. The book includes menu plans, instructions for how to make your own 100% teff injera and even advice for putting together your own Ethiopian food shindig.

My favorite thing in the universe right now is Kittee’s injera. The injera is a fermented sourdough type crepe and serves as a base for all of the delicious recipes that top its surface. Its texture is slightly spongy and stretchy and it absorbs the flavors from the foods that sit on top of it and makes for a gorgeous flavor explosion. I cooked my injera on a well seasoned cast iron skillet and it turned out perfectly. You can watch a short video of Kittee making injera and get more injera skills info here.

Somer and Kittee

I found out Kittee was going to be in my neck of the woods and I invited her over for lunch. I made her and her bubs (Dazee and Vee) an Ethiopian feast with some of the recipes in the book. I love that although this was the first time we’d “actually met” it just felt like old friends getting together. Our two hours weren’t nearly long enough!

platter 1  SO MUCH GOOD FOOD! 

We gobbled up our feast and I still had plenty of yummy leftovers to serve my family for dinner that night. I’ve all ready got another batch of injera fermenting!

teff love

Visit Kittee Berns at her blog: Cake Maker to the Stars.

Read more about Kittee’s love affair with Ethiopian food here.

Purchase your own copy of Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking!

Or, for a chance to win a copy of Teff Love, simply leave a comment on this post below. The winner will be chosen at random on March 11th! U.S. Residents only please! Good luck! <3

Umbrian Lentil Salad from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson, Plus Review and Giveaway!

Vegan Without Borders

Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders! Oh my goodness I love this book so much, It’s a beautiful and hefty hardcover cookbook with recipes from all around the world. The photography inside is pretty enough that you could use it as a coffee table book, but I suspect instead it will become one of your most well thumbed and worn cookbooks, thank goodness it’s designed to stand up to the rigors of any kitchen enviroment!

Coconut Spinach and Lentil DalCoconut Spinach and Lentil Dal, page 177

This fragrant and delicious dal was the very first thing I made out of the cookbook. It’s one I’ve made several times since it is quick to prepare and super comforting for cold winter days.

Kung Pao SeitanKung Pao Seitan, page 194

I made this dish one Sunday dinner for several non-vegan guests. The original recipe uses eggplant and a variety of other colorful vegetables, which of course I adore, but not wanting to scare away my guests (not veg centric…) I kept this dish simple and used broccoli as the star. My dinner guests had never tasted seitan and were blown away by its delicious meaty texture. The sauce was perfect and even though I made a double recipe, we didn’t have any leftovers.

Soda Bread SconesSoda Bread Scones, page 76

I’d never made soda bread before and was intrigued by these scones. The dough isn’t sweet, but is dotted with raisins for a nice flavor burst. These would make for a perfect pairing with a warm cup of herbal tea.

FarinataFarinata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives, pages 4-5

Lets just say that even though this dish is supposed to serve six, I kept snacking on bits of it throughout the day I made it. I ended up eating nearly the whole thing by myself. It’s that good.

Butternut Mac and CheeseButternut Mac and Cheese, pages 90-91

This American classic gets healthy with this no-oil-no-butter version of the family favorite. Don’t worry, it’s still every bit as rich, creamy and delicious as the original while allowing you to go back for second helpings without any guilt.

Umbrian Lentil Salad1Umbrian Lentil Salad, page 9

Now for one of my very favorite recipes I tested from Vegan Without Borders. This salad is so incredible. Make it during your Holiday preparations (or any time) as a light and refreshing main dish or as a beautifully presented side dish. Robin’s recipe calls for arugula, which I couldn’t get locally, so I put the salad in red cabbage leaves. I think that’s the second best choice.

Umbrian Lentil Salad3

Umbrian Lentil Salad

This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson © 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing. Used with permission.

This hearty salad is inspired by a similar dish that I enjoyed for lunch at a small café in Assisi in the Umbrian region of Italy where lentils are quite popular.  The salad was served to me at room temperature with warm crusty Italian bread, and I encourage you to do the same.

2 cups brown lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave nectar
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups chopped arugula
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup toasted walnuts pieces
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil

Cook the lentils in a pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold water, then drain again. While the lentils are cooking, combine the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Stir to combine well. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked, drained lentils with the arugula, onion, walnuts, raisins, capers, and parsley. Pour on the dressing and toss to mix well. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate and serve chilled.

Serves 4

Gluten-free; soy-free

Umbrian Salad2

Visit Robin Robertson at her site Global Vegan Kitchen, here.

Click to purchase Vegan Without Borders.

In order to enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below. Winner will be chosen at random, and an email will be sent to notify them of their prize one week from today. USA residents only.

Virtual Vegan Potluck, Tempeh Lettuce Wraps, a Guest Post from Chef Ian Brandt

tempeh2

So, in the last couple of weeks, I had not one but two recipe snafus while trying to put something together for this year’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.

tempeh1

First I made a tofu piccata. It was delicious. I photographed it and got it all set up and ready to pre-schedule the post. Then later that night I was flipping through a cookbook I own and saw a tempeh piccata that was nearly the exact recipe. Not wanting anyone to think I plagiarized a recipe, I decided not to post it.

tempeh3

Then I made a second recipe, this time a lentil, olive and thyme hummus. Conceptually it was brilliant. The execution not so much. If you’ve ever tried to blend lentils as smooth as garbanzos, you may find out instead of getting deliciously creamy, they turn into lentil glue. Blast.

sages cafe edit

Thank goodness I had backup! Several weeks ago Chef Ian Brandt and I had met up and discussed him sharing guest post recipes on my blog from time to time. So I called in a favor and Ian pulled through with this fantastic appetizer! A huge thanks to Ian for saving my vegan bacon.

tempeh6

As you can see, this dish is exquisite, but probably leaves me out of the running for any potluck awards! I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway!

tempeh7

Chef Ian Brandt

Executive Chef, Owner:  Sage’s CaféVertical DinerCafé SuperNaturalCali’s Natural Foods. All downtown Salt Lake City, Utah locations.

All photos by Somer McCowan of Vedged Out

Lettuce Wraps with Tempeh

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 brick diced tempeh
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup, diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced celery
  •  1 head romaine lettuce
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno chili, minced and deseeded
  • 1 thumb minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a few sprigs cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling / garnish

What You Do:

  1. In a sauté pan on medium temperature
  2. Put into the pan the oil, tempeh, onions, carrot, celery, garlic, jalapeno and ginger. Saute ingredients till dark brown.
  3. Add tamari and maple syrup
  4. Cut down lettuce into leaves used to wrap the ingredients
  5. Put the reduced filling into a serving bowl and garnish with lime wedges, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro and Enjoy!

Somer’s notes: I made these wraps with radicchio instead of romaine, because, pretty! I made these a second time with tofu instead of tempeh with equally delicious results. My kids ate the tempeh mixture over basmati rice and loved it so much!

tempeh5

A huge heartfelt thanks to Annie at An Unrefined Vegan for creating and organizing this event, and for Poppy and Angela for being her trusty sidekicks along with other helpers. I’ve been privileged enough to help out with the VVP in years past, but life is just a bit too crazy for me to be on the VVP train right now!

Previous Potluck Posts from Vedged Out:

Stay-Calm-Beginning-Red

If you run into any broken links along the way, (some bloggers show up a little late to the party) here’s a list of the bloggers in the potluck to help you get back on track. Pretty cool to see over 86 bloggers from all around the world flaunting their vegan awesome! Use the buttons below to Go Back to visit Veggie Inspired JourneyGo Forward to see what Glue and Glitter brought to the party.

Stay-Calm-Go-Back2 Stay-Calm-Go-Forward2 (1)

Emily Von Euw’s Chocolate Mylk Recipe From 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks! (and a Pre-Release Giveaway!)

Cover Photo

I have a confession to make that I don’t actually own this book, yet! BUT, if it’s anything like Emily’s last book, Rawsome Vegan Baking (review here) I will gaze at it for hours and not be able to put it down. Seriously, her recipes are amazing and her photography is absolutely stunning. So, because I love Emily and her work, I’ve agreed to share a recipe from her book with you here, right before the book is released on the 9th of this month.

Chocolate Mylk

Chocolate Mylk

Chocolate. Mylk. Need i say more?

Makes: 4½ cups (1 L)

Follow the recipe for spiced mylk, adding 1–2 tablespoons (28–56 g) of cacao powder and, if you like, 1 tablespoon (28 g) of maca powder.

Spiced Mylk

  • 1 cup (125 g) raw nuts, seeds or coconut meat
  • 3 cups (237 mL) water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan crystal salt
  • 3–5 pitted dates

Cover the nuts or seeds (if using) in water and let them soak for 6 hours, then rinse and discard the soak water. Blend the soaked nuts, seeds or fresh coconut meat with the all the other ingredients until smooth, frothy and white. Strain through a nut mylk bag or cheesecloth (or leave as is). Store in the fridge in a sealable glass container for up to one week.

Check out these photos of some of the other recipes featured in the book:

Smoothie

 Blueberrylicious Smoothie

Spicy-Avocado-Aviator

Spicy Avocado Aviator

Pink Smoothie

Berry Citrus Blitz

Click to Purchase 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks

Photos and Recipe are courtesy of Emily Von Euw and Page Street Publishing and are used with permission.

In order to enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below. Winner will be chosen at random, and an email will be sent to notify them of their prize one week from today. USA residents only.

My Cookbook, The Abundance Diet, is Available Now on Amazon for Pre-Order!

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that my cookbook title, The Abundance Diet is available for pre-order on Amazon now! The release date is June 2nd 2015! TAD Cover FINAL 11-5-14 (2)

This groundbreaking cookbook is designed as an extension to my hugely popular original Green Smoothie Challenge and is for anyone who wants to take control of their health and weight through whole plant-based foods. The 28-Day Diet Plan includes an (optional) bonus juice feast to kick start your weight loss and health journey. The plan includes over 100 delicious recipes (all gluten-free) and is customizable to suit individual tastes.

The beautiful cover design and photography inside have been done by my dear friend Ann Oliverio of An Unrefined Vegan! Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be showing you some of those photos as well as sharing some of the recipes from the book before its release! I can’t wait to share more with you!

Love,

Somer

Smoked Coconut Gouda (Part Deux) and the #Cheesegate Incident

Cheese

It’s all about the cheese. The most popular posts on my blog are all to do with cheese. Cheese is one of the last things that people who want to go vegan struggle to give up. Often, it’s the food that even die-hard vegans miss the most. Store bought vegan cheese, up until most recently, has mostly been a sad and plasticine substitute.

Until vegan cheese extraordinaires Miyoko Schinner and Skye Michael Conroy entered the cheese scene a couple of years back, most of us didn’t know that vegan cheese could taste any good, or melt, or even pass as not only as an acceptable substitute for dairy cheese, but as an exceptional real vegan cheese that stands up to any dairy counterpart.

Hence, I’ve been developing unique vegan cheese recipes for almost as long as I’ve been blogging.

Smoked Coconut Gouda 2

So, I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when a friend of mine brought to my attention that an Internationally Published Vegan Magazine recently featured my original Smoked Coconut Gouda recipe in a Special Vegan Cheese feature they are running for the Holidays.

What did surprise me though is that this magazine had printed my recipe without my express permission. Their article claimed the recipe was adapted from my site, but the ingredient list was the exact same and the directions were only very carefully reworded, but with the same end result. That doesn’t even come close to what my understanding of what an adaptation is. Also, if you’ll look to the right hand side of my toolbar, you’ll notice that I’ve always had a copyright statement on my site, which should have given the magazine a pretty good clue that they ought to obtain my permission before publishing my recipe.

In the beginning, I was pretty upset about it, as stealing content from my site is not in any way a form of flattery to me. Also, this magazine made a profit off of using my recipe for one of their headlines for which I never saw a penny. I contacted the company to voice my concerns and they told me they “don’t have the time to contact every blogger with a brief mention in their magazine, and that most people they feature are grateful for the free mass publicity they receive.” To me, these kind of ethics, especially within a vegan company who you would expect to have a stronger moral compass stinks. Almost as much as a smelly ripe cheese. If you want to read more about that incident, it all unfolds on my personal and business facebook pages.

Cheese Toasty 1

Anyway, I hadn’t thought about this particular recipe in quite some time and seeing it again in print made me realize that the original cheese recipe didn’t melt as well as I would have liked, that the steps in the recipe were too complicated and that perhaps I was using too many ingredients to achieve the end result.

In other words, the #cheesegate incident caused me to retool the Smoked Coconut Gouda. Lucky you. This new version has just 8 ingredients (excluding water), and comes together in less than 10 minutes flat for hands on time. Also, you’ll be surprised to find that it doesn’t actually taste anything like coconut. So, allow me to introduce:

Smoked Coconut Gouda 1

New and Improved Smoked Coconut Gouda

  • 1 (13.66 ounce) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegemite, Marmite or my friend Kittee’s Vegan & Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Kappa Carrageenan
    (see note below)
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Method: 

In a medium saucepan, add the coconut milk, water, Vegemite, Marmite or Kittee’s Vegan Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, kappa carrageenan, tapioca starch, liquid smoke and sea salt. Whisk together the ingredients until completely smooth.

Heat the saucepan to medium heat on the stove top and cook while whisking constantly for about 7-9 minutes until the mixture has thickened nicely and is very glossy. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan as you stir.

Remove the cheese mixture from the heat and quickly whisk in the apple cider vinegar.

Pour the cheese into a small container that can contain a minimum of 2 cups volume. I like using a round or square glass Tupperware, or my tofu press container.

If properly cooked, the cheese will start to set right away. Allow the cheese to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then put the cheese in the refrigerator to finish setting for 3 to 4 hours.

If the cheese doesn’t set up properly that means you haven’t cooked it long enough, if this happens to you, throw it back into the saucepan and cook for a few minutes more! It’ll re-melt and then you can pour it back into the mold for it to solidify.

Remove the cheese from the mold and use it wherever you would use dairy cheese. This cheese is great for cutting into cubes or slices and snacking with crackers, or grated and melted over a pizza. I especially love it for broiled cheese toasties.

Notes: While this recipe is based on my original Smoked Coconut Gouda and is entirely my own, I plainly confess that I’m standing on the shoulders of vegan cheese giants and have used the cheese making methods that both Miyoko and Skye Micheal (both mentioned above) employ in creating their vegan cheese recipes. For them, I thank them for their vegan cheese genius and for paving a more delicious and melty way for the rest of us.

Kappa carrageenan is a product made from natural seaweed, however, it’s a controversial ingredient for some people. I’ve done my research and have decided that I’m fine using it on occasion. If you do not wish to use this ingredient, you can substitute 2 heaped tablespoons Agar Agar Powder instead of the kappa carrageenan and follow the recipe in exactly the same manner. The cheese should still taste equally delicious, as well as still be able to be sliced, shredded and cubed, but it will not melt nearly as well.

Update: some of my readers have had some difficulty with the cheese setting up properly, this is likely due to the cheese mixture being under cooked, or forgetting to add the vinegar at the end of the recipe (which helps to firm the cheese). I’ve increased the cook time slightly above in hopes that everyone will get good results and a nice firm cheese! If for some reason your cheese doesn’t get nice and firm, don’t fret recook it with the instructions above! Or it can still be used like a spread for grilled cheese sandwiches, on crackers, etc. It will also still melt very nicely.

Farmer's Lunch Feastt

If you make the cheese and love it as much as I do, please respect me and the time I put into creating unique recipes by not sharing the print recipe on your own site, Facebook post or page, but by simply linking back to this post when sharing on social media. For Instagram use the hashtags #VedgedOut and #SmokedCoconutGouda

Love,

Somer & All the Vegan Cheese