Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie: Redux
Vegan, grain/gluten-free, refined sugar-free
If there is one cookie that has haunted and delighted me the most, it has to be the basic, classic chocolate chip cookie.
I cannot tell you how many different recipes I have tried, tested, re-tested and I am still testing to try to make the ultimate one. When you are dealing with basic baking ingredients (butter, flour, sugar, etc), it is slightly more predictable how a dough with react depending on what part of the recipe you change. HOWEVER, if you are taking out the gluten, the butter and cane sugar, things get oh so much less predictable.
Both my parents are doctors (this story has a point); they both think in a somewhat mathematical way. Things are equations and can be solved even in there are variables. I am not much a mathematical person, but I do tend to have the obsessive drive to understand, down to each variable, how things work. Baking is no exception. I have a textbook that is all about the science of baking (it is chemistry after all) to help understand how certain types of fats, for example, will change the texture of the dough.
While you are certainly do things in a less clinical way, I am a bit more regimented in my kitchen experiments. As I am recovering from surgery, I have taken to pouring over my old recipes and thinking about how I can make them better. One such recipe I got stuck on was my paleo chocolate chunk cookies.
I still love the ones that I made almost a year ago, but I am never fully satisfied with most of my recipes (they are all still amazing; I am just a very self-critical person; I am working on it). When I bought the new Hu Kitchen paleo chocolate gems, I figured it was time to do a little re-jigger.
What did I change?
Almond butter: In my old recipe, I used 3oz of almond butter. In this recipe, I upped the almond butter to 7oz (about 1.5 cups). What does this do? Well, it gives the dough more fat, thus more moisture. More moisture means that you get a softer cookie. We all want soft cookies.
Date syrup AND coconut sugar: while coconut sugar on its own is delicious, my goal with this re-jig was the create a much softer cookie. In order to do that I swapped part of the coconut sugar for date syrup. Date syrup will give the needed moisture, dark amber color to the dough and sweetness. I would not use just date syrup; that would be too much moisture. So using both date syrup and coconut sugar, you get the best of both worlds.
Coconut flour: In my old recipe, I used tapioca flour along with the almond flour. To be honest, that is what I usually use with almond flour to act as a binder. Is there anything wrong with tapioca flour? No. It can be a little too absorptive, possibly making a drier cookie, but it is all about the ratio you use. Coconut flour is a great binder in baking, but also can lend more flavor to your dough than tapioca would. That might not always be what you want, but in this instance. It is exactly what I wanted.
But make it vegan: I waffle back and forth on which I like more: the vegan or not vegan version of these cookies. I do love to make vegan cookies because you can just omit the leavening and you have edible cookie dough. Another upside to using a flax egg instead of a chicken egg is that the resulting cookie has a chewier texture. At times, chicken eggs (depending on how many eggs and how much you mix) create a more cake-like cookie. I like the chewier cookie, so vegan, flax egg it is.
7oz almond butter
2oz coconut oil
1oz (scant 1/4 cup) date syrup
3 oz (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
3oz (1/2 cup) warm water
1 cup + 2tbsp (4oz) almond flour
1/3 cup (1oz) coconut flour
2 tbsp (1/2oz) flax meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5oz (1 1/2 cups) paleo chocolate chunks (Hu Kitchen Gems are A+)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal, baking powder and salt. Add the chocolate chunks and toss into the flour mixture.
In a large bowl over a zeroed kitchen scale, measure out the almond butter and coconut oil. Heat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, just to melt the coconut oil. Place back on zeroed kitchen scale, add the date syrup, coconut sugar and warm water; whisk until smooth.
Using a spatula, fold the flour-chocolate-chunk mixture into the almond butter mixture until all combined. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Using a large cookie scoop (or two spoon), scoop dough onto making sheet. Before baking, gently press each dough ball down slightly with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; always err on the side of under baking.