The only chocolate cookie you need
I have said it many times, but I have a serious chocolate addiction. Ever since my brother started making dark chocolate, I only like to have that rich dark chocolate flavor (no more milk chocolate except with in a Reese’s Peanut Butter cups because we all have our vices).
Now, when you think of dark chocolate, you think of brownies right? But these cookies will make you rethink that. The base dough is made with plenty of rich, dark cocoa powder and studded with big chunks of soft, melted dark chocolate. Yeah, there is nothing better.
Now, before you delve into cookie heaven, let’s talk about a few key ingredients that make this cookie oh so good.
The Darker the cocoa, the better.
Since this cookie hinges on the chocolate base, the better the cocoa powder you use, the better flavor you will get.
There are a lot of cocoa powders out there and the question always is to Dutch or not to Dutch? By Dutch I am referring to Dutch-process. Cocoa powder has had the acidity removed from it, making it a neutral compound (yes, high school chemistry will help you later in life apparently). But this process also gives you a smoother chocolate flavor, nothing too bitter or assertive, just all luscious chocolate.
My favorite brand of Dutch-process cocoa is Droste, which you can find in Whole Foods or online. If you can’t find that, then just get the darkest cocoa powder you can. If you want to go super dark, try black onyx cocoa powder. This cocoa powder has been “super dutch processed” so the flavor is incredibly mild and smooth, but the color is a uber dark color.
Powdered Milk, say what?
I have mentioned this a lot, but powdered milks are a great thing to keep in your pantry to really amp up your cookies. Just because you are baking vegan, does not mean that you have to skip this little scoop of loveliness. Powdered coconut milk works just as well to provide a little extra moisture, added chew and just a hint of coconut flavor that only helps to enhance or round out that chocolate flavor.
Coffee and chocolate are made for each other. They just make each other sing. So, yes, there is coffee in these cookies, but you are not going to taste it. I like to use brewed coffee instead of just plain water or almond milk because why not? And the instant espresso powder in this recipe helps more to really enhance the nutty flavor of the cocoa powder. Sure, the caffeine is an added boost.
If you don’t want the caffeine, you are find a decaf coffee instant espresso power or use a very finely ground decaf coffee. Or you can omit both if you are not a coffee person (through promise that they do not taste like coffee).
Alright, it is time for the best cookies ever.
3/4 cup gluten-free measure-for-measure flour (Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to)
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp powdered coconut milk
1 tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Overflowing cup dark chocolate chunks (I use Taza Chocolate Baking pieces)
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted (Melt Organic is my favorite)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
1/4 tsp gluten-free almond extract
1/4 cup warm brewed coffee
In a medium bowl, sift the cocoa power, flour, powdered coconut milk, flax meal, baking powder and salt. Make sure any lumps of cocoa powder are gone (they’re impossible to get out later). Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine melted vegan butter and coconut sugar, whisking vigorously to combine the two. Whisk in the brewed coffee, almond and vanilla extracts until smooth.
Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined and then add the chocolate chunks. Once mixed in, cover the dough and chill for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight.
Remove the dough from the fridge after the chill period and preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a 2tbsp cookie scoop (or whatever you have), scoop cooking dough onto backing sheet, leaving 2 inches between each. Top each with flaky sea salt.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, erring on the side of under baking. Let cool for 15 minutes before digging into that chewy, gooey cookie.
Keep in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze in an airtight container.
Tip: Freeze dough for a rainy/sunny/whatever day. Scoop dough onto a baking sheet, freeze for 24 hours, place in a resealable freezer bag and keep in the freezer for 1 month. Cookies anytime or just eat the dough!