Vegan S’mores Cookies
Gluten-free, refined sugar-free
Oh those summer days. I feel like some of my favorite memories from childhood come from those long summer days. Running along the beach, riding bikes to the ice cream store, kayaking around the harbor and into the little ponds and lakes. And of course, bonfires at night with s’mores.
The one time that I went to summer camp (I was not a camp person at all), the one thing that I remember was making s’mores around the campfire and eating far too many. I also was a graham cracker fanatic as a kid (and as an adult) so it was a bonus that s’mores included those.
Of course, as I grew up and, you know, became an adult, whatever that means, I did not really do too many more bonfires and making s’mores on an electric stove is not exactly easy. But the s’more is the ultimate nostalgic summer treat for me.
Clearly, I had to find a way to translate all that goodness into a cookie so I could feel like a kid around a campfire again.
Finding the flours
While I do use gluten-free flour mixes and love them, they do not really impart much flavor to the baked goods you put them in. I wanted a little bit more flavor in the dough for these cookies so I used two of my favorite flours (with some tapioca flour to act as a binder): oat and sorghum flours.
I love oat flour. But I also just love oatmeal so that might be why. But oat flour can give you a little bit of the whole wheat flavor. Sorghum flour has a pretty mild flavor, but does have some natural sweetness and works very well as a wheat substitute in denser baked good, which in cookies I don’t mind.
If you don’t have sorghum flour (I find it in my local Whole Foods), you can use all oat flour. I have not tested any other flours, so if you try any other ones, let me know how they turn out!
The bonfire lends a great flavor to those otherwise monotone marshmallows, so finding the right sugars was an important part of these cookies. You want sugars that have a deeper flavor, roaster? Maple syrup is great for that, but I did not want that added moisture. Maple sugar was the one that worked. You get all that flavor (and maybe more) without the moisture.
Sucanat is a recent favorite for me. It is basically cane sugar juice that is agitated until it forms granules. It is far less processed than even cane sugar and, in my opinion, a far better flavor. It is very similar to coconut sugar in flavor.
I found these two sugars in my local Whole Foods, but if you can’t find them, you can use 3/4 cup coconut sugar. You can use light brown sugar; I have not tested it, so I don’t know how it would bake.
Espresso and spice
And everything nice. Espresso and spice are really just nice no matter what you are making, but in these s’mores cookies they help to mimic that graham flavor. I have tried many a gluten-free and vegan graham cracker and they never really taste the same as those wonderful graham crackers I grew up eating. Most graham cracker recipes call for cinnamon, so adding it here made sense. The espresso just helps to deepen the flavor of the warm cinnamon, but also to provide that more richer, sort of hearty flavor you can get from some wheat flours (also in most graham crackers).
1/2 cup gluten-free sorghum flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup mini vegan marshmallows (I used Dandie’s marshmallows)
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup sucanat
1/2 cup mild oil (I used walnut oil, but avocado oil is great too)
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt. Add the marshmallows and chocolate, tossing to coat each with the flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugars, hot water and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Set aside the mixture and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, fold together until combined and all those marshmallows and chocolate are evenly distributed. Cover and chill in the fridge for 3 hours; do not skip this step! It is a must. Ideally chill it overnight, but minimum of 3 hours chill time.
After the dough chill time, pull out the dough, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.
Using a 1.5 tbsp cookie scoop or a couple of spoons, scoop dough onto the baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each dough mound.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Always err on the side of under baking.
Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. These are best when warm and those marshmallows and chocolate are still all ooey-gooey. Store in a covered container at room temperature for a week.