17 December 2013

Vegan Viands #15: Candy Cane Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My grades are in, which means the semester is officially over for me! While I still have work I need to do (such a preparing for next semester, committee work, and paper revisions), having this unstructured time is lovely. I will get to all of the things I need to do, but I'll also intersperse fun things, like cooking up a storm, reading for pleasure, and holiday gatherings. Just last night we went to a lovely dinner with friends where we ate and laughed and trimmed a tree.

My food task for last night's gathering was to bring dessert. One of the hosts specifically requested my cinnamon cake (and apparently giggled with glee when I agreed to make it). I also decided to remake these candy cane chocolate chunk cookies that I'd made a few nights ago, because I wanted to experiment with ratios in the recipe. This attempt led to cookies that were exactly what I wanted them to be. When making them a few nights ago, the cookies were amazingly soft and delicious, but weren't quite right. They were flat and there was an unbalanced ratio of cookie additions to cookie dough. Shana reminded me that this was exactly how the cookies turned out every year (and that I responded in the same partially dissatisfied manner every year), but this year I was determined to make them into the cookies I envisioned. Success!

These cookies are perfect for holiday gatherings and for using up all those candy canes! The subtle mintiness in the soft dough, the toffee-like texture of the cooked candy canes, and the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate chunks are such an amazing combination. This recipe is originally one I found while perusing the recipes of the Vegan Chef. Although this recipe isn't listed on her website any longer, here it is.

Candy Cane Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) Earth Balance margarine
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 1/2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder
3 T. water
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 peppermint candy canes, crushed
150 g. dark chocolate candy bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 375.
1. Cream together the margarine and sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract and cream again.
2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the egg replacer powder and water, shaking until well-combined and frothy. Add to the mixing bowl and cream again. This creates a very light and soft mixture.

3. Add the salt and baking soda to the mixture, stirring a couple of times.
4. Add the flour, little by little, until it is all well-mixed into the dough.
5. Fold the crushed candy canes and chocolate chunks into the dough by hand.
6. Make golf-ball sized chunks of dough and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the barest suggestion of browning on the top of the cookies (see Helpful Hints). Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Helpful Hints
  • Crushing the candy canes is best done using two(!) quart-sized freezer bags and a rolling pin. It makes a lot of noise, but it's so worth it. 
  • I used 1 1/2, 100 gram dark chocolate candy bars. This was the right amount of chocolate for me, but you could add a bit more or a bit less, or even use chocolate chips if you can't find a vegan dark chocolate bar. In the past, I've also used Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint candy bars. My chunks of chocolate are sizeable (I think I have average-sized hands for an adult female). 
  • When I make cookies, I use a silicone baking mat to ensure that nothing sticks. If you do not have one of those, you may want to lightly grease your cookie trays when making these cookies, even if they are non-stick. The melted candy canes are really sticky. 
  • Keep in mind that the ratio of egg replacer powder to water in this recipe is NOT what is indicated on the box. 
The post "Vegan Viands #15: Candy Cane Chocolate Chunk Cookies" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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