the chocolate-chip cookies that launched a bakery
Fun fact: I am a professional copy editor but spent a year running a tiny vegan bakery. It was so tiny that it did not actually exist, except on a table in a store in Massapequa and in the boxes I drove around Long Island and delivered myself to people's homes. One day in 2010, I started baking and wouldn't stop. This compulsion survived my transition to veganism in 2011, and only got more intense as I realized not using animal products would allow me to experiment more and go deeper into the science of baking. As a person obsessed with things that are both the most delicious and the most ethical, I used coconut fat exclusively, fair-trade chocolate and sugar, and local flour.
Anyway, the reason it got way out of hand and became a business was that these cookies are perhaps the best cookies. They're moist and chewy and crisp on the edges. Because they use dark brown sugar, there's a delectable molasses tinge. When I made them to sell, I would spend hours chopping up chocolate because I like how chocolate chunks distribute through the dough better than chips, but for normal purposes, chips are fine. What you can't skip over is the very simple making of coconut butter that mimics dairy butter by blending up both coconut oil and coconut milk. (You want to use refined oil so that it has no flavor.) It's what makes the cookie as rich as a non-vegan one.
The yield depends on the size of the cookies, but you should get around 15 big ones or 40 smaller ones.
394 g flour
24 g baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
24 g arrowroot starch or cornstarch
226 g butter (57 g coconut milk + 170 g refined coconut oil), cold and divided in half
200 g dark brown sugar
166 g sugar
102 g almond milk (unsweetened and unflavored)
283 g chocolate chips or chunks
sea salt for sprinkling
1. Make the butter by putting the coconut milk and coconut oil in a food processer and blending until smooth. Chill it in the fridge until it's solid but scoopable (like butter!), about an hour.
2. Get yo mise in order: Place half the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Measure the sugars into a bowl and add the other half of the butter to it. Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine (sifting is a myth). Measure your chocolate into another bowl.
3. Paddle the first half of the butter until smooth, then add the sugars and second half of the butter. Paddle until well combined and there are no white chunks left.
4. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, pulsing the mixer while you add the dry so that it combines well without creating a cloud of flour in your face. When they're all in there, it should look like recognizable cookie dough!
5. Fold in the chocolate either using the mixer on low or using a rubber spatula.
6. Put the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour.
7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment. Measure out your cookie balls, using either 2 tablespoons per for smaller cookies or 1/3 cup for big ones. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, if you like. Space them out well on your baking sheets so you don't get ugly monster cookies.
8. For small cookies, bake for 6 minutes and then rotate the sheet in the oven; bake for another 6 minutes. For big cookies, bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the sheet in the oven; bake for another 8 minutes. Take them out, put them on your cooling rack, and enjoy when they stop being so hot they'll burn your mouth! COOKIES!!!