Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip & Candied Ginger Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies have been a favorite of mine since my mom would made the recipe off the back of the chocolate chip package.  Also, I love how easy and non-fussy drop cookies are.  You don't have to worry about over-mixing like with scones and muffins or under-kneading like with bread.  You just make sure everything is well-smooshed-together, and you're good to go!

Anyway, considering all these factors, I clearly needed to come up with my own dairy and egg free recipe for chocolate chip cookies when I went vegan.

This week, I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies to bring along on my (last ever!) spring break trip to Bend, Oregon.  But -- as I am wont to do in the kitchen -- I couldn't leave well enough alone.  As I pulled the baking soda out of the cupboard, I noticed a jar of just lovely candied ginger.  I thought about a delicious candy bar I had tried recently -- candied ginger in dark chocolate -- and I couldn't help myself: these cookies were born.  They're moist, chewy, and everything a homemade chocolate chip cookie should be-- with the added spicy-sweet bite of candied ginger.

This is what your chopped candied ginger should look like.

Chocolate Chip & Candied Ginger Cookies
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed + 4 Tablespoons water (see note)
3/4 cup Earth Balance (or other non-dairy "butter"), room temperature
1/3 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
3/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup candied ginger, finely chopped (see photo)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a blender or small food processor, whip together the ground flax seed and the water.  Set aside to thicken.  (If you are using whole flax seed, see the note below.)
  3. Using a fork or an electric mixer, cream together the Earth Balance and the sugars in a large bowl until well-combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the vanilla and the flax mixture to the Earth Balance mixture and combine thoroughly.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the Earth Balance mixture and stir with a spatula or an electric mixer to combine well.  This may take a while, especially if you're mixing by hand, but don't be tempted to add liquid-- you'll get there!
  7. Once the dough is well combined, add the chocolate chips and candied ginger, and combine well.
  8. Drop by rounded teaspoons-full onto the greased cookie sheets.  (You can do bigger balls of dough, but I love the little two-inch cookies small balls of dough make.)
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Cookies are done with they start to turn golden.  Remove from oven, let sit on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to cool on a wire rack.
Note:  Flax seed acts as an egg replacer in these cookies.  If you are using whole flax seeds, grind the seeds first (you can use a blender to do this -- I use a Magic Bullet).  Then, after the seeds are relatively well broken up, add the water and whip.  Also, it is essential that you set the flax and water mixture aside before you use it.  It needs at least 3 or 4 minutes to congeal into an egg-like blob.

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