Last week I tried a chocolate chip cookie recipe that used oil instead of butter. The batter was a little gummy and bland, and the finished cookies were just ok - not terrible, but a bit pale and devoid of flavor. "Hmm, they seem to be missing something...butter, maybe?" my husband teased.
If I'm going to waste calories on something as frivolous as a cookie, it had better be worth it. Determined to enjoy rich, chewy, fresh-baked cookies, I decided to address the three main issues: gummy texture, bland flavor, and pale color.
Flavor seemed the easiest to remedy. First, I added a generous amount of almond meal to provide rich nuttiness. I also increased the vanilla and used applesauce to replace part of the butter. For the rest of the butter substitute, I used a home-made "margarine" of coconut oil and olive oil, both much richer in flavor than the vegetable oil in my original recipe. This margarine is whipped to incorporate air, which did wonders for the texture. Finally, I increased the sugar, which helped the cookies brown, made them more tender, and also improved the flavor.
So here they are, my tender, flavorful, totally-worth-eating dairy-free chocolate chip cookies.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup home-made "margarine" (see below)
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips
For the margarine: Combine 1/2 cup room temperature coconut oil and 1/4 cup light olive oil in a small metal bowl. Place this bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until light and creamy. This will make more than you need for the cookies. Keep refrigerated, as it melts quickly.
For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Combine flour, almond meal, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place 1/2 cup chilled margarine and both sugars in large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add applesauce, eggs, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Place rounded tablespoons of dough on cookie sheets, spacing them 2" apart. Bake 9-11 minutes, until light golden (they will not get quite as dark as cookies made with butter; do not over bake). Cool one minute on sheet, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.