Chocolate Chip Cookies!

12 Oct

People ask me all the time if being vegan is hard and if I miss any of my old favorites. There are a few things I miss, but not many. Barbecued ribs would be one…tiramisu…feta cheese…Parmesan cheese…pepperoni…and my dad’s chicken sausage. Really good vegan versions of those items just don’t exist.

The hardest part of this diet is eating out. Most restaurants offer a vegetarian entree, but they’re usually loaded with cheese, which I don’t eat. Cooking plant-based foods at home is a breeze. Meat? I just go without. Or, sometimes I’ll substitute a meat-free version of whatever meat my family is eating, such as a veggie burger or meatless “chicken.” There are fantastic choices available for dairy-free milk, butter and ice cream, and some acceptable choices for dairy-free cheese. Eggs are a tough one to substitute, although I have recently added the occasional egg back into my diet, based on new research that it may be beneficial to my blood pressure. (I guess that doesn’t make me 100% vegan anymore.)

One thing I refuse to live without it sweets! Though I very rarely bake, I do have a sweet tooth. I usually try to satisfy it with something chocolate. Vegan chocolate chips are easy to find, but I haven’t gone that route yet. My mom (the chef) gets really high-quality chocolate chips and although they contain a small amount of dairy, I think the antioxidants I’m getting from them is important, so that’s what I have on hand.

To show how easy it is to turn a favorite recipe into a vegan version, I decided to whip up a batch of Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies — but with vegan substitutions and some whole wheat flour. The original recipe calls for one cup of butter. I substituted half vegan butter and half canola oil because canola oil is less expensive.

Delicious, chewy, and a little bit better for you — plus they will put a big smile on some faces in your household!


Nestle Tollhouse Cookies – Veganized

makes about 4 dozen

2-1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (instead of white flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (Earth Balance instead of regular butter)
1/2 cup canola oil (instead of regular butter)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of 2 eggs)
2 cups vegan chocolate chips (instead of Nestle Tollhouse Morsels)
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Add applesauce and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

Note: Regular grocery store sugar is technically vegan, but many vegans do not use it because of the way it is processed. During the final purification process, cane sugar is filtered through activated carbon (charcoal) which may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin. About 50% of the cane refineries in the U.S. use bone char (charcoal made from animal bones) as their activated carbon source. Because one cannot tell what processing method a specific bag of sugar went through, many vegans don’t buy it for ethical reasons. If you wish to substitute, try pure cane sugar or raw cane sugar purchased from your local health food store. I just use regular grocery store sugar.

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