Today, we set out on a mission to create the best vegan chocolate chip cookies we could possibly come up with. There are approximately a zillion and one chocolate chip cookie recipes in the world, many with their own unique twist, so this was no easy feat. We knew we would have to do something more than just a plain chocolate chip cookie. It’s been done to death, and trying to improve upon it, especially a vegan version, seems a bit like saying, “I’m going to make the best white bread ever, and with nontraditional ingredients, no less!”
I love chocolate chip cookies with walnuts in them, but it’s not original and I knew we could do better than simply tossing some chopped nuts into the dough. I spent some time thinking about things people don’t normally do with chocolate chip cookies, and realized I’ve never had a chocolate chip cookie that was filled with anything, like the way a doughnut is filled with jelly. I did a bit of research and came across some people who have successfully stuffed their chocolate chip cookies, so I decided to run with that concept. Combining my love of walnuts in cookies, and my desire to make a stuffed cookie, I came up with the idea of turning the walnuts into the filling, hence the walnut-buttercream.
The walnut-buttercream ended up being so delicious I will surely use it for much more than just cookies. I’m already imaging lots of cakes, brownies, and other yummy baked treats slathered in it. I bet I could even come up with a syrupy version that could be drizzled over nice-cream. Mmmm… walnut-buttercream syrup drizzled over nice-cream… Sorry, having a Homer Simpson moment.
The cookies are the soft and chewy style. I think some cookies are good crunchy, and some cookies are good cakey, but the best chocolate chip cookies are always soft and chewy with a little bit of crispiness around the edges.
It took a lot of research and dozens of attempts to get this recipe just right, but it was well worth the effort. Please let us know what you think in the comments, and as always, we hope you enjoy!
Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies with decadent walnut-buttercream baked into the dough.
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup soft vegan margarine
- 1 tsp cashew milk or other dairy-free milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cup AP flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup soft vegan margarine
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flax seeds (for 6 tbsp flax gel)
- 1/2 cup dairy-free mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Chopped walnuts (optional)
- Add toasted walnuts to a food processor and process on high until they turn into butter.
- Combine walnut-butter and vegan margarine in a mixing bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Alternatively, you can use a mixer. Once you've combined the walnut-butter and margarine, continue to whip as you slowly mix in the powdered sugar. Once all the sugar is added, pour in vanilla and milk, and whip thoroughly.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper over a tray. Spoon teaspoon-sized dollops of buttercream onto the tray until it is full. Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour or until the dollops thicken and turn into discs.
- Add 1/2 cup flax seeds and 1 1/2 cups water to a pot (1:3). Bring to a boil and let boil for 10 min or until a thick gel forms. Pour gel over a mesh strainer and drain into a bowl. Use a spatula or spoon to push down on the seeds and move them around to help the gel pass through the strainer faster.
- Add margarine and sugars to a mixing bowl and cream together. Then add vanilla and flax gel, and mix thoroughly.
- Add flour, baking soda, and salt to a separate mixing bowl. Whisk together thoroughly for 1 - 2 minutes.
- Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and gently mix with a rubber spatula or spoon. Start around the edges and lightly stir and fold just until everything is combined. Add chocolate chips and walnuts and gently incorporate them into the dough the same way. Chill in the fridge for 30 - 60 min.
- Heat oven to 350º F.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spoon about 1 tbsp of cookie dough into an ice cream scoop or into your hand. Use your index finger to form a deep well in the center of the dough. Spoon 1 buttercream disc into the well and then cover with more dough.
- Drop dough balls onto the sheet in a 1:2 pattern, leaving plenty of space between them – at least 2 inches. You should be able to fit 6 - 8 per sheet, but probably no more than that. Bake at 350º F for 15 min.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool on the tray for a couple min until they are firm enough to remove with a spatula. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack or plate, and let them cool for at least 10 min.
In the instructional video, I made twice the amount of buttercream because I planned on making extra cookies for my friends and neighbors. If you are only making a single batch, use the amounts listed above in the ingredients, or else you will end up with way too much buttercream.
While I was mixing the dry ingredients in the video, I misspoke and said "1 tsp" baking soda, but it's actually 3/4 tsp. However, the difference between the two amounts would not be very significant. 1/2 - 1 tsp per cup of flour is what you should aim for.
If your baking soda has been sitting in the fridge or pantry for a long time, you should test it to make sure it still works. Add a tsp to some vinegar; if it's still good it will bubble vigorously. If it does not bubble, or only bubbles a tiny bit, then it is no longer good and it will not work.
It's very difficult to strain the flax gel and remove the seeds from it, which is why I made so much. The gel is very thick and has a hard time passing through the holes. To get the most gel through the strainer, it is best to do it while the gel is still piping hot. As it cools, it will get too thick to pass through, and you will lose a good amount of it.
It is important that you use baking soda, NOT baking powder. Baking soda will make the cookies spread out as they cook, baking powder will make them rise like a cake. It is said you should use 1 - 2 tsp of baking powder per 1 cup of flour. Since baking soda is much stronger than baking powder when used by itself, I used half of that ratio, which seemed to work out well. If your cookies are too cake-like or bitter, use less baking soda.
When your cookies first come out of the oven, they will be puffed up a bit, but they will quickly settle as they cool.
Filling the cookies with buttercream took some practice. Don't feel bad if your first few turn out a bit deformed – they will still taste great.
If some of the filling oozes out of your cookies while they are baking, that is okay. It will turn into caramel – delicious! – and the excess can be easily broken off once the cookies have cooled.
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