Wednesday, September 11, 2013

VeganMoFo 6: Chocolate Chip Espresso Almond Quinoa Crunch Cookies

I know the name of this cookie is a mouthful.  A tasty mouthful. I've been on a rampage trying out as many simple (yet wholesome and delicious) chocolate chip cookie recipes that I can get my greedy little hands on.  In my fury, I came across a wonderful recipe on the lovely Vegan Housewives blog.  The cookies are aptly called "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!" and they certainly live up to their name. I made a few modifications, but can't take credit for this awesome recipe.  Check out their blog for more vegan deliciousness.  :)

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil (solid)
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
3/4 cup almonds (sliced, chopped, or slivered)
3/4 cup sprouted quinoa (dehydrated; I used Organic Traditions)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, almonds, and quinoa. (try not to over-mix)
  6. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough on the baking sheet.  
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
  8. Transfer cookies to a wire wrack to cool.

The cookies themselves are tender and chewy. The "crunch" part comes from the sprouted quinoa.  I used store-bought sprouted quinoa that was already dehydrated and ready to eat as is.  You can make homemade sprouted quinoa by following the instructions here and using a food dehydrator if you have one.  Sprouting grains makes them easier to digest and more nutritious (details here).  The sprouted quinoa definitely brings more bite to these cookies.  You really have to chew on those little quinoa bits!  If crunchy cookies aren't your thing, you can omit the sprouted quinoa.  These cookies will still be delicious.

These cookies aren't super sweet, which I love. I find that coconut palm sugar is not as sweet as brown sugar or evaporated cane juice.  It also adds a hint of caramel to baked goods.  I love it.  It can be pretty pricey, but if you have a Costco membership, you can get a huge 4-lb. bag of Madhava organic coconut palm sugar for $10 vs. a 16-oz. bag for $7 elsewhere. Pretty good deal, I'd say.

The addition of espresso powder does three things:  1) it gives the cookies a nice coffee/mocha flavor; 2) it enhances the flavor of the chocolate; and 3) it balances out the coconut oil taste that I've found to be sometimes overwhelming in baked goods (that aren't meant to taste like coconut). I usually add a teaspoon of espresso powder to all my chocolate baked goods.  In cakes or brownies, the espresso flavor isn't noticeable at all.  But in these cookies, I definitely tasted it, which was my goal.  :)

And just because I love this little bowl so much, I had to take this photo:

These cookies are quick and easy to make.  I made them this morning before getting ready for work.  Some might call that procrasti-baking.  And they would be correct.  :)