21.1.12

hipster food styling.
maple oatmeal cookies.
choc chip cookies.
maple oatmeal cookies.

January is not, traditionally, a cookie-eating month. I recognise this. I'm not here to cause trouble, and/or mockingly throw handfuls of chocolate chips like confetti over your undressed salad (except maybe the latter, because now I've created that mental image the idea kind of appeals). The thing is, I go through phases with baking - you noticed the scone thing - and although I vaguely feel like I'm letting the side down, all I want to do recently is make cookies. If they're homemade it's acceptable, right? I'm going to say yes. Besides, I have a deep-seated belief that cookies create happiness, and happiness is good for your soul.

Personally, my soul is doing pretty well this week. The trick is taking a break midway through; I was off work on Thursday, which meant a day in Nagasaki followed by having friends round for sushi and period dramas, because that's how we roll. It rained, but it was the nice kind of rainy - the sort where your boots are actually waterproof and your umbrella's cute and you have a couple of hours to just do your own thing. A tea and cookies and socks sort of day. I signed my contract for next year this week: I'm staying in Japan (I think most people knew I would). When I told the other teachers this at an enkai last night, they gave me a cheer and a spontaneous round of applause, although admittedly most of them had drunk rather a lot at that point so it might not have been personal. Today I met a friend in the city for karaoke and salted caramel cupcakes.

...Salted caramel is also good for your soul. So is singing the theme song to 'Fame' at the top of your voice, complete with dramatic jazz hands on the high bits. You can get away with any old shit if you say your soul's involved. Who's gonna disprove that?

Okay. Are we done talking about me now? Are we gonna talk about cookies some more? Let's talk about cookies some more. You can find the recipe for the Maple Oatmeal Cookies pictured above thisaway, in my One Green Planet column - if you go and read it I'll be your best friend forever - but the chocolate chip ones take more explanation, derived as they are from three different sources. Because, okay, we've all seen the New York Times' ultimate CCC (I'm assuming we've all seen it; you might have better hobbies than I do), and I absolutely agree that what ain't broke don't need fixin'; UNLESS you want to make 'em vegan, which I always do. The coconut oil is my own addition, and it rocks, but as it doesn't like to be creamed, I melted it and used it as in Alton Brown's 'The Chewy' cookie. The soy milk acts like the liquid portion of the egg, with that extra teaspoon of oil making up for the yolk. Finally, a chunk of the technique has been borrowed from Baking Illustrated, because of the wonderful things he does. Are you reassured that I know my shit, cookie-wise? You should be, cause I do.

NYT's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vegan

120g (4 1/4oz) bread flour
120g (4 1/4oz) cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
3/4 tsp flaky/coarse salt
150g (2/3c. minus 1 tbsp) coconut oil
140g (5oz) brown sugar
110g (4oz) white sugar
60ml (1/4c.) soy milk + 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp good vanilla extract

250g (1/2lb) vegan chocolate, chopped (or vegan chocolate chunks/chips)



Sift flours, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside. If your coconut oil is solid, warm it a little in a microwaveable bowl to melt it. Stir in both sugars fully and beat the hell out of it to cream. Add the soy milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until only just combined. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. 

Scoop mounds of dough onto baking sheet. The NY Times recipe uses 3 1/2 oz (100g) dough balls, but this makes enormous cookies- if you make them this size they need to bake for 18-20mins. I made 75g (2 1/2oz) dough balls, which was just the right size for me.

Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Sprinkle lightly with flaky salt.
 

Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets and eat warm with a glass of (non-dairy!) milk. Oh man.

5 comments:

  1. Every month is cookie month, January is no exception. It's funny because I didn't even think about everyone being diet conscious around this time (hence the Chocolate Brownies I just posted). Baking makes me happy too, and tonight I'm baking for my sister's Birthday which means double happy! Here is to knowing your shit, cookie-wise!

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  2. I'm glad you're staying in Japan. Mostly because I enjoy reading the English Homework of Japanese Teenagers (almost as much as I enjoy eating cookies).

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  3. Absolutely beautiful photos. And don't worry, I've posted two cookies recipes in the past week, so I agree with veggieangie that every month should be a cookie month!

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  4. Well if January is not a cookie month then February is and it is almost February so you are just thinking ahead, good for you! I really really want to make these. Since I started cooking vegan I think I have yet to make chocolate chip cookies! I have seen these cookies and your version suites me a lot better! Yum, I can't wait!

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  5. Hi! I just made these cookies today since the recipe intrigued me (no flax! No vegan butter!) and they turned out great, although they were a little greasy in the hand and came out flatter than expected even though I baked them straight from the fridge.

    However, the texture of the cookies is delightfully crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle. I'm quite impressed. I haven't done much vegan baking but I'm always a little bit skeptical of the recipes I see. This recipe has set the bar pretty high though! + has made me want to try out more vegan baking. Thanks so much for this recipe!! :)

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