Living With Loose Ends and My New Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies That Are Secretly Vegan

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I can’t seem to tie up any one loose end right now.

I have an unending list of recipes to test a thousand times – but once I cross one off the list, another one pops up. I don’t have a signed lease for a commercial retail space – each option is still in negotiations and there are more spaces to see everyday. I have a pile of invoices and a stack of monies due to me that keep missing my mailbox. And the dishes, the dirty dishes, don’t ever go away. My dishwasher and chapped hands are working overtime.

I’m also starting a brand new project but I can’t tell you about it yet, which bugs me beyond everything. I know it bugs you too because I keep getting emails and texts saying, “just tell me, pretty please, I won’t tell a soul.” I believe you, believe me, but I’m an old-fashioned, superstitious kinda girl. And because I haven’t shared the news, I can’t move ahead on the hundreds of little tasks required to bring that project to life, which most definitely involve all of you because I can’t do this alone. It’s like I see the tornado of tasks waiting to pounce on me – and I’m tackling the random ones that drift through here or there – but I can’t get to the eye of it all just yet.

And who has the time to research and order a brand new food processor for me?! Because mine is busted and it’s the worst time for that to happen and I literally can’t handle it. (Seriously though, do you love your food processor? Tell me about it, please.)

Basically, I’m living a small business nightmare. I feel like I’m in some deep transition and my full transformation is miles away. I know that any transition is the messy part, where everything is upended for what seems like eternity and then things settle. I appreciate transition. My life has always been one big transition. But enough already. I’m so ready to feel grounded. Bring on the final metamorphosis.

I’m not even a little ashamed to admit to at least two full-on ugly cries and I can’t promise they won’t happen again. I did, however, pull it together, if only momentarily. I put our ongoing search for a new place to live on hold, just for now, because a little more time in this old house on a former apple farm isn’t going to break us. I shut off all the search alerts on my cell, to give my brain some quiet time, some “me” time. And I just gave in on everything else and baked some cookies.

It’s remarkable what finding an amazing cookie recipe will do for a human. I don’t mean going to the store to buy a lovely, small batch variety, though that’s wonderful in its own way. I mean, whisking it from scratch in 10 minutes, waiting 24 hours for it to rest (or “hydrate”), and then baking off a tray that knocks your socks off, that’s everything a cookie should be, to me anyway. These Chocolate Chip Cookies are crispy on the edges, sweet but not overly sweet, and soft in the middle. Big chocolate puddles make it so teeth sink into chocolate and cookie simultaneously. And, even better, they’re vegan so no one else should complain. I like to leave all the complaining to me.

Seriously though, I’m okay. I’m not going to break. The world’s not going to end, not because of what’s going on in my life anyway. I make no promises about what happens to your world if you don’t make these cookies though. Yes, they’re that good.

Ovenly's Secretly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I adapted this recipe, switching out several ingredients, from Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery by Erin Patinkin & Agatha Kulaga (Harlequin, 2014). The original recipe appears on Food52. Next time I make these, which will most likely be tomorrow, I’ll add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the wet ingredients.

Makes: 18

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I prefer 60 - 70 percent cocoa content, no higher)
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • Flaky sea salt like Maldon, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
  2. In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugars briskly with the oil and water until smooth and incorporated, about 2 minutes. Note: Use fresh, soft light brown sugar. If there are clumps, break them up with the back of a spoon or your hand before whisking.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and then stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until just combined and no flour is visible. Do not overmix.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Do not skip this step.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove dough from the refrigerator and use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to portion dough into 2-inch mounds. Freeze the balls of dough for 10 minutes before baking as the cookies will retain their shape better while baking.
  6. Sprinkle the balls of dough with coarse-grained sea salt (if freezing, remove balls of dough from the freezer first), and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Do not overbake.
  7. Let cool completely before serving.

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Comments

  • Betsy

    Maggie, I hope it all works out. Cookies are a great antidote to all those balls in the air.
    I was recently in food processor hell. About 2 years ago, the bowl on my 30+ year old Cuisinart cracked (no longer repairable or replaceable) so I bought a new Cuisinart. Pieces broke off the plastic bowl almost immediately. I got good with epoxy, replacing it a few times, but now that bowl is not available. I bought yet another Cuisinart and the bowl broke within a week. After lots of research, I settled on a Breville. The 16-cup one has similar attachments to what I was used to with my Cuisinart from long ago.
    I’ve had it for about 2 months now and LOVE it. This is the model I got: https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-174636/?affsrcid=AFF0005 I know it’s expensive (I got lucky and went to the store the weekend they were having a 20% off food processor sale), but I think it’s an excellent choice. And I don’t think I’ll have to constantly be figuring out a replacement strategy. Good luck.

    • Oh Betsy, thank you. I just purchased this model! I explained my loose end to the husband and he did some research and 30 minutes later I pressed buy on Amazon. I am so disappointed in Cuisinart and had to move on from the brand. Your post makes me feel like I made the right decision! I can’t wait to fall in love. xo

  • savvy

    I got the Cuisinart with seal built into the top, have now used it 3 years and LOVE,LOVE,LOVE it!! No more soup running over the top, onto counter, onto the flour!! I used to delay using my old one til the floor needed to be done!! And I love being able to use just the inner bowl when small batches happening.

    Am going to do the cookies next week….holiday weekend is over the top already!! Love the tip on ‘hydrating’ the dough….another baker/chef’s secret I know!!

    • Hi savvy. I have loved my Cuisinart but over the last few years, it’s been falling apart slowly. I’m so glad you love yours but I thought it was time I tried a new brand. And about the cookies – that’s the real win here. They’re wonderful! Enjoy xox

  • Peggy Witter

    I had (emphasis on HAD) an older Kitchen aid food processor I LOVED. After 20 something years of love and countless moves it broke….so I bought a new one. Same horse power, huge machine plus it had no heft. That should have been my first clue. No I soldiered on. It SUCKS! The “new & improved” design isn’t any where near as efficient and it is making me miserable. Like so much so that I quit making any recipe that called for a food processor. so thank you!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! I will go take a look at the Breville one now.

    • Hi Peggy! My husband said the Breville is the machine that Serious Eats/Kenji recommends and Consumer Reports loves it too. It’s expensive and big (16 cups) but I cook 3 meals/day, almost 7 days/week, plus all my recipe testing, so I went all in on it. I don’t want to deal with smaller machines that may break in two weeks or can’t take making flours and butters (stuff I make daily). I am excited about it! Good luck with your new machine, whatever it is. 🙂

  • Christi

    I still love my Cuisinart. I burned the motor out about 7 years ago and sent it back to Cuisinart. They repaired it for a nominal fee.
    I do wish there was a little bowl to go with it for making small batches of things like pesto or grating some parmesan.
    We gave my mom the KitchenAid food processor that Cook’s Illustrated recommended that does have the second smaller bowl. She really loves it.

    • I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Kitchen Aid, Christi. I’m so glad you love it. I just unboxed my Breville yesterday and – oh my goodness – there are so many parts. I can’t wait to give it a go today. Thanks so much for commenting, I love hearing from you. xo