Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

The first time I tried to adapt a much-loved chocolate chip cookie from The Joy of Cooking, the results fell flat. I mean this literally. Flat. I substituted the egg for a package of powdered egg replacer and margarine for butter. (Incidentally, I don’t recommend those boxes of powdered egg replacer for much, save for a paperweight or perhaps a door wedge.) Seemed to be a fairly innocuous exchange, right? However, when I took the pan of cookies out of the oven, the balls of cookie dough had puddled into each other, making the cookies suitable to eat only with a fork. Like a thin, crispy chocolate chip pancake. 

A friend of mine, after showing her the photo I took of my chocolate cookie fail, kindly forwarded along this recipe. They were so good that I stuffed about a half-dozen in my face within about ten minutes, resulting in an upset tummy and a sugar twitch. Though I am confident that eating them in a more mindful manner won't yield these effects.

Vegan Chocolate Chippers

1 tbsp ground flaxseed (equivalent of 1 egg)

3 tbsp water

3/4 cup (170 g) nondairy margarine (such as Earth Balance, although many mainstream margarines, like a few varieties of Becel, for example, are vegan. Watch out for the casein.)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups pastry flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (To Canadian readers, you’ll be happy to know that President’s Choice “The Decadent” semisweet chocolate chips are, surprisingly and joyfully, vegan). 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a blender, whip the flaxseed and water together until mixture reaches a thick and creamy consistency (about one minute). Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the margarine and sugar until creamy. Add the flax mixture and vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture in batches, and mix until everything is combined well. Add an extra drop of water or soymilk if the mixture seems a bit dry. 

4. Stir in the chocolate chips. Form into balls and flatten slightly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes, or until slightly browned on the bottom.