|Oct. 24th, 2012 03:13 pm VeganMofo 19: Chocolate chip cookies|
I love chocolate chip cookies. Always have, probably always will. I remember in my college dorm that one day a week was Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, and the student workers had to put them out barely cooked because we were grabbing them off the tray so fast.
Going vegan did not mean giving up my favorite cookie. Hundreds of vegan recipes for chocolate chip cookies are available, freely on the web and in cookbooks, and many brands of vegan cookies and dark chocolate chips (without milk products) are now available commercially as well.
However, committing to a healthier diet meant that I could no longer enjoy most of these recipes or pre-made goodies, at least not on a regular basis. Most contain margarine, which is pure fat. Even Earth Balance, which is non-hydrogenated, is still pure fat. I actually had to ban Earth Balance from our home except for very special occasions like Thanksgiving, as it makes it too easy to consume large amounts of calories quickly and unconsciously. I semi-seriously joked that if I had a loaf of bread and a container of Earth Balance in the frig, I would eat nothing else until all of the bread was gone.
So now I use the principles of oil-free baking to make healthier cookies. Though as I mentioned in that entry, if the recipe contains more than about 1/3 cup of oil or margarine I just skip it, and sadly that applies to many of the vegan cookie recipes I've seen.
I have found a couple of recipes that contain no oil or margarine to begin with. One is Cake-Like Chocolate Chip Cookies from Simply Vegan, one of my favorite cookbooks (though many of the other recipes do contain oil, so I have to make substitutions). Another is Butter Bean Cookies from Everyday Happy Herbivore, pictured above. This time I made them with okara (soybean pulp) instead of butter beans, as I have a lot of okara left over from making soymilk. They came out just as good!
Regardless of the recipe, the chocolate chips themselves are also high in fat and sugar, so I don't eat them every day. When I do make them, I like to share them with friends and fellow volunteers. I'm much more concerned about limiting fat than sugar; sugar is unfairly demonized and is fine in small quantities for most people.
I try to treat cookies and other such treats mostly as desserts rather than snacks. My parents raised me this way, and though I was overweight for most of my youth (thanks to eating the Standard American Diet and not exercising much), I had no cavities until adulthood. Tooth decay is one definite hazard of sugar consumption, though easily prevented with a toothbrush!