Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffin Cookies

Following a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle is fairly easy in our household--except when it comes to cookies. In particular, chocolate chip cookies. They're my biggest weakness, something I crave nearly every day. Unfortunately, traditional chocolate chip cookies are anything but plant based or whole food. 

Although I've found a few great-tasting vegan cookie recipes, they all have two things in common: oil and refined sugar. Two ingredients that are a big no-no for my lifestyle. Any alternative recipes call for almond butter instead of oil; while I'm not opposed to nut butters on occasion, they still contain oil, so they're not the most ideal replacement. And instead of white sugar, the alternatives call for brown sugar; which wouldn't be so bad if I used natural brown sugar rather than commercial, but dumping a whole cup of it, as all the recipes call for, into the dough didn't seem healthier to me.

I knew if I wanted tasty and healthy cookies, I'd have to come up with my own recipe; something oil, refined sugar and nut free, for the ultimate whole foods plant-based option. This recipe was a first-try experiment turned delicious go-to. I'm positive you will love them just as much as we do. 

Some notes: Instead of oil or nut butter, I used applesauce; be sure to find a brand (like Nature's Promise) that only lists apples and water as ingredients. Skip the ascorbic acid. 

Instead of a cup of brown sugar (natural or not), I used not even a fourth a cup of the lowest-glycemic natural sugar. Yes, you read that right: this recipe has less than a fourth of the amount of sugar most other cookie recipes, vegan included, call for. 

Depending on preference, you may want to add half of a flax egg. To make a flax egg, simply mix one tablespoon of cold-pressed ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of filtered water. I cut this formula in half for these cookies. Let it thicken in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Always use organic stone ground whole wheat flour; it's the closest to traditional wheat you'll find, besides einkorn, so even if you think you have gluten sensitivity, you're probably safe. If you actually have Celiac's disease, however, you'll want to avoid this recipe.

Be aware, the batter will be quite thick and sticky. The cookies won't really spread out by themselves, so be sure to flatten them a bit. The nature of these cookies is a hybrid between a muffin texture and cookie texture, so don't be shocked if the cookies aren't gooey inside or super crispy outside. They won't be dry by any means, they'll just be more cake-like in consistency. 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffin Cookies (yields about 17 cookies)

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp of organic applesauce
1 tbsp of pure maple syrup
2 tbsp + 2 tsp of organic coconut palm sugar
1/2 tbsp of vanilla
1 cup of organic stone ground whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
3/4 cup of dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk all of the wet ingredients (including coconut sugar) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, then slowly fold them into the wet ingredients. The dough will become very sticky. Once well incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. 
Spoon golf-ball sized dollops onto your lined baking sheet. Make sure the cookies aren't too thick or they won't cook through evenly; flatten them a bit so they are less than a inch thick.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until outsides feel firm. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Psst! I've been adding a teaspoon of cacao powder to my dry ingredients, just to give the batter a bit of a chocolate flavor. Yum!

Oil free, refined sugar free, dairy free, nut free, and low-glycemic!