Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

Recently a reader expressed an interest in a vegan version of this rich pistachio pudding. Despite its dairy-filled indulgence, that recipe actually lends itself fairly well to veganizing: the ground pistachio contribute a richness that compensates for any less-than-creamy faux-creams you want to swap out, and it's thickened with a cornstarch slurry instead of eggs. But the problem comes in putting together the whole package: part of the pudding's perfection comes in pairing it with bittersweet snappy-crisp chocolate cookies, to offset all that smooth. And so, here's an alternative: a dairy-free, egg-free, snappy-crisp chocolate cookie. Don't say I don't aim to please.

The recipe comes from the doyenne of vegan cookies, Isa Moskowitz. She introduced these as Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles, but due to my disagreements with cayenne, I ended up just adapting them as a regular ole chocolate cookie. But they are still quite exciting. The texture is perfect, crisp-but-not-too-crisp, and they crackle beautifully in the oven. The bit of cinnamon in the dough (and in the cinnamon-sugar dusting it gets before the oven) doesn't overwhelm the cookie, but nicely complements the chocolate flavor. They're perfect for enjoying with a cold glass of milk (or soymilk), sandwiching with some summer ice cream (or soycream), or dunking into a dish of rich, smooth pudding.

Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, from her book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
yields ~4 dozen cookies

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional, for a spicy cookie)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp milk (or soymilk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease well.

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping in a small dish, and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cayenne (if using). Set aside.

In a mixer or large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until dough comes together.

Scoop out tablespoons of dough (a mini ice-cream scoop makes this ridiculously easy, though it can also be done with two spoons), and plop them into the dish of cinnamon-sugar. Roll around to coat, then transfer to the prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving ample space for the cookies to spread. Press on each cookie to flatten it into a not-too-thick disc (a little thicker than the finished cookie, as they will continue to spread in the oven). Transfer to the preheated oven and bake ~10 minutes, until the cookies have spread and gotten crackly on top (they won't be entirely set). Remove, and let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, until firm enough to transfer. Move to a cool rack to cool completely.


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