February 17, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

I've been hearing more about Celiac Disease and gluten-free diets lately.  I've also been doing a bit of my own research on the subject because I think my cousin may be "non-Celiac gluten intolerant."  Long story short, all this information has made me realize that wheat/gluten may be hard on our systems and that I want to experiment with wheat-free/gluten-free baking.  

I have no intention of going gluten-free.  I love wheat and all the delicious bread-y, cake-y confections it produces, but alternative flours do have their merits.  These cookies are made with a combination of whole spelt flour, which is slightly higher in protein and lower in calories than wheat flour, and brown rice flour, which is completely gluten-free.  Spelt flour has a small amount of gluten but can often be tolerated by people with gluten sensitivities.   
Another ingredient I experimented with in this recipe is sucanat, which is pure dehydrated cane juice.  Since I've also been reading and hearing a lot about the "evils" of processed sugars, I thought it would be fun to try out some new natural sugars.  I've already tried a fair amount of recipes using agave, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup to sweeten, but all of those sweeteners are liquid and I've been looking for a decent dry natural sugar.  The sucanat seemed to work well here, although the texture is a bit dusty and the grains aren't quite uniform so it may not be the best substitute in every recipe.

These cookies turned out wonderfully though-- they even came out resembling crinkle cookies!  The flavor is spot-on (mmm chocolate mint) and they're sweet but not overly so.  More importantly, they held together nicely when baked and weren't soft to the point of being formless (a problem I've had with spelt flour in the past).  The texture is slightly grainy from the brown rice flour (though I've read about something called "superfine brown rice flour," which may alleviate this problem) and they are just the tiniest bit crumbly when you bite into them.  All in all, I'm extremely satisfied with the results.  Go natural ingredients!

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Loosely adapted from Vive le Vegan!

1 cup whole spelt flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sucant
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
3 tablespoons canola oil
~ 1 tablespoon "milk" of choice, if batter is dry [I used unsweetened vanilla hemp milk]
optional: 1.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or vegan dark chocolate chips) [I used 85% dark chocolate]

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (excluding the chopped chocolate).  In a medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, along with the chopped chocolate.  Mix until just combined (be careful not to over-mix).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon the batter onto the sheet, spacing evenly (I used my hands to lightly shape the dough into balls).  Bake for 11 minutes (don't over-bake or they will dry out!).  Let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooling rack.


Alisa@Foodista said...

Yum!I cant wait to try this out! My son loves crinkle cookies and it would be great if he could snack on a healthier cookie :)

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