Full disclosure: I’m an omnivore, but I have an appreciation for vegetarian and vegan cooking, thanks to having friends who have these more restrictive diets (by choice or necessity). As I have done more entertaining for friends with a variety of dietary restrictions, I’ve had to adjust some of what I put out on the dinner/buffet table so that I’m taking out everything from animal products to things with latex (bananas & kiwis), and that’s kept me on my cooking toes.
More recently, I had my annual physical and my doctor cautioned me that she was starting to get worried about my cholesterol. Ah, crap. Her advice to me included cutting back to the minimum on dairy. HOLY CRAP. I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY REGULAR CELEBRATION OF ICE CREAM O’CLOCK?! There has to be a better, way, right? It’s not like I eat a ton of red meat; easily three-quarters of the time, the meat in my meal is fish or poultry.
So, this made me think that perhaps I should look at other ways to reduce cholesterol where possible. And, having a VERY CHILLY Sunday afternoon that wasn’t consumed with running errands, I thought it might be fun to stay inside and bake. I started with a tried-and-true recipe that came courtesy of my friend, Cyndy, of DailyCynema, and I made a couple of modifications. Feel free to check out the original recipe here. And check out her other recipes, too. She’s a damn fine cook, and she’s really sweet about sharing.
To make this recipe TRULY vegan, make sure that A) your margarine is 100% free of dairy [we use a Fleischmann’s version that is completely lactose-free], and B) you use dark chocolate that’s considered vegan. I used Hershey Special Dark chips, but those have a small amount of milk in them, so that’s why this recipe is only nearly vegan.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 12 mins (per tray/set of trays in the oven at once)
Serves: well, that depends… (Makes about 30-32 cookies)
1/2 cup margarine (one stick), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used Hershey Special Dark chips)
Make it Happen
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. If you have vents atop your range that vent out heat from the oven, place the margarine stick upright by the vents to start the softening process. (Otherwise, soften it at room temperature a few minutes prior to starting the rest of the prep work.)
2. Put the first four dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt) in a bowl and stir briefly. Set aside.
3. Mix the first three wet ingredients (margarine, white and brown sugars) on low speed in a stand mixer or by hand, until all items are well combined.
4. Add the vanilla, maple syrup and applesauce and mix/stir well to combine.
5. Add the bowl of dry ingredients and mix/stir well to combine.
6. Add the oatmeal and stir well to combine (best to do this by hand, to make sure the mixture is even).
7. Add the chips and stir well to combine.
8. Place rounded tablespoons of the cookie batter onto a non-stick baking sheet, about 2 inches or so apart.
9. Place the sheet in the oven and cook for 12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges and bottom.