For my Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Vanilla Bean Cookies, I’ve taken one of my favorite cookie recipes and made it even better. Huge chunks of organic California walnuts, mini dark chocolate vegan chips, Vietnamese cinnamon, and my secret ingredient for taking just about any cookie recipe to the next level of awesomeness…
My Secret Ingredient: Real Vanilla Bean. Usually in chocolate chip cookie recipes we add a splash of vanilla extract. Sometimes it is average quality and sometimes we break out the expensive glass bottle of some uber-luxurious vanilla bean extract. Well if you want to create a truly magical, mellow and intoxicating flavor to each cookie bite, try using a whole real vanilla bean instead. Simply scrape the seeds from a pod and add them to the dough.
You can use the leftover pod in numerous ways. I like to stick mine in a jar of dry sugar and let it infuse into “vanilla sugar.” And bonus perk, your kitchen will smell like a vanilla paradise island. You’ll get all woozy and blissful as your cookies bubble and rise in the oven.
Shopping tip! Did you know that Trader Joe’s now sells a pack of two vanilla beans for under $5! That’s a deal. I actually forget exactly how much they are. I think $3.99. Amazing if you have a TJ’s nearby, as vanilla beans can be expensive.
Chocolate chip walnut cookies are my favorite. And that this was my best batch ever. I blame that lovely vanilla bean.
Chocolate Chip Walnut Vanilla Bean Cookies
vegan, makes about 16 extra large cookies – or 2-3 dozen standard size
2 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon (or standard cinnamon)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground if available)
wet sugar mixture:
2 sticks vegan butter, soften to a half-melted/blendable state
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar (I like to use Whole Foods 365 brand called “vegan sugar”)
4 ounces organic applesauce
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped (usually about ¼ teaspoon of seeds)
1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoon water (added one at a time to ‘wet’ dough)
2 cups vegan mini chocolate chips
1 ½ cups organic California walnuts (whole and pieces)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together the vegan butter, sugar and applesauce. Add the vanilla to this mixture as well.
4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and start hand blending. The mixture will start out very dry and gradually become wet. Fold in the apple cider vinegar. Add in the water, one tablespoon at a time to further wet the dough. You may only need 2 tablespoon to reach a ‘cookie dough’ state. You can always add water to adjust the dough if needed.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
6. Grease your baking sheet with a canola oil cooking spray. I like to use a lot so the cookie bottoms get nice and crisp.
7. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Pull cookies when edges are browned and center still looks slightly shiny and wet. The cookies will firm up once they have cooled. You want them very delicate upon coming out of the oven because they have a high ‘butter’ content.
Cool. Serve with ice cold non-dairy milk. Enjoy!!!