The inspiration for these cookies was Merrill Stubb’s soft chocolate cherry almond cookies, which were served at the Food52 Holiday Shop. They looked terrific, and folks were raving about them, so I had the idea to try my hand at a vegan version. It’s taken nearly two months, but the recipe was well worth the wait.
The key to the soft, chewy texture of these cookies is a mixture of almond flour and oat flour, as well as Earth Balance for super authentic, buttery results. I’m sure that a lot of you don’t have Earth Balance at home, and with that in mind, I tested the recipe using solid coconut oil, too. The resulting cookies have the same chocolatey flavor, but they’re definitely a bit plumper and much crispier than the Earth Balance version, as you can see below (coconut oil version is on the bottom). I’d say that the texture is more biscotti-like.
I’ve given instructions for both versions in the recipe. If you don’t have dried cherries, dried cranberries are a perfectly good substitute. Dark chocolate chunks or chips make the recipe a snap, but if you don’t have those, you can chop up the equivalent amount of vegan dark chocolate instead: just be sure that the pieces aren’t too big.
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 12 Mins
Total Time: 1 Hour 12 Mins
Serves: 24-30 Large Cookies
1½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer, mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water or 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water)
1¼ cups almond flour
½ cup + 2 tablespoons oat flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery sticks at room temperature, or 10 tablespoons solid coconut oil (see note for instructions on using coconut oil)
⅔ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup cane sugar, plus extra for rolling
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅔ cup bittersweet or semi-sweet vegan chocolate chunks or chips
½ cup chopped dried cherries (substitute dried cranberries)
Place the flours, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Place the Earth Balance in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a handheld mixer on low speed). Beat on medium low speed for one minute. Add the sugars, egg replacer, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes, or until mixture is fluffy. Add half of the flour mixture and beat for another minute. Add the remaining flour and beat to incorporate. Add the cherries and chocolate and beat quickly on low speed, until they’re just incorporated.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let it sit in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie baking sheets with parchment.
Remove dough from fridge. Place about a half cup of cane sugar into a plate. Roll the dough into 1½ inch balls, then roll them in the sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on your baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies are still soft in the middle but firm on the edges. Allow them to cool a bit before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!
If you use coconut oil in place of earth balance, increase the coarse salt in the recipe to 1 whole teaspoon. In step 2 of the recipe, add the solid coconut oil, egg replacer, sugars, vanilla, and salt to the stand mixer all at once. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and fluffy, then follow remaining instructions.
Leftover cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to four days.
As an early Valentine’s Day treat, I brought some of these cookies to my mom over the weekend. As gracious a recipe tester as she is, my mom usually registers the complaint that my baked goods aren’t quite sweet enough. This time, though, all she could say was “they’re delicious!”
Gena Hamshaw, founder of The Full Helping, is a certified nutritionist, recipe developer, cookbook author, and food writer. Her recipes and articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, Whole Living, O Magazine, VegNews, Thrive Magazine, Well and Good, Mind Body Green, Glamour, and The Chalkboard, among other publications. Visit The Full Helping to see all of her fabulous recipes and more!