I’ve been on a quest to find a good vegan cookie recipe. I’m not vegan myself, but my friend from my small group is. I like to bake for my small group and I love my friend, therefore the quest for vegan cookies. Besides that, it’s a challenge, and I like challenges that involve food.
Oatmeal craisin cookies are one of my favorites. Craisins (dried cranberries) seem so much more fancy than raisins, even though they’re really not. The rich red color of the berries makes the cookies themselves more visually appealing, and we eat with our eyes first.
This particular recipe was the result of an experiment. I started out by making the cookies according to the recipe in The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Just as I was adding the eggs, I realized that I had wanted to make vegan cookies instead. Since I was about to have access to a great focus group (a.k.a. the lovely ladies in my small group) I decided to do an experiment, for science.
I finished the conventional cookies, then got to work on my vegan version. The two problematic ingredients were butter and eggs. Butter can be a problem if it’s needed for structure or flavor. Otherwise, substituting vegetable oil tends to work better in most recipes.
The second problem was the eggs. There are several ways to substitute eggs in vegan baking depending on the purpose of the egg. In this recipe, the eggs were acting as binding so I used a flax egg. A flax egg is ground flax seed mixed with water (eggs are wet and add liquid in a recipe). The problem with flax eggs is that they can add a nutty flavor, but since these are oatmeal-based, the nutty flavor was desirable.
As the conventional cookies cooled, I set to work mixing the vegan cookie dough. One of the nice things about vegan cookie dough is that you can eat the dough without worrying about salmonella from raw eggs (we may need to be concerned about E. coli in the flour though, alas).
With my two batches of cookies completed, I placed them out for my unsuspecting guests with no labels. The blind taste test was on. Can you guess which cookie is vegan?
If you guessed the cookies on the right, you are correct!
Ladies and gentlemen, all taste testers agreed that the vegan cookies were better! All parties concurred that the vegan cookies were more visually appealing, were sweeter, and had better texture than the conventional cookies. The conventional cookies won on buttery-ness, but that’s to be expected. So, whether you are vegan or not, this recipe is worth a try.
Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
Makes about 48 cookies
For Flax Eggs
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 5 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup craisins
- In a small bowl, mix flax seed and water to make flax egg. Set aside.
- Mix together (by hand or with an electric mixer) vegetable oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add flax egg and beat until combined. Add flour a little bit at a time and beat until combined. Stir in rolled oats and craisins.
- Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake each batch for 8-10 minutes at 375°F.
Have you tried making these cookies? What was your experience? Did you serve these to someone and later reveal that they were vegan, because I definitely want to hear that story.