Yield
Makes about 18 cookies

Recipe by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin of Ovenly | Introduction by Food52's Kristen Miglore

This cookie isn’t genius for being a vegan chocolate chip cookie or despite being one. It rests entirely on its own merits: its soft-bellied, chewy, caramelly crisp-edged, incidentally vegan merits.

Unlike other veganized recipes, which can be bogged down with odd substitutions and taste like a loose, disappointing approximation of the real thing, Ovenly’s version uses standard ingredients—they simply replace the egg and butter (which are largely made up of fat and water) with oil and water (same). You might be thinking the cookie would lose its richness, but a smart technique makes up for it.

The method is nothing fancy—just a vigorous whisking of all the wet ingredients before adding the dry. But there is one important extra step: the dough should be refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours to help the flour hydrate.

This trick first made headlines in the New York Times in 2008, when food writer David Leite revealed that the top bakeries in Manhattan let their dough cool its heels in the fridge for a few days before baking. The flavor is richer and more developed; the texture smoother. Leite recommended at least a 36-hour rest, but because Ovenly’s cookie dough has no egg or butter to slow down the hydration, it hits its peak much faster.



Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (215g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (60% cacao or higher)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar (see Genius Tip, below)
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed dark brown sugar (see Genius Tip, below)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (120g) neutral oil (such as grapeseed)
  • 5 tablespoons (75g) water
  • Coarse-grained or flaky sea salt like Maldon, for topping

Food52's Genius DessertsFood52's Genius Desserts
by Kristen Miglore

Directions

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and fine sea salt in a large bowl. Add the chocolate chips and toss to coat. Vigorously whisk together the sugars with the oil and water in a separate large bowl until smooth and well incorporated, about 2 minutes. (If there are clumps in the brown sugar, break them up before whisking.)

2. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the dry flour mixture into the wet sugar mixture until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. The dough will look a bit oily—that’s okay! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C), with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets in 2-inch (5cm) mounds, spacing them 3 inches (7.5cm) apart. To minimize spreading, freeze the balls of dough for 10 minutes before baking.

4. Remove the balls of dough from the freezer and sprinkle with coarse-grained sea salt. Bake until the edges are just golden, 12 to 13 minutes, rotating baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Do not overbake. Let cookies cool on the pan until firm enough to transfer to a rack, about 5 minutes; let finish cooling on the rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

GENIUS TIP: WAIT, ISN’T SUGAR VEGAN?
If you want to make sure the cookies are all-the-way vegan, use organic sugars (nonorganic sugars often use something called bone char in processing) and double-check the ingredient list on the chocolate chips to make sure there’s no dairy. My favorite version of these cookies is with Wholesome brand’s exceptionally dark brown organic sugar, a muscovado that’s heavy on the molasses.

Excerpted from Food52's Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore. Copyright Ten Speed Press, 2018.