What if I said you could accommodate both vegan and gluten free diets with just one cookie, but still make the original gluten-containing and non-vegan cookies from the same recipe without any major changes (other than substituting the offending ingredients)?
It’s true! This cookie has four options :
- Gluten free
- Gluten free vegan
- Neither (full of gluten, butter and eggs)
There are only minor changes – like a reduction in the amount of flour for gluten free cookies, or the additional step of making a flax egg for the vegan version – and you can totally make gluten free vegan cookies simply by combining the ingredient substitutions and additional instructions for both options.
Just to make these extra-special (and because it was really cold outside) we also made some truly decadent cashew hot chocolate – also vegan. You can track down that recipe next week, when you make your own batch of cookies to try, and your vegan friends will love you forever.
However, these cookies in particular took a very special kind of suffering to produce: cookie monster Hector isn’t able to eat just one cookie at a time, and as a result isn’t eating any until after his Ironman in November. My skill with a camera (even his fancy one) is limited to “set to Auto and shoot,” and hardly up to the task of documenting something so groundbreaking, which left Hector up late one night shooting and editing photos of cookies he couldn’t eat.
Seriously, the guy’s a saint.
…he even broke them apart and still didn’t eat any. I doubt any of us have that restraint!
What to Expect with Gluten Free Vegan Baking
Obviously you can’t change some pretty major ingredients without changing the end result; gluten free and vegan baking certainly involves the substitution of some major ingredients and the cookies will turn out differently from their original counterparts.
Gluten Free: these cookies turned out rougher-looking and had much more crumbly dough that tended to break apart when I scooped it out onto the baking sheet. If it breaks apart too much just use your fingers to gently press it back together, and flatten it slightly if you want flatter cookies. They won’t spread out at all, which makes them very efficient to bake – you can fit practically an entire batch on one cookie sheet!
Vegan: the substitution of oil and flax didn’t seem to change the end result a whole lot. If you’re worried about the taste of olive oil (I don’t mind it generally and don’t notice it in these cookies) you can use extra-light olive oil or substitute an equal amount of coconut oil. These cookies, like the original recipe, are much fluffier and softer looking than the gluten-free versions. (Turns out there’s a reason most bakers like gluten).
So after all this discussion, you might be wondering how to make these wonderfully versatile cookies? I’m with you, and just to highlight (literally) the differences for each recipe, we put together this magazine article photo for you – please feel free to download it to use later!
For full instructions you’ll have to come back here – it’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t even take more than one bowl unless you really want it to (I’m practical when it comes to baking – if I won’t notice the difference and have to wash an extra bowl, it’s not happening). Enjoy!
- ½ cup butter (vegan: ⅔ cup olive oil)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs (vegan: 2 tablespoons flax meal + ¼ cup water)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup milk (vegan: ⅓ cup dairy-free milk)
- 2 cups flour (GF: 1¼ cups quinoa flour + ½ teaspoon xanthan gum)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rolled oats (GF: certified gluten-free)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Original & Gluten-free cookies: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well then add the milk and mix again.
- Vegan cookies: In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil and sugar. Mix flax meal and water in a smaller dish and let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens, then add to the oil mixture along with the vanilla and milk, and stir.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dough is well combined. Scoop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, pressing them together with your hands and flattening them slightly. Cookies can be baked quite close together as they don't really spread (especially the gluten-free ones).
- Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned and crispy on the outside. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.