Meatless Monday with Alaine Johnson

| October 24, 2022

This is one of my favorite and easiest recipes ever for a delicious cookie that leaves an impression. The rosemary is fragrant; the smoked paprika lingers on the palate; the melted chocolate warms you on a brisk fall day. It’s great for housewarmings, Sunday scaries, or a movie night. You’re done within an hour for these, start to finish!

I’ve been vegan for just over six years now. It was never my grand plan to follow a plant-based diet, but I decided to try it out for a month as an experiment which became a lifestyle. Going vegan is what taught me to truly know how to cook and bake. Instead of being restrictive, it opened up my culinary understandings to a world of creativity. No eggs in baking? You can use a binding agent of flaxseed and water, jam, applesauce, aquafaba, chia seeds, or coconut oil… the list goes on. I learned to be a better, more instinctive, and creative baker and cook from plant-based recipes. So, here’s one of my crowd favorites that stands out with its elegance and smokiness. Consider it a more refined, adult version of your beloved childhood chocolate chip cookie.

Spicy Vegan Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup vegan butter, melted
½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons maple ayrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried), finely chopped or ground
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted and chopped pecans
½ cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, blend together the melted margarine, both sugars, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth and fully combined.
  3. Sift the flour into a separate bowl, and add in all of the spices, rosemary, baking soda, and salt. Lightly toss both the pecan pieces and chocolate chips in, to coat with the flour.
  4. Add the dry goods into the stand mixer in two additions, being careful not to overwork the dough but mix it just enough to bring everything together, without any pockets of flour lurking at the bottom. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions so that everything gets incorporated.
  5. Scoop out dough with a medium-sized cookie scoop, or two large spoons in about 3 – 4 tablespoon portions. Give the cookies plenty of space on your prepared baking sheets, leaving at least an inch between blobs. I usually bake only 9 per sheet, to ensure that none of them spread and collide. Flatten the raw cookie dough out lightly with the palm of your hand, so that they’re nice and round, and about ½ inch in thickness.
  6. Bake for 12 – 16 minutes, watching closely to make sure that they are just barely golden brown around the edges when you pull them from the oven. They should still look fairly under-baked in the center, to ensure a soft and chewy texture.