Vegan chocolate chip cookies cookie bars

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I was so, so excited when I found this recipe at the Vegetarian Times website. I love the combination of walnuts and chocolate, and I was intrigued by the use of oat flour instead of plain old all-purpose flour. The note on the recipe promised "a moist, chewy, vegan cookie," and the user comments raved about the taste, claiming they were indistinguishable from traditional chocolate chip cookies.

I don't know if my walnut-to-oil proportion was off or if I mismeasured or what, but my dough turned out crumbly, and my first tray of cookies fell apart. I improvised and spread the remaining dough in a glass baking dish and baked it for about 20 minutes, and -- voila! -- I had cookie bars instead. I've posted the cookie directions here, but if all else fails, just do what I did and bake them in a dish until they look done. It's easy.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3-4 Tbsp canola oil (the original recipe calls for 3 but I'd use 4 next time to help the batter stick together better)
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (opt.)
  • 12 oz vegan chocolate chips

Steps:

  1. Place 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor. Process the oats until they turn into a coarse powder. Set this aside in a medium bowl. (You've just made your own oat flour! It's hard to find in the store, and it's expensive anyway, so why not make your own?)
  2. Now use the food processor to grind the walnuts into a fine meal, which should take under a minute. Add the canola oil and blend for 2-3 minutes, or until it looks like natural peanut butter. (I realize now that mine was too crumbly.) Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl; add in the brown sugar and stir until it's dissolved into the water. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the walnut butter, add the vanilla extract, and stir the mixture until no lumps remain.
  4. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (if using) to the bowl with the oat flour. Whisk ingredients together. Stir this mixture into the walnut mixture until combined. Fold in the oats.
  5. Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Fold the chocolate chips into the chilled dough. Shape the dough into 2-inch balls and place them on a tray lined with parchment or a Silpat. Flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in water.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies begin to dry and the tops look brown. Cool them on the baking sheet for 3 minutes until transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Even though I messed up the shape of these confections, they still tasted delicious. However, I disagree with the VT commenters who said they were just like a traditional chocolate chip cookie, since this dough is much more dense than a butter-based cookie. They're still glorious though -- trust me. They're much more filling than a traditional cookie, which might actually work out in favor of portion control! Believe it or not, I might use less chocolate next time, as the chips seemed to crowd out the other tasty components.

As far as I can tell, Whole Foods' house brand of dark chocolate chunks (ugh, can't find a link) is vegan. If you read the ingredient list carefully, you might not have to hunt for something specifically marked "vegan." You just want to avoid milk ingredients (so go for a darker chocolate instead of milk chocolate) and the insect-derived glue that keeps the chips from melting. Of course, if you're baking vegan just to help your cholesterol, you can probably get away with using regular chocolate chips.

I know this recipe has a lot of steps, but it really wasn't too difficult. The toughest part was just getting the dough to stick together!