Nutty Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

by Sarah

in cholesterol free, Cookies, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Egg-Free, vegan

nutty sea salt chocolate chip cookiesThese cookies are sweet and salty in each bite, with chocolate chunks  drizzled with sea salt. A pecan and walnut blend gives bursts of crunch as you eat. It’s a classic chocolate chip cookie, dressed up with sea salt and nuts, with a soft chewy interior.

These cookies started when I saw a photo of chocolate chunk cookies in a magazine. Each square of chocolate looked so luxurious, with much more surface area than a chocolate chip. I knew I had to try chocolate chunks. After tasting these cookies, I found the increased surface area of chocolate made for more intense taste, especially with the salt sprinkled for contrast. I urge you to try melting your chocolate chips and see if you like cookies with chocolate chunks instead of chips. You may be pleasantly surprised like me!

nutty sea salt chocolate chip cookiesIn addition to using chocolate chunks, the key to getting this cookie right is to have the perfect chewy texture. I experimented with this, and found that by slightly under-baking the cookies, they cooled into a very soft, melt-in-my-mouth texture. For a clump of cookie dough about 2.5-3 tablespoons, I recommend baking for just 10 minutes. You should adjust the baking time, but in general bake till the cookies are just set and a little bit golden brown on the bottom. If they still look soft-ish when you taken them out, you’ve got the right texture. As the cookie cools on the hot cookie sheet, it will continue to cook. When it’s completely cool on the cooling rack, the cookie will be very soft and moist.

The first time I made this cookie, I made bigger cookies about 2.5-3 tablespoons dough each. The second time I made smaller cookies about 1.5 tablespoons dough each, and forgot to adjust the time! They were still yummy, but lost that magical chewy texture. So remember to adjust your baking time, based on the size of the cookie. The best is to aim for a low baking time of 7-8 minutes for 1.5 tablespoons and 10 minutes for 2-3 tablespoons and start checking on the cookies at that time with the oven light on, to see if you want to continue baking for another minute or two, or take them out to cool. This will ensure soft pillowing cookies, like eating a cloud of nutty sea salt chocolate chip cookies!

nutty sea salt chocolate chip cookiesAfter sharing these cookies at a party, many people were surprised they were vegan. Which I used to be surprised about too whenever something vegan tasted rich, luxurious, and buttery! Since switching to vegan baking, I’ve learned that vegan baking is simply another method to make equally yummy treats, just as there are numerous ways to cook many non-vegan foods. For example you can make crispy chicken wings by deep-frying them, or by baking them. Not as many people will bake them because it requires a bit more recipe tweaking, but it’s possible to bake truly crispy wings, and either way they will be delicious. Similarly, vegan baking is trying new combinations and methods, like an experiment with a sweet treat waiting at the end. It makes baking exciting every time!

One of my favorite things about vegan baking is that it’s healthier than regular baking. And considering what a cookie monster I am, I need all the help I can get! Vegan margarine, as well as vegan chocolate chips, do not contain cholesterol. Which means vegan baked goods are almost always cholesterol free, better for heart health.

Happy Baking!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Nutty Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Soft, billowy, nutty sea salt chocolate chunk cookies, ready in 30 minutes!
Serves: 45 cookies
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegan margarine, room temperature (temperature is important!)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5-2 cups of dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used a pecan and walnut blend)
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
Chocolate Chunk Directions
  1. Line a 9x9 or 8x8 pan with wax paper.
  2. Melt chocolate chips (either microwave or with a double boiler).
  3. Pour melted chocolate into the pan. Set in the fridge to harden into one block overnight.
  4. Cut the chocolate blocks into chunks. If you want perfect squares, first mark where the squares are with your knife, cutting only ½ way through the chocolate. Then once you have a grid of markings, cut all the way through. It tastes great whether you do perfect squares or not (like me!).
Cookie Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  3. In a large bowl, beat margarine with a hand/stand mixer until smooth (about 15 seconds). Add in sugars and cream until smooth (about 30 seconds). Add the water and vanilla, and mix till smooth (about another 20 seconds).
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to the margarine and sugar mixture, beating as you go.
  5. Add in mixed nuts, chocolate chunks, and stir with a spatula till well incorporated
  6. Make balls of cookie dough with a cookie scoop or measuring spoon. I used a 1.5 tablespoon scoop. For smaller cookies make 1.5 tablespoons flat. For larger cookies make one rounded 1.5 tablespoons (about 3 tablespoons dough total).
  7. Place dough balls on parchment lined cookie sheets. Drizzle with pinches of sea salt. (optional: if you want your cookies to spread less, put the batter in the freezer for 20 minutes before baking.)
  8. Bake cookies! For a rounded 1.5 tablespoon cookie dough, bake 10 minutes. For a flat 1.5 tablespoon of dough, bake 7-8 minutes.*
  9. Let cook for 5 minutes outside the oven, then transfer to cookie racks to cool completely. Drizzle with some more sea salt for extra sweet-and-salty tastiness.
* It is key to bake for just long enough the cookie holds to get a soft chewy texture. Check your oven during baking, with the cooking light on, so that you take the cookies out just as the edges are golden. Let it finish cooking on the hot cookie sheet once out of the oven. Don't touch them the first 5 minutes they are out, as the cookies are still cooking despite being out of the oven. They should look soft and a tad underdone when you just take them out of the oven, but will firm up more as they cool. Use the times I listed as a general guide, but remember to check your cookies so they don't over cook.


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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Connie @ Sprig and Flours May 25, 2015 at 7:06 am

Oh my goodness, these look absolutely amazing!! I love all your tips. Chewy is essential! I love sea salt in cookies, but I never have it in stock. I definitely need to change that (:


2 Sarah May 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Thanks Connie! The sea salt is great, I started using it recently for sweet and salty flavors.


3 Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking May 25, 2015 at 11:26 am

AHHH COOKIES *nom nom nom* Chunks are prettier than chips in my opinion :)
Are the dairy-free ones noticeably different? I still don’t know how you make vegan cookies lol


4 Sarah May 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm

I do like the look of the chocolate chunks too! The dairy-free chocolate tastes exactly the same as the non-dairy chocolate. The kind of chocolate I used is semi-sweet chocolate, but there is even dairy-free white chocolate chips and they taste great too. Plus the dairy-free chips do not contain any cholesterol either, just like the vegan margarine, so yay for heart health :)


5 Nagi@RecipeTinEats May 25, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I LOVE sweet and salty! And chewy is a must in my books too. Every single time I see your recipes I am just blown away by how incredible vegan cooking can be. You honestly are brilliant Sarah. Pinning lots! This has to be discovered!! :)


6 Sarah May 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Thanks so much Nagi! I’m so happy you like it! :)


7 Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom May 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Sarah, I love sea salt on my chocolate chip cookies and yes to chocolate chunks!! love them. . love that these are vegan too!!! they look so good!!!


8 Sarah May 25, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Thanks Alice! I like the salt and sweet combo too!


9 June @ How to Philosophize with Cake May 26, 2015 at 2:49 am

Wow those look scrumptious! So thick and chewy, mmm :)


10 Sarah May 26, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Thanks June! I like chewy cookies too!


11 Beeta @ Mon Petit Four May 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Sarah, these look fantastic! I love using chocolate chunks in my cookies, and the garnishing of salt is perfect. I also love that you added nuts – how delish! :)


12 Sarah May 26, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Thanks Beeta!


13 Joanne May 29, 2015 at 4:26 am

These pretty much have to be the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve EVER SEEN. I don’t know how I’m going to get any work done today knowing that these are in the world and I’ve never tried them.


14 Sarah May 29, 2015 at 11:36 am

Thanks Joanne! These were pretty fast to make, could be a good evening pick-me-up dessert for you and the.boy tonight!


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