These 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!
In 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!
After 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.
- 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
- Line a 9x9 or 8x8 pan with wax paper.
- Melt chocolate chips (either microwave or with a double boiler).
- Pour melted chocolate into the pan. Set in the fridge to harden into one block overnight.
- 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!).
- Preheat oven to 350 F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk dry ingredients together.
- 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).
- Slowly add flour mixture to the margarine and sugar mixture, beating as you go.
- Add in mixed nuts, chocolate chunks, and stir with a spatula till well incorporated
- 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).
- 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.)
- 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.*
- 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.