Vegan. Even thinking that word makes me nervous. To me, vegan food should be an accident (i.e. salad, some Asian food, apples), never something you do on purpose. When I was a kid, my mom fed me radishes with butter and salt and fresh raspberries from the vine in milk. I once ate 5 hotdogs in one day. Veganism and I are not friends. All my happiest memories involve good food, and all good food has meat, cheese or butter, or all three.
So it was with trepidation that I set out to make something vegan for some friends’ adorable woodsy, potluck, picnic wedding. They are vegans. And I like them. And it was their wedding. So here we are.
The reason I picked this recipe is twofold. First, it only required me to purchase 2 ingredients I didn’t have (a lot of vegan baking recipes call for special things like Nature’s Balance margarine, flaxseed meal and agave nectar), and second, it is a baked good that calls for cayenne pepper. Sold.
Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles (sigh) vegan:
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used chipotle)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (the real kind, throw Betty away)
3 tbsp non-milk milk, such as almond or soy (I used almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla
Extra 1/3 cup of raw sugar and a 1/2 tsp cinnamon for rolling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and either line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray them with canola oil spray. Whisk together all the wet ingredients in a bowl. Spend some time doing it to try to dissolve the sugar as much as you can. Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients into another bowl, and then incorporate them, about a third at a time, into the wet.
Stir as you go with a wooden spoon. As you are doing this, you will be thinking, as I was, I am going to have to bake these in a pan like brownies, because they are too wet to ever roll into balls. You will be mistaken, because as the last third of dry ingredients gets mixed in, some kind of weird vegan alchemy happens, and it solidifies into a squishy, oily dough.
I will now, in an awesome act of will, refrain from making any jokes about what the dough looks like when you roll it into balls.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, then flatten them into 2″ diameter discs. Then, press one side of the disc into the sugar/cinnamon mixture and set them onto the cookie sheet. You will be thinking, as I was, these cookies are going to spread into a gross mess and be a giant failure, because it’s only oil in them and the heat it going to make it run all over the cookie sheet. You will be mistaken again, they don’t spread that much. You’re safe to do 3 rows of 4 on your cookie sheets, assuming that gives them 1-2 inches of space.
Bake them for 9-11 minutes, meaning check them at 9 minutes, and then put them in for another two. When you touch the side of a cookie, close to the cookie sheet, it should be firm and a little springy, like a cookie. If it is, then it’s done. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
These cookies are really pretty. The sugar on top looks like jewels, and they flatten really nicely. And they taste really chocolatey and cinnamony. The kick from the chile pepper gets you on the tail end, and it’s a nice addition to the chocolate. The crunch from the raw sugar (which, by the way, has much larger granules than regular white sugar, it is a must in this recipe) is the best part. All in all, they are not bad. They are much better than I thought they’d be, and they are something even non-vegans can like. Although I’m not gonna lie to you- they’d be really good with some butter.