New Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies
Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL: http://stuff2eat.blogspot.com/2009/06/other-man.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Lori Jablons
The Other Man
My favorite section of the New York Times is the Dining section. I don’t have much faith in restaurant reviews—or any reviews, for that matter. The part of the Dining section that completes me is the Minimalist column. The Minimalist is writer and cook Mark Bittman. Mark Bittman is the one man for whom I would consider leaving my husband.
MB is a smart, funny, Jewish guy who cooks―and, bonus, he’s tall and handsome. My crush developed after I began reading his column, long before the Times added accompanying videos and I knew what he looked like or heard his mellifluous voice. My feelings developed slowly. I wasn’t interested in him because of something as shallow as physical beauty. Every man I’ve ever been attracted to because of the way he looked has turned out to be a complete dick. There are no exceptions to this phenomenon, and this goes back as far as the 5th grade. MB is a great recipe writer and cook who is always ready to crack wise and makes cooking accessible, fun and easy. Sigh.
For as long as I can remember, the thought of making candy petrified me. There was a Minimalist column a few years ago on peanut brittle. I read the recipe, watched the video on the Times site, and I made peanut brittle. Easy and delicious. I am not so blinded by passion, though, that I can discard my picky eating habits. For me MB’s recipes fall into three categories: 1. Perfect as is; 2. Needs some adjusting, but then perfect; and 3. Yuck. Will not attempt. Recipes in the third category are rare, and though I may not attempt them, they sometimes inspire me despite their grossness.
A few weeks ago MB did a Minimalist column and video the subject of which was a vegan Mexican Chocolate Pudding made with tofu. Now, I’m all about the vegan love, but I. hate. tofu. While I was watching him concoct this pudding and debating whether I really had to throw up or just felt like it, I got the idea for a Mexican chocolate chip cookie. I wrote the recipe and later that morning baked my first batch of New Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies, which were a big hit in this hizzy.
I’m happy to share with you today the product that was born of something that initially nauseated me. I don’t hold that tofu pudding against Mark Bittman. There should be ample room for differing tastes and opinions in any relationship. Even when those relationships are imaginary.
New Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies
These are vegan in honor of the First Annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Week, which runs through June 28. It’s a very cool event sponsored by Compassion for Animals, a Washington, D.C.-area grass-roots group that “works to reduce human-caused harm to animals, primarily through educating people on animal-friendly lifestyles and cultivating empathy and respect for the nonhumans with whom we share the earth.” You have to love an animal-rights group that not only organizes a worldwide bake sale but also knows not to end sentences with a preposition.
Please use real maple syrup when you make these. No corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors are needed. These are also really good for ice cream sandwiches if you are so inclined. Use soy or coconut milk ice cream to keep the vegan theme going. If you want more heat, use more chile powder. I used chopped, toasted almonds in the first batch I made, and the general consensus was that the batch with almonds was superior to the batch without. I made them optional here, so listen to your heart. That’s what I always do.
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal or finely ground almonds
½ cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground New Mexico chile pepper (or another mild ground chile)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) Earth Balance or other vegan margarine, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup vegan chocolate chips
½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped (optional, but extremely delicious)
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line baking sheet with parchment. If you don’t want to use parchment, no worries, just don’t grease the baking sheet.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chile powder. In large bowl, whisk together Earth Balance, maple syrup, sugars, applesauce and vanilla. Stir flour mixture into butter-sugar mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Stir in almonds, if using.
3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.