Perfecting the Vegan Cookie

by Sarah on February 21, 2012 · 20 comments

I think I’m getting close to making the perfect vegan cookie.

 When Mama Smart ate one over the weekend, followed it up with a sampling of (local chocolatier) Gearhart’s amazing chocolate truffles, and concluded that “the cookie was better,” I knew I was on to something.

It all started after Lauren sent me those Cherry Almond Cookies made from a recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Considering that after they spent two (or more) weeks traveling around the east coast via the US Postal Service they were still some of the best cookies I’d ever eaten, you know they were good. I tried once to replicate the deliciousness–with the standard Smart Kitchen “can’t leave well enough alone” substitutions–and while the Strawberry Pancake Cookies were good….they weren’t great.

But these? These are great.

The inspiration for these (Vegan) Fig & Walnut Cookies came from my February Blogger Pen Pal, Karen. As soon as she admitted that her secret celebrity crush was Will Smith, I knew I had to help her “get figgy with it.”*

*And yes, that probably would have been the title of this post…if I hadn’t already used it before. I don’t know what it was about this go ’round that made my vegan cookie adaptation so much the better. Perhaps I whisked the oil-flax-sugar-almond milk combo just that much harder with my fork?Or maybe it was adding the subtle hint of cardamom* to the whole-wheat pastry flour that did it?

*a spice which I have, by the way, decided is incredibly underrated for its abilities to elevate a baked goodI guess it could have been the chunky texture of the walnuts–chosen solely for their current status as the cheapest nut to by in bulk (and available even more inexpensively when already chopped…a bonus for this lazy baker).But really, it probably just came down to the fact that this time I didn’t accidentally dump 1/3 of the remaining contents of my maple extract into the batter.Whatever it was…these babies turned from dough* to delicious in a matter of (about 12 to 15) minutes.

*Not that the dough wasn’t good on it’s own…They even had the honor of christening the legitimate cooling rack I finally gave in and purchased.You might think that a cookie has to have chocolate to be considered the pinnacle of perfection. But I disagree. [Although don't think I won't try numerous variations on these in the future. Y'all know me better than that by now. :) ]

I’m not saying these are perfect. But I’m getting pretty darn close.

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(Vegan) Fig & Walnut Cookies

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground golden flax
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanila extract
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves and pieces
  • 3/4 dried Turkish figs, chopped (about 10 whole)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together oil, sugars, flax, extract, and almond milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and spices.
  4. Mix together dry ingredients with sugar/oil mixture until you have a thick dough.
  5. Stir in walnuts and figs.
  6. Roll dough into 18-20 balls and place onto parchment-paper lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bottoms are browned and tops are slightly golden.
  8. Cool completely on wire racks before storing. [Please note, I didn't say anything about cooling completely before eating.]

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count February 21, 2012 at 8:35 am

Mmmm…she said Fig again…these sound incredible, I have to make them.

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Tricia @ Saving room for dessert February 21, 2012 at 9:09 am

I am making these! Do you think I could substitute Almond Flour or Coconut Flour for the whole wheat? Yum! Have a great week teaching, creating and having fun!

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Sarah February 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

You could try it with almond or coconut flour…but I bet the coconut flour would dry them out. I’m not sure about the almond flour, though!

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Liz @ IHeartVegetables February 21, 2012 at 10:16 am

Vegan cookies can be tricky! I feel like they have a lot of the same problems as gluten free cookies (really crumbly, kind of dry, etc) but I have had a few vegan successes! (I made some almond butter cookies that turned out great!)

Good luck! :) Those look like a winner for sure!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

I was so excited when you tweeted this to me this morning!!! They do look pretty perfect. I’ll be trying these in 6 days (post-cleanse).

Totally agree with you on the cardamom – I’ve been adding it to shakes and chia pudding lately and it adds a whole new dimension.

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers February 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I’m surprised that the dough isn’t good on its own. I’m a true cookie-dough monster through and through, but I’ll take your word for it. The cookies still look fantastic, and I’d bet they’d go really well with my pumpkin spice decaf chai tea at night.

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Sarah February 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Oh no, the dough WAS delicious on its own…I think I just wrote that confusingly. :)

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Ashley @ Freckles & Spice February 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I’ve been wanting to buy Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. But maybe I will save the $ for cookie ingredients and just use your base here.
And I’m glad you love the cardamom. It is far an away my fav spice. My mom’s bf family is middle eastern, which is my fav cuisine as well, and they taught me the wonders of cardamom. I love it for both sweet and savory dishes.

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Hannah@mindrunningwild February 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm

doesn’t it just make it better to make puns? that’s a good one. also when recipes work out. that’s a good thing as well. AND they’re vegan so you can eat them raw? SCORE ;)

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teabagginit February 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

i add a sprinkle of cardamom to my coffee grounds before brewing (wow, just typing that made me feel like martha stewart) … it’s a good thing! :)

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Linda January 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Can’t wait to try that :)

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Lindsay @ biking before bed February 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm

These do look pretty close to perfection! I bought cardamom for one recipe and of course I still have the whole jar (minus 1/8 tsp) left. For some reason it intimidates me… but cookies are always good at helping overcome fears.

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Sarah February 23, 2012 at 6:43 am

Cardamom IS intimidating…it can quickly overpower a recipe. Ease your way into it with just a pinch. Then a taste. Then a pinch more.

Cookie dough is the best way to taste test I think.

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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean February 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm

i’m happy to be your cookie sampler any time :)

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Sarah February 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

Hallelujah! I was looking for one of those…

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Healthiful Balance February 22, 2012 at 6:25 am

Wow, what awesome looking cookie!
*takes one*

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Jen @ Homemadeadventure February 23, 2012 at 6:41 am

These look so good! I need to get cardamom to add to my spice cabinet!

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Sarah February 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

Yes, you do! ;)

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Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli February 27, 2013 at 4:49 am

Oh my LORD!!! *thud* <- Yep that was me falling out of my chair! If I broke my hip, I'm sending you my hospital bill! ;)

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Linda January 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Found recipe because I was out of eggs & had some figs I wanted to use. Good, but if I had had pecans they would have been great! The cardamom is a great idea, I didn’t have that either so used pumpkin pie spice instead. I will definitely get some cardamom. I have always loved but, didn’t really know how to use it.

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