Full disclosure: I am not an awesome cookie maker (but this recipe is killer, trust). They’re definitely one of my favourite go-to treats. Sweet little bundles of love that fit into a tin and can be made a million ways– what’s not to like? Ahem, when I’m making them, I could name a few things. Mine are usually too spread-y/greasy or too tight/remarkably sandy. Rare are the instances of the dreamy in-between state. I always prefer coconut oil as a replacement for butter in vegan cookie-making but jeez, that stuff is temperamental. In sum: I approach cookie baking with a… um, decidedly fearful and stress-y mindset. So naturally I thought it would be cool to sign up for a giant cookie swap with other food bloggers. Oh and the receiving date for the cookies was during my vacation. Perfect.
It all worked out fine though. The recipe was a success and they were made on time. I just hope they shipped okay (total cookie-sending first timer). I kind of took inspiration from some Christmas cookies that my grandmother makes every year. Pretty hard to go wrong when you have that kind of passed-down wisdom backing you up. She makes one sweet shortbread recipe and garnishes/rolls/cuts it a bunch of different ways. My favourite selection was and still is these cut-out rectangular ones with a nice smear of (surprise!) chocolate icing on top. Buttery and chocolaty. Very reassuring and cozy words in my vocabulary.
Not wanting to risk a messy frosting massacre in a packing box, I went for a ganache shell-like cover instead. I also slipped some orange zest into the cookie itself, recalling those fantastic Terry’s chocolate oranges that always pop up at Holiday time. These came out pretty adorable. Little chocolate covered domes with a sparkly dusting of sugar on top. Worthy of note: there’s a decent amount of sugar in this recipe. It has a pretty crucial role in cookie-making, providing a bulk of the structure. You do want well-structured cookies, right? Given my history with baking them, a little sugar is totally worth it.
Update! I exchanged with the lovely Courtney from C & C Cakery all the way in beautiful British Columbia (cannot believe there were only two of us specifying vegan!). She made me an amazing assortment of goodies that you can check out here.
festive orange-scented sugar cookies with chocolate ganache
ganache recipe from Post Punk Kitchen (aka all vegan baking woes answered) with one teeny addition of coconut oil to help it set
makes: 18-20 cookies
notes: From my experience, the cookies will not spread as much if you have the coconut oil in a warm, but not entirely liquid state. It should be easily scoop-able and similar in density to really soft butter. The baking time will vary based on the state of the coconut oil going into the dough. Anywhere from 13-20 minutes. Keeping an eye on them is a better strategy than setting a timer.
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp soft coconut oil
1/2 cup natural sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup white spelt flour (or all purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp liquid coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 medium-sized baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the coconut oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (or hand mixer or vigorously by hand) until fully combined and kind of frothy looking. Mix in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat and white spelt flour with the baking powder and orange zest.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the coconut oil/sugar mixture with the mixer on low. Stop mixing when the dry ingredients are just absorbed into oil and sugar.
Take 1 tablespoon-sized scoops of dough and roll into balls. Space balls of dough about an inch apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and slightly browned on top. Set aside to cool.
Make the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Lower it to a simmer and add the chocolate chips, maple syrup and coconut oil (a splash of Grand Marnier would be rather appropriate here). Whisk until chocolate is fully melted, about 3 minutes. Transfer ganache to another container and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Dip tops of cooled cookies into the ganache and set on parchment lined sheets. Place sheets in the fridge to set the ganache a bit quicker.
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