I consider these Vegan Pistachio & Vanilla Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies my greatest contribution to society so far.
- NO SPECIAL FLOURS
- ZERO COCONUT OIL
- NO FLAXSEEDS, CHIA SEEDS, BANANAS OR APPLESAUCE
- FREE FROM COMMERCIAL EGG REPLACERS
These vegan cookies spread beautifully. This is thanks to @sarah_kieffer and her revolutionary #bangonapan pan-banging technique. Finally, the flavours are on another level of spectacular.
The perfect vegan cookie
Describing the qualities of a perfect cookie is almost as subjective as trying to describe what breed of dog is the cutest, which Avenger is the most badass or what the coolest kind of shark is. Everyone will give you a different answer.
My choices are as follows: Soft cookies with crispy edges, golden retrievers, Thor and hammerhead sharks. My momma didn’t raise no fool.
I’ve been testing this recipe for Vegan Pistachio & Vanilla Salt Cookies for a long time. I’m pleased to say that finally, even without eggs and dairy, they’re perfect. This is because the cookies spread beautifully. I’m overjoyed with how this batch turned out.
Moreover, they’re exactly how I like them — thin and crispy around the edges, with soft middles that’s cookie perfection right there. Each one is studded with dark chocolate chips and pistachio nibs. I made my own vanilla salt by infusing flaky Maldon sea salt with fragrant vanilla beans. This was sprinkled on top of the cookies whilst they were still warm, too. Amazing!
It’s honestly the most gorgeous thing. Not to mention, I now want to sprinkle vanilla salt over EVERYTHING!
Things to remember when make Vegan Pistachio & Vanilla Salt Cookies
Rest the cookie dough
Firstly, the cookie dough needs to rest for 24 hours. I know, it’s a test of willpower but in order for the flavours to develop, and the moisture and fats in the dough to hydrate and solidify correctly, this resting period is crucial. Make sure you start the day before if you want a perfectly-spread vegan chocolate chip cookie.
If you bake this dough straight away you’ll find the flavour is less pronounced and the texture is very soft and doughy. It will not have the crispiness and chewiness of rested dough. If you like your cookies to have a melt-in-the-mouth quality, go ahead a bake them straight away. This logic is not the same for all cookie recipes, however. It very much depends on the ingredients you use and how they are combined.
Fat, fat, fat
For example, a cookie made with coconut oil instead of vegan butter (equally proportional in the recipe) will yield a firmer, crispier cookie that spreads much less, even before resting because the vegan butter contains hydrogenated fat (basically fat + water) which also hydrates the dough and evaporates slowly whereas coconut oil is considered a pure, non-hydrogenated fat. Again, the final result depends on the combination of all the ingredients in a recipe, as each modification will produce different cookies in both taste and texture.
I’ve tried what feels like every trick in the book when it comes to replacing eggs in baking recipes (20 years+ experience), from boxed commercial egg replacers, to soy-based alternatives, applesauce, bananas, yoghurts and the oh-so fashionable aquafaba, flaxseed and chia seed “eggs”. I’m not discrediting the merit of any of them. Their effectiveness at replacing the binding and leavening agents of whole eggs is relative to the food you are making. In short, some egg replacers work better than others, depending on the recipe.
First you need to figure out the purpose of the egg in a particular recipe, and then work out what ingredient/s work best to substitute. For example, in my recipe, a combination of aquafaba, baking soda and cornflour do the job required to achieve my idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. That is to say that the cookie is golden and crispy around the outside and soft and crinkled in the middle.
A note on vegan chocolate
Hit up your favourite health food shop, well-stocked supermarket or online retailer for vegan chocolate chips. My current favourite is Sainsbury’s free from chocolate chips and Ombar Vegan Milk chocolate. If you can’t find vegan chocolate chips, chop up your favourite vegan chocolate bar for delicious chocolate chunk cookies with puddles of melted chocolate. I use two kinds of chocolate in my cookies for a more rounded flavour.
Pimp your Vegan Pistachio & Vanilla Salt Cookies
- Swap the pistachio nibs for chopped roasted hazelnuts or almonds.
- Use spelt flour for extra nuttiness or for a gluten-free version, use gluten free plain flour for a crispy chocolate chip cookie.
- Vanilla beans are important in the flavouring of this recipe but if you can’t get them, replace the vanilla in the dough with 1 tbsp good vanilla extract and sprinkle with plain sea salt flakes.
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- 320 g plain flour
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 200 g vegan butter
- 80 g soft, light brown sugar
- 80 g caster sugar
- 200 ml aquafaba, reduced down to 30ml cold
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 100 g vegan chocolate chips and/or chopped vegan chocolate chunks
- 80 g pistachio nibs or roughly chopped pistachios
For the vanilla sea salt:
- 25 g flaky sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cornflour.
- In a separate bowl, add the vegan butter, sugars and the seeds from the vanilla pod (reserve the pod for the jar of vanilla salt later). Beat until light, pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in the aquafaba until smooth.
- Add half of the flour mixture into the beaten butter mixture and combine. Next, fold in the the rest of the flour mixture until you have a dough. Fold in the chocolate chips and pistachio nibs, reserving some chocolate chips to sprinkle on top halfway through baking.
- Use a medium-sized ice cream scoop or your hands to make the dough balls. Place them on the baking tray in rows leaving a small gap around each one. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours. You could also place into a lined airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.
- To make the vanilla salt, gently mix together the sea salt flakes and vanilla bean seeds. Store in an airtight container along with the scraped vanilla pods used for the salt and cookies.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 170˚C/350˚F. Line three large baking trays with baking parchment. If baking from frozen, add an additional 3 minutes on to the cooking time.
- Place the cold cookie dough balls onto the lined trays with enough room in between each for spreading.
- Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and wearing oven gloves, firmly bang each tray on the worktop a few times to flatten the tops and encourage the cookies to spread. Sprinkle with a few flakes of vanilla salt and more chocolate chips if you like. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for a further 8 minutes (11 minutes if cooking from frozen), until lightly golden around the edges.
- Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool slightly before eating. They’ll firm up as they cool down.
If you like these cookies, you’ll go LOOPY for these Baked Vegan Vanilla Doughnuts. You’re welcome!