These cookies are dark and rich, soft inside with a crisp outer coating. The essence of what a cookie should be, with the added benefit of being both vegan and gluten-free. The pecan nuts add an extra depth and crunch, something that appeals to me. If you have a nut allergy, though, these can be made without them. Just leave them out of the recipe. I’ve used a general-purpose gluten-free flour, but buckwheat also works well. Indeed, so does regular flour of you have no problems with wheat (you can leave out the xanthan gum if using regular flour). A firmer dough is better for a crunchier biscuit, as opposed to a batter that you would spoon onto a baking tray before cooking. The dough is rolled into balls about the size of a Brussels sprout, and then flattened slightly with the palm of the hand. This is so that they will form the cookie shape as, without doing so, the cookies will come out too thick and a little more like cakes.
They are quick and easy to make and only take 15 minutes in the oven, so they’re great to make on a weekend morning for the kids (or even just for yourself). Give them a try, I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes, plus a short amount of cooling time.
Makes about 24
300g unrefined sugar
300g vegan margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g general purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
100g cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
75g chopped pecans
100ml dairy-free milk
Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C/350F and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Put the sugar and margarine together in a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until you have a light and fluffy mixture. Add the vanilla extract and then whisk for another minute until fully combined. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, xanthan gum, salt, bicarb of soda and cocoa powder together, and then stir in the chocolate and nuts. Add the margarine mixture to the flour mixture, then pour in the dairy-free milk. Bring it all together with your hands to form a sticky brown dough.
Take a spoonful of the dough and roll into a ball, roughly the size of a Brussels sprout, and place it on the baking tray. Repeat the process until you fill up the tray, leaving about 1 ½ inches of space around each dough ball to allow them to spread. Flatten each ball to about a centimetre thick with the palm of your hand and then place near the top of the oven for 15 minutes, or until crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Load up the next tray and do the same all over again, until all of the cookie dough is gone.