(Vegan) Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cookies

THIS RECIPE IS FROM CRUMB: THE BAKING BOOK by RUBY TANDOH

Where most biscuits use butter for tenderness and taste, these use nut oils. I like to use hazelnut oil to complement the hazelnut in the dough, but almond oil also works very well (and is far cheaper) for a gentler, sweeter flavour. You ought to be able to find both almond and hazelnut oils in most large supermarkets. You could swap the nut oil for corn oil or groundnut oil at a push — the texture will still be good, but the flavour will be compromised, so add a tad more vanilla extract if you do so.

You can buy specialist vegan chocolate for these cookies if you want, but you’ll find that most good-quality dark chocolate is vegan anyway, especially those with high-percentage cocoa solids. But do check the ingredients first: all sorts of dairy derived products, amongst them butterfat and milk powder, can be smuggled into cheaper brands. If you’re not fussed about making these cookies vegan, it won’t matter what dark chocolate you use, and you can use dairy milk in place of the specified soya milk.

Makes 14–16

100g soft light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
100ml hazelnut or almond oil
60ml soya milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g plain flour
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
75g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
75g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

2 In a large bowl, beat the sugars, oil and milk vigorously for one minute — this helps to incorporate air and to emulsify the mixture — before stirring in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, mixing for only as long as is necessary to achieve a smooth mixture. Fold in the chocolate chunks and hazelnuts.

3 Using a couple of teaspoons, space heaped spoonfuls of the cookie dough well apart on the baking tray. The cookies probably won’t all fit on one baking tray, so bake in batches if necessary.

4 Bake for around 15–17 minutes in the preheated oven, cooking for as long as it takes for their edges to just begin to lightly brown. Steal a couple while they’re still soft and warm, sandwich a scoop of ice cream between them and eat without shame or restraint.

©Nato Welton, 2014

©Nato Welton, 2014

Crumb: The Baking Book
By Ruby Tandoh