America’s Test Kitchen Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
July 14, 2017

America's Test Kitchen Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Full Helping

I suspected I’d be a fan of America’s Test Kitchen’s Vegan for Everybody the moment I saw its title. Putting aside the fact that I’ve come to rely on ATK (and Cook’s Illustrated) for detailed cooking guidance, and putting aside Vegan for Everybody‘s awesome roster of recipes, I love the theme. I really do believe that everybody, no matter his or her culture of origin, health needs, or tastes, can find something to cherish in vegan cooking—especially when that cooking results in such delicious treats as these vegan chocolate chip cookies.

America's Test Kitchen Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Full Helping
America's Test Kitchen Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Full Helping

America’s Test Kitchen is known for its rigorous recipe testing process. The company describes itself as being “passionate about cooking—discovering why recipes work and why they don’t—and sharing what we learn to help everyone cook with confidence.” Needless to say, recipes on the site and in Cook’s Illustrated are always accompanied by plenty of detailed guidance; they don’t just tell you what to do, but also why each step is worth doing. The recipes are reliable, in part because they’ve gone through so much testing and experimentation on the way to your recipe box.

When I saw that Vegan for Everybody, which is the company’s new vegan cookbook, includes a chocolate chip cookie recipe, I knew that it was going to be a keeper, a CCC good enough to become my go-to. And it is.

The authors of Vegan for Everybody have this to say about the process of developing the cookies:

When it came to developing a vegan version of the classic chocolate chip cookie, we’d settle for nothing less than perfection; the recipe had to produce a cookie that would be moist and chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges, with deep notes of toffee. We started by baking 11 popular recipes, and we were shocked at the assortment of hockey pucks in front of us. Some cookies didn’t spread at all, while others melted into greasy wafers; some tasted like cardboard, while others had funky off-flavors; and some were gelatinous, while others crumbled apart. We had our work cut out for us.

I liked reading about the steps that the team took to get the cookies they wanted:

Starting with the test kitchen’s classic recipe, we removed the egg and found that we simply didn’t need a substitute for it. While many cookie recipes call for a mix of white and brown sugars, we opted to use all brown; it gave the cookies a richer flavor and its moisture provided a softer center. But tasters wanted more chew. As it turned out, to achieve a chewier cookie, we had to leave it alone. Letting the mixed dough rest for 1 to 4 hours (no longer) gives the proteins and starches in the flour a jump start at breaking down; meanwhile, the sugar dissolves, hydrates, and later retains this moisture better during baking, preventing the cookie from becoming brittle. Lastly, the surprising addition of a little almond butter added the toffee-like richness that butter typically provides a cookie.

True to promise, these are chocolate chip cookies for chewy cookie lovers (and I’m one of those). They’re just crispy enough at the edges and hold their shape, but the interior of the cookie is all chewiness, in the best possible way.

The dough resting is a trick I’ve tried in other vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes before, and it really does make a difference. I opted for four hours—the longer end of the recipe’s suggested rest time—and was so happy with my results. Here’s the recipe.

America's Test Kitchen Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Author - America's Test Kitchen
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 12 minutes
Yields: 16 cookies**

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 10 ounces all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅓ cups packed 9⅓ ounces organic light brown sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil melted and cooled
  • 6 tablespoons water room temperature
  • cup unsalted creamy almond butter*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cups 7½ ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Instructions

  • Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Whisk sugar, melted oil, water, almond butter, and vanilla in large bowl until well combined and smooth. Using rubber spatula, stir flour mixture into oil mixture until just combined; fold in chocolate chips.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before portioning.)
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons, then arrange dough mounds 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.
  • Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until light golden and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool completely on sheet. Serve. (Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Notes

*According to ATK, it's really important to use the processed/creamy type of commercial almond butter here, rather than the all-natural type you can grind at health stores or any type that separates considerably in the jar.
**I made a slightly smaller cookie and had a yield of 26.

Much as I love ATK for baking guidance, Vegan for Everybody goes far beyond baking and dessert. It’s a rich, diverse collection that includes a lot of the recipes that longtime plant-based eaters would probably recommend to friends or family who are testing a vegan diet out: curries, stews, grain bowls, veggie burgers.

The book’s pinto beet burger is on my list of recipes I’m excited to try, as is the farro salad with sugar snap peas and white beans, the barley bowl with roasted carrots, the spaghetti and meatless meatballs, and the ultimate chili. (The latter is made with bulgur, which I’ve never tried in a chili.) Apart from cookies, the book is full of such baked goodness as currant scones, drop biscuits, aquafaba meringues, and French apple tart.

Each recipe includes a headnote that explains exactly why the chosen ingredients have been used and tells you a little more about the recipe’s logic and mechanics. The book isn’t just a collection of reliable, accessible recipes: it’s also a really useful primer in vegan cooking overall, which means it’s especially useful for the new vegan or vegetarian eater.

The opening pages of the book feature general vegan cooking guidance, including a short guide to working with aquafaba that I found incredibly useful. Much of the information is also available at the Vegan for Everybody webpage. I particularly loved reading about the experience of one ATK employee (vegan for 7 years now), who was able to experience her workplace in a brand new way through this project!

If you’d like to check out Vegan for Everybody and its crowd-pleasing, classic list of recipes, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen would love to share a copy with you. Just enter below to win a complimentary cookbook. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers only, and I’ll pick the winner a week from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Maybe these cookies can brighten the weekend ahead of you! I hope so, and I’ll see you over the weekend for the usual roundup.

xo

Categories: Recipes, Cookies, Soy Free

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    88 Comments
  1. Hi! Can’t wait to try these. For the All Purpose Flour, is it just 2 cups or 2 cups + 10 ounces?

  2. Can you please share recipe ingredients by weight rather than volume? It might be too much to ask for, but if it could be metric, the world would be at peace.

    • Hi Luke, since I didn’t develop the recipe, I haven’t weighed each ingredient. But it’s definitely possible that the ATK staff has posted metric measurements online!

  3. Hi Gena,
    I’m new to your site, and obviously this recipe was posted some time ago, but thought I’d throw out a comment in hopes of a reply… Can’t wait to try this recipe. Just wondering (and you may not know) if you think the Almond Butter is purely added for flavor, or if it is critical to the texture… My son is allergic to nuts (except coconut and macadamia nuts), and also allergic to seeds (such as Sunflower), so that doesn’t leave me options for an Almond Butter substitute. I could try making Macadamia nut butter (I can’t trust commercial ones due to possible cross-contamination with other nuts). I may try making it without, but just curious as to your opinion on the matter… I’ve tried about a half-dozen different “Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipes so far, and haven’t yet found that “keeper” recipe, so hoping this is it (and I know ATK recipes are generally well thought out). Thank you!

    • Hi Liza!

      I totally understand wanting to clarify. Unfortunately, I don’t know for sure, but my experience with ATK recipes is that each ingredient serves a definite purpose. Also, the authors do clarify a type of almond butter, which leads me to believe that the ingredient is “sensitive to” variation, if that makes sense 🙂 You could definitely try a substitution, but I just can’t give an opinion on whether it will work out. Maybe this is motivation for me to formulate my own that’s nut free! 🙂

      G

      • Hi Gena, Made this recipe today and subbed 1/4 c. oat flour for the almond butter (I honestly couldn’t think of a good substitute, so I just decided the oat flour may firm up the dough as much as the almond butter might?)… Also added 1/2 tsp almond essence (since it doesn’t actually contain any almond) to get the flavor in there. Cookies actually turned out pretty decent (I posted a photo on Pinterest, attached to your recipe, if you’re interested in seeing my results). I’ll continue to try out different options for the almond butter, but all in all, I’d say it’s the best recipe I’ve come by so far!! Thanks again!

      • Thanks so much for your response… Yes, a nut-free recipe would be awesome! I may give it a try with homemade Macadamia Nut butter, or maybe just without the nut butter at all and see how it goes. I will be sure to follow up with my results! Thanks again!

  4. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but 2 cups of flour should be 8.5 ounces (240 grams), not 10 ounces. I saw someone in the comments say they needed to add more flour, so I guess I’ll go with 10 ounces and cross my fingers.

  5. 5 stars
    Happy to report these turned out well substituting canola oil for coconut oil! For almond lovers like myself: I folded in some chopped dark chocolate-covered almonds instead of chocolate chips, and the double-almond combination was heavenly.

    • Update: after making a second batch, I found that when using canola oil, I preferred the cookies made with 1/3 cup; 1/2 cup was a bit too oily.

  6. I am concerned with consuming too much coconut oil and try to avoid when possible, due to the high-saturated fat content and the fact there hasn’t been enough research to determine if plant-based saturated fat is safe or just as bad as the one found in animal fat. That being said, until I am certain of the long term effects, for this recipe can I substitute coconut oil with something else? Perhaps earth balance vegan butter which has less saturated fat than coconut oil??

    • Hi there! This recipe is fairly precise, but I suspect that you can substitute grapeseed, safflower, or canola oil if you don’t make any other changes. I hope it works out!

  7. Lookie what I found on the site re these cookies…”Use processed almond butter for the best texture; natural almond butter will make the cookies too greasy, and they will spread too much.”

    So we only use natural AB – no sugar, no salt. Unprocessed …. as close to
    Plant based as we can get. So that is why our cookies spread like lava! We needed to use the processed kind…. well that AB is cheaper! Lol.

    • Sam, I should have seen and carried that note over! I’m sorry that I didn’t, but I’m so glad you caught it.

  8. So these didn’t turn out for me, but I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, so I expected it would happen. I subbed all-purpose gluten-free flour for the AP flour and reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup. The dough was very dry and crumbly. I added more water, but apparently not enough. I was able to smoosh the dough together into balls to bake, but they never spread.
    So I would tell anyone who needs to use GF flour like me to expect to add more liquid.
    I’ll try them again with more water and/or coconut oil next time.

    • I was wondering about a gluten-free version of these. My guess was they wouldn’t work out great as resting the dough is recommended. Did you every try it again with more moisture? Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    My favorite plant-based meal is Tuscan Vegetable Soup. I make it and give to friends and family.

  10. I love making vegan cookies for non-vegans! Snickerdoodles and Krispie Chip cookies are always pleasing.

  11. 5 stars
    These were good! I’m always looking for that perfect chocolate chip cookie (I bake cookies to help with anxiety rn, looooots of cookies). Sadly I was a little short on almond butter and thought maybe I could split the difference with coconut milk, so obviously the texture didn’t quite hit the same level of *utter perfection* I see in your photos. I know this almond butter business is the right track though, and I’ll be returning to this recipe to perfect it for my weird oven. Thanks for providing the perfect recipe to give us a taste of what this fascinating cookbook has to offer!

    • 5 stars
      Ok made these again following the recipe exactly… Just perfect. Perfect!!! Crisp edges, chewy fading to tender in the middle, I have died of chocolate chip cookie perfection.

  12. I make a red lentil curry that is absolutely delicious – my husband requests it time and time again!

  13. I always share my peanut sauce recipe with vegan and non-vegan folks! Best in pasta, zoodles, and pizzas.

  14. 5 stars
    The ATK website looks awesome-I’ve been vegan for over 3 years now and can’t believe I haven’t come across it sooner! I shared a vegan cupcake recipe with my mom years ago and now she makes them every year for my birthday (yes, I’m almost 30 and my mom still makes me cupcakes haha). Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  15. I always love sharing some sort of cheese sauce/dip … everyone I share it with is always so blown away how amazing it can taste without a lick of actual cheese! 🙂

  16. I love to have a make your own sushi bar when I have guests over. Although I give healthy and vegan filling options, I feel like everyone enjoys it more because they make their own. For some reason giving people options and having them make their own healthy food, they enjoy it a lot more.

  17. These cookies look just perfect! My favorite vegan recipe to share is a Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole. I’ve made it for a few family get togethers and everyone always raves about it!

  18. I love how these cookies rely on good, basic ingredients to make a delicious version of the classic!

  19. I’d share the lasagna recipe from Go Dairy Free, I’ve served it to meat lovers (with Field Roast sausage) and it’s always a hit. These cookies look great! I have ATK’s vegetarian book and would really like to add the vegan one to my collection.

  20. These sound amazing – will be making them with my kids in the next couple days! I’m slowly working toward committing to a vegan diet – after a couple vegan cleanse and many pounds lost, I see that it’s best for me, but committing to a life without cheese is hard for me to wrap my mind around. Knowing amazing cookies are available sure does help, though!

  21. I love sharing a “stuffed shells” with tofu ricotta recipe. Everyone is always shocked to find out there was no cheese, just tofu!

  22. I’ll be making these tonight! I share a chocolate chip pumpkin loaf recipe and a black bean/mango/quinoa salad recipe both pretty equally.

  23. thanks for sharing this recipe! i’m a vegetarian who would like to try giving up more animal products. i love to bake and will definitely attempt this recipe!

  24. One recipe that I share is for the broccoli soup in Isa Does It. Everyone who tries it loves it!

  25. I share Oh She Glow’s “Holiday Soup for the Soul” with everyone I know. Great giveaway, I love ATK’s vegetarian cookbook so this one is probably great too (especially since the vegetarian one doesn’t include desserts!).E

  26. Why must recipes for baking include coconut oil and coconut butter? It is all saturated fat and worse for you that butter, beef fat and lard! The recipe looked wonderful for an occasional treat until I got to the melted coconut oil. So disappointed! I will not be making this one.

    I like to share my kale salad recipe.

  27. I’ve been a huge fan of ATK’s vegetarian cookbook, which has a ton of great recipes that are easily veganizable. I also got the new “Vegan for Everyone” and love it, too.

    A couple days ago, I made the fudgy brownies, and they are SO good!

  28. 5 stars
    Those cookies look incredible! I usually give a little cringe when I see vegan cookies because I’ve had so many bad ones. These look perfect! Vegan for Everyone sounds like a must-have kitchen resource.

  29. The recipe I most often share is a cheater pad thai. I love ATK process and I’m excited to see this cookbook!

  30. As a self-proclaimed cookie monster, I must admit that this recipe looks absolutely delicious. Looking forward to trying it out!

  31. What beautiful cookies and a great review! Your pictures are stunning. I love how devoted they are to testing all of the recipes until they are absolutely perfect and how thoughtful they are about creating them.

  32. Yes, please!! I love to share my soup recipes because they’re basically impossible to screw up and so comforting and nourishing.

  33. I love sharing a peanut butter noodles recipe. Who doesn’t love and have peanut butter noodles?

  34. One of my favorite plant-based summer recipes is a really simple coconut milk and banana ice cream base. I’ll add additional fruit or pureed winter squash, herbs, and/or spices, but no additional sugar. It’s really creamy and not too sweet. Very refreshing.

  35. Also a big fan of ATK here! I’m so happy their on the vegan bandwagon for this cookbook, and definitely want to check it out.

  36. I can’t wait to try these cookies! I’ve perfected many vegan versions of cookies (snickerdoodle, gingerbread, etc) but the perfect chocolate chip cookie has eluded me. They have all turned out good, but not EPICALLY great – the kind you swoon over.
    Thanks for the chance to win the cookbook too. 🙂

  37. I was so excited when I first heard about this cookbook! I used to watch America’s Test Kitchen on PBS religiously. I’m looking forward to trying these cookies out for myself.

  38. The taste.. life changing. The consistency… a big pile of oily broken cookies. They just fall apart. We added more flour… and believe me the taste is so good, …. what’s up? Sad vegan babies and Momma on Movie Night….

    • 5 stars
      I’ve made these a bunch of times, it’s my favorite recipe! The differences in consistency of the dough, I believe, comes from the almond butter brand you use. So the person who had oily/wet/crumbly dough that wouldn’t stick together I think had an oilier and thinner almond butter (like Trader Joe’s). I’ve had the best experience with homemade almond butter that isn’t drippy at all — you could hold it upside on a spoon/in a jar and it doesn’t go anywhere. Hope this helps someone! 🙂

    • Oh no! What a bummer — I’ve had consistent results so far. I think you probably did well to add more flour, but I’m not sure why that didn’t do the trick. I’m really sorry they didn’t turn out!

      • It’s okay :). I notice that the bag of crumbles is gone!!! Little vegan fingers…., ;). We’re your batches too oily, too. It was odd… crumbled apart but really oily, too. All good! We watched Ernest and Celestine 🙂 all are happy ..

  39. Can’t wait to try these, and they don’t sound like I can mess up too badly. I don’t have the best record when it comes to making cookies…..I seem to burn them. 🙂

  40. I love to share Alissa Cohen’s Berry Soup with people. It is one of my very favorite foods to eat.

  41. 5 stars
    I’m not vegan, but always struggle for baked goods to provide when vegan friends are coming over. This looks like a great option!

  42. One recipe I like to share is for a chickpea-flour quiche. I make it for most potlucks and even non-vegans like it.
    I’m so glad ATK released this cookbook. I stopped listening to the podcast and reading the magazine once I turned vegan. I’m glad they applied their rigorous recipe testing to make perfect vegan chocolate chip cookies. Can’t wait to try these! Thanks for sharing!