By KD Angle-Traegner, Founder & Editor
Poll time! Which #vegan treat do you prefer?
— Your Daily Vegan (@YourDailyVegan) January 24, 2016
I have a recipe for a vegan chocolate chip cookie that’s super easy to make, so I decided to use it as my base. I had everything I needed but the chocolate chips, so off to the store I went. I live in a small town with a few stores that carry vegan chocolate chips, so I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t be able to find them. I stopped off at a TJ Maxx on my way to buy chocolate chips and happened upon a large bag of organic cacao nibs for a really good price, so I snatched them up. I decided I would use those in place of chocolate chips. Now that I had everything I needed, I headed home.
My wife loves spicy food. If a dish has a hot pepper or hot sauce in it, she’s happy. Even though we’ve been together for 19 years, we’ve only been married for a few months. So technically, this will be our first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple. It’s kinda cute to start celebrating firsts again ? I thought that I would try my hand at making her a spicy cookie as a special Valentine’s Day treat. Using my basic chocolate chip cookie as a base, I added healthy dose of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and a dash of cocoa powder. I didn’t know it at the time but this is a classic combination in Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies. Brilliant! I also used himalayan pink salt in place of regular white, soymilk in place of almond milk, and a tiny bit more molasses because molasses is good. What I was left with was a very dark, very thick batter.
I used a Medium Cookie Scoop to make 16 cookies which I spaced evenly on a baking sheet. Then I used the back of a fork and gave each top a little press. I love using a cookie scoop because I get evenly sized cookies. If you don’t have a scoope, you can just use a spoon. The medium cookie scoop measures out to about 1 1/2 tablespoons so just try to get the same amount of dough for each cookie. Also, don’t smash down your cookies. This recipe makes nice thick cookies so you don’t want to smash them flat. Just give them a little press. Bake them for 12 – 14 minutes in a 350 degree oven and you get something that looks like this:
Come on! These Vegan Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Cookies look amazing, right? The end result was a nice thick cookie that wasn’t as dense as you might think. They’re not overly sweet and have a great depth of flavor. Fair warning, these are pretty spicy. I don’t think it’s too much, but I like spice. If you don’t care for a lot of heat, you can half the amount of cayenne pepper that you use. The cacao nibs add a nutty chocolatey taste that I absolutely love, I’m so glad that I stumbled upon them and decided to use them over chocolate. But if all you have are chocolate chips, by all means use them. You’ll get a delicious cookie either way.
And they are so pretty! Just look how cute:
I try not to play favorites when it comes to cookies, but if I did these Vegan Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Cookies might top the list. I served them up to my wife (in a little linen heart gift bag because, hello adorable) who proclaimed them to be the perfect “adult cookies” – and she’s right. They’re not your average everyday vegan cookie. They’re complex cookies with a big kick that pairs excellently with coffee (or rum), and makes an spicy valentine for a spicy someone you love.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used pink himalayan salt)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup soymilk
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and cayenne pepper into a bowl and mix together until fully combined with no lumps. In a glass measuring cup add canola oil, molasses, vanilla, and soymilk. Whisk together until combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour wet ingredients into the well. Add cacao nibs. Gently fold together until combined. Don't over mix the dough.
- Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, make 16 balls of dough and place on a baking sheet evenly spaced. Use the back of a fork to press each dough ball slightly, creating a cookie shape. Place in preheated oven and bake for 12 - 14 minutes. When the cookies are done, place them on a cooling rack to cool. Makes 16 cookies.
- If you don't care for a lot of heat, use 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of a full teaspoon.