In my opinion, the ultimate cookie is crispy on the outside, yielding to a satisfying chew on the inside. This should not be confused with just a soft cookie. It should resist your bite a little and take a few moments to break down in your mouth as it provides burts of flavor with every chew. In contrast, soft cookies tend to be great on the first bite and disintegrate into nothingness soon after, often leaving you feel like you’re chewing on sweet dust. I’m a huge fan of peanut butter but I find the texture of peanut butter cookies to too often fall into the soft-only or even worse, the crumbly camp. If you scale back on their precious peanut butter they retain their chewy qualities but also quickly turn into regular cookies with just a hint of peanut butter flavor. I set out to find the optimum combination of decadent chewiness while keeping a peanut butter punch as intense as possible (and tossing in chocolate chips for good measure). This tightrope walk is extremely dangerous in that it causes you to eat way too many test cookies as you perfect your recipe.
The flax meal in these cookies provides some binding power to keep things moist and chewy and assist in emulsifying the oil-based ingredients with the water-based ingredients. the apple cider vinegar curdles the proteins in the non-dairy milk and adding flavor complexity. The cinnamon, coconut oil, vanilla extract and coconut oil enhance flavors to the point of where vegan butter isn’t necessary. The molasses also assists chew; a similar affect of using brown sugar.
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups unsalted, natural style peanut butter
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). In a small bowl whisk together the flax meal, non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes so the mixture thickens and curdles. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until well incorporated. Set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, peanut butter and coconut oil until well mixed. Mix in the flax meal mixture from step 1 followed by the molasses and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture from Step 2 and mix until just incorporated. You may have to use your hands at this point because the dough will be pretty thick. Use your hands to fold in the chocolate chips.
Form the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place them on the cookie sheet so they're spaced about 2 to 3 inches apart. Use a fork to flatten them to ¾ inch and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking duration. These cookies will not turn golden as they bake so it's important to pay attention to the baking time.
Store the cookies in an air tight container at room temperature for about one week or in the freezer for up to two months. Makes about 22 to 24 Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.