The base for these vegan caramel chocolate chip cookies recipe was adapted from Tara O’Brady’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. I first heard about it when Tara was on the Pure Green Magazine Podcast and talked about the recipe being 30 minutes from start to finish, and one that she had obviously labored over with love. After using her version of chocolate chip cookies several times and deeming them the best/easiest I’ve made so far, I knew it was time to change it up just a little bit (aka stuff things inside of it). Dare I say these might be a good alternative to pie for Thanksgiving? I think so!
The beauty of Tara’s recipe is that almost ingredient is probably something you have hanging out in your kitchen at home, especially if you are prone, like myself, to keeping cookie ingredients on hand at all times. I’ve sung the praises of vegan date caramel in the past (especially in ice cream!) and with good reason. It’s easy, fast, and shies away from the usual ingredient list of caramel that includes lots of sugar and corn syrup. Even though I was pretty confident, as I was stuffing the date caramel into the chocolate chip cookie dough, I got a little nervous that this was just too good to be true, there was no way this was going to work, right? Wrong, and I’m so happy about it. The chocolate chip cookie base becomes perfectly crispy around the edges and melted in the center, while still giving that extra surprise from the date caramel center. If you want to start out with just making straight-up vegan chocolate chip cookies with the dough, by all means, go right ahead. I fully expect and support you in starting out with straight up chocolate chip cookies, you do you!
- For the caramel:
- 10 dates (pitted)
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the chocolate chip cookies:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (affiliate link) (or if it’s hot outside, your coconut oil (affiliate link) is probably pre-melted for you, melted)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1 flax ‘egg’ (1 tbs. ground flax seed combined with 3 tablespoons water)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 360 degrees F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat and set aside.
- To make the caramel: In a blender (affiliate link), combine the dates, milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small dish and place in the freezer while preparing the cookie dough.
- To make the chocolate chip cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil (affiliate link), brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, milk and flax egg. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the coconut oil (affiliate link) mixture until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop the cookie dough out in 2-3 tablespoon balls, roll into balls, then flatten down into a small disc, spacing each about an inch apart. Remove the caramel mixture from the fridge and place a dollop of caramel into the center of each disc. Wrap cookie dough around the caramel center, squeeze together and place cookie onto the cookie sheet with the seam down (where you pinched together the dough). Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.
- Note: If you want the caramel center to be easier to handle, freeze for a couple of hours and cut into chunks, then place in cookie dough discs.