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Why This Recipe Works

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. 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. 

Makes 16 cookies

Not all semisweet chocolate chips are vegan, so check ingredient lists carefully. Use processed almond butter for the best texture; natural almond butter will make the cookies too greasy, and they will spread too much.

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1½ 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
⅓ cup unsalted creamy almond butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups (7½ ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

1. 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.

2. 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.)

3. 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.

4. 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.)

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