published about 3 hours ago
Whether you’re looking to dip your toe into vegan baking or are new to baking in general, these easy vegan cookies are the perfect place to start. They’re chewy and fudgy — practically verging into brownie territory — and are packed with chocolate flavor through and through. Toasted walnuts add crunch (and help them bake up thicker), while a sprinkle of flaky sea salt makes them sing. Bake off a batch to share with friends, or stash the dough balls in the freezer to treat your future self.
A Vegan Cookie for Chocolate-Lovers Only
While I named these cookies “double chocolate” for their chocolate-y base and chunks of chocolate throughout, there are actually four types of chocolate going on here: Dutch-processed cocoa powder, chopped dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs.
Dutch-process cocoa powder lends the best chocolate flavor out of all types of cocoa powder, and gives these cookies their nice dark brown finish. The chopped chocolate and chips give the cookies depth, and ensure you have molten chocolate in every bite. Just be sure to check the package to make sure they’re dairy-free! The cocoa nibs add texture, as well as a cocoa-fruitiness, but you can swap in more walnuts if you’d like.
3 Key Ingredients for the Best Vegan Chocolate Cookies
These cookies taste, look, and feel exactly like a chocolate cookie made with butter and eggs. Here are a few key ingredients that help make that happen.
- Vegan butter: While some vegan cookie recipes use coconut or other oils, I like to make these with vegan butter. It’s easy to work with and gives the cookies their soft, fudgy texture. Look for the stick kind (Earth Balance is the most common). If you’d rather use coconut oil, see the Recipe Notes.
- Vegan/organic sugar: Did you know that many store-bought cane sugars aren’t technically vegan? That’s because some commercial sugars use bone char in the production process. Look for granulated and brown sugars that are labeled vegan or organic — certified organic sugar cannot use bone char.
- Espresso powder: A little espresso powder amps up the chocolate flavor in desserts without making them taste like coffee. I like to keep a little package of instant espresso powder in the pantry specifically for making chocolate sweets.
These fudgy vegan cookies are practically verging into brownie territory, and are packed with chocolate flavor through and through.
- 10 tablespoons
(1 1/4 sticks) vegan stick butter
- 3 ounces
vegan dark chocolate (70 to 75% cocoa)
- 1/2 cup
toasted walnuts (optional)
- 1 2/3 cups
- 1/3 cup
Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1/4 teaspoon
instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 2/3 cup
packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup
- 1/4 cup
unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond, oat, or soy
- 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 2/3 cup
semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup
cocoa nibs (optional)
Flaky salt, for sprinkling
Cut 10 tablespoons vegan butter into 10 pieces. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer) and let sit at room temperature until softened, about 1 hour.
Break 3 ounces vegan dark chocolate into large pieces with your hands and place on a cutting board. Chop into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch (about 2/3 cup). If using walnuts, chop 1/2 cup toasted walnuts into pieces the same size.
Sift 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder if using into a medium bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and whisk to combine.
Add 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar to the vegan butter. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat until well-combined (it will look curdled), about 1 minute.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until most of the flour is incorporated. Add the chopped chocolate, walnuts, 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup cocoa nibs if using. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula and mix by hand just until combined. The dough will be thick and sticky like chocolate frosting.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a silicone lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 375ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Scoop the dough out in 2-tablespoon portions or with a #30 cookie scoop (about 1 1/4 ounces or 34 grams each). Roll each portion into a ball with your hands. Place on the baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart, 9 per baking sheet. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand until a scant 2 inches wide. Sprinkle the cookies with a little flaky salt. Refrigerate any remaining cookie dough.
Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies have spread, are set around the edges, and the centers are no longer shiny, 4 to 7 minutes more (do not overbake so you get a chewy, almost brownie-like texture).
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat baking the remaining cookie dough on a cooled baking sheet (you can reuse the parchment or mat).
Make ahead: The dough can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated until ready to shape and bake. Alternatively, form the cookie dough into balls, flatten, and sprinkle with flaky salt. Freeze on the baking sheet until solid. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake the cookies directly from frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time.
Smaller cookies: If you prefer smaller cookies, make 1 -tablespoon cookie dough balls and bake for about 8 minutes per batch.
Vegan butter substitute: These cookies can be made with refined coconut oil instead of vegan butter. Swap the butter for melted coconut oil and make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. Once the dough is made, skip chilling. Form into balls, place on the baking sheet, flatten slightly, and sprinkle with salt. Freeze on the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, then bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Gluten-free: To make the cookies gluten-free, swap the flour for a oneto one all-purpose gluten-free flour blend.
Storage: The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Laurel is a food writer, recipe developer, and editor. She is the author of four cookbooks, one of which was a #2 best-seller of 2017.