These vegan cookies have it all – crunchy edges and soft middles with pockets of molten dark chocolate, a zesty, herbal kick from lemon verbena leaves and olive oil, nutty undertones from whole wheat flour and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt to top it all off. Adapted from my all-time favourite cookie recipe, Secretly Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from Ovenly.
“Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap." – Barbara Jordan
If the milk was plant-based and the cookies were these freaking amazing vegan versions then yes, just imagine how much better the world would be. A world filled with 3 o'clock naps and vegan cookies. I can actually think of nothing better. I've had a love affair with cookies of the chocolate chip variety for a decent chunk of my 24 years. When I was still in school and living at home, my cookie dreams revolved around these Arnott's 'premier chocolate chip cookies'. God knows why, they are a world away from the gooey, chocolate-packed home baked versions that I have come to love…
I remember though, that I used to think about them all afternoon at school, I knew that as soon as I made it home and dropped my school bag in my room, I would be allowed my alloted 3 chocolate chip Arnott's cookies with a huge glass of milk that they would be dunked in (it sounds like we were living on rations or something and I was desperately awaiting my 3 sad little cookies for the day, but actually my mum just had to set non-negotiable cookie limits because otherwise I'd invariably eat the whole packet…) .
I actually had systematically worked out the perfect amount of time to leave the cookie in the milk for the ultimate crunchy to milk soaked factor. I had it down to an art. This might sound like an absurd way to spend my after-school time, but I was nothing if not meticulous with my food 'enjoyment' (I am perhaps a little OCD?) and it was a much loved routine, this 3-cookies-after-school-to-carefully-dunk-in-milk business, something to look forward to when my brain was yelling at me to quit. Food has always been my thing to look forward to, my comfort, and chocolate chip cookies are one of my most long-held comfort foods.
After the packaged cookies slowly lost their sparkle, I branched into home baked cookies, and then on one magical day, I sprinkled a little flaky sea salt on top as per some recipe somewhere that I had stumbled across. And I have never gone back. Chocolate chip cookies without big glistening flecks of sea salt on top are just not chocolate chip cookies to me anymore, the salt is not an optional topper, It's a cookie necessity people!
I went through a million cookie recipes before finding my favourite - Ovenly's secretly vegan chocolate chip cookies. They are heaven. There's no butter or eggs to take away from the true cookie flavour, that might sound odd but seriously, they have the best flavour and texture of any cookie I've ever had. And i've tried a lot, both baked myself and eaten from many a bakery. And I promise, THESE ARE HANDS DOWN THE BEST! My version here hasn't changed a great deal from the original Ovenly recipe, the essence is still the same.
I have a beautiful lemon verbena plant on my deck that is currently growing like crazy, and that smells amazing. It's incredibly fragrant, so I couldn't help but use it in this recipe. To incorporate the verbena leaves, I infused good quality fruity olive oil with some of the roughly chopped lemon verbena leaves. The infused olive oil adds a fragrant, herbal kick that works so well with the bittersweet dark chocolate. If you can't find lemon verbena, just swap in basil leaves and 1/4 tsp. lemon zest, It will give the cookies a similar flavour.
I swapped half of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour, to semi-mimic one of my other well loved cookie recipes from Kim Boyce's Good to The Grain Cookbook. It adds texture and nutty undertones that I can't live without in my chocolate cookies anymore, I always make sure at least half of my cookie dough has whole wheat flour or it just doesn't have the same depth of flavour. It's 100% better than just plain white flour, trust.
Make sure not to overbake the cookies, you want them to just be lightly browning on the edges before swiftly taking the pan from the oven – crisp edges and soft middles with molten chocolate chunks is where it's at! Unless you are one of those crazy crispy-all-the-way-through cookie people (why? why?!), don't overbake!
And yes, you need to leave these cookies to rest in the fridge overnight (12–24 hours), for optimum flavour and texture. They need a chance to relax and for the flavours to meld and become one etc. etc. I know it's frustrating that all the cookie recipes seem to have this annoying patience-testing step, like it's some cruel cookie joke that the universe it playing on you…But it's for a good cause!
Do as I do and make the cookie dough on Thursday night (along with a batch of this freaking perfect pizza dough), then on Friday night you will be ready for the best movie night in with super quick fresh-from-the-oven cookies (and a+ easy af homemade pizza!). I don't know if you're one of those people that actually likes to leave the house on weekend nights, but I my friend, am not. Weekend nights are for relaxing, with pyjamas and movies and all the wine and pizza and cookies. Living the dream.
So make these cookies in advance, then cosy up on the lounge with a big glass of nut-milk, homemade walnut milk maybe? Or hot chocolates or coffee or iced coffee for those of us still living in the 40 degree nightmare land, and enjoy your perfect chocolate chip cookies! Then post a photo on insta and tag me #theflouredkitchen @theflouredkitchen to show me your cookie creations. Any questions, leave a comment and I'll get back to you asap. Happy cookie-ing friends!
Salted Chocolate Chip, Lemon Verbena + Olive Oil Cookies
Yield 18 cookies
vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free
These vegan cookies have it all – crunchy edges and soft middles with pockets of molten dark chocolate, a zesty, herbal kick from lemon verbena leaves and olive oil, nutty undertones from whole wheat flour and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt to top it all off. Adapted from the brilliant cookie recipe that is Ovenly's Secretly Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Inspired by these basil + verbena infused cookies at Top With Cinnamon.
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1/3 cup loosely packed roughly chopped lemon verbena leaves (or use basil + 1/4 tsp. lemon zest for a similar flavour)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 240g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup raw granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light muscovado or light brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp water
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Heat the olive oil & the lemon verbena leaves (or basil leaves) in a small saucepan over medium heat until the oil is hot and begins to very lightly sizzle, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then strain through a sieve into a pouring jug to remove the verbena leaves.
- In a large bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Add the chopped chocolate and toss through the flour mix.
- In a separate large bowl whisk the sugars together with the infused olive oil & the water (& the lemon zest if using) until the mix is smooth and well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the flour mix to the sugar mix and stir until just combined and no flour is visible. Don't overmix (or the cookies may end up tough).
- Cover the bowl tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. I know you may be tempted to skip this step, but for the cookies sake, don't! It's crucial for a great texture & flavour.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 celsius / 350 fahrenheit and line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a tablespoon measurement to scoop up rounded balls of dough, then place the dough balls onto the prepared baking trays. Sprinkle the cookie dough balls with a little flaky sea salt, then place in the oven and bake for 8–10 minutes (or 10 -12 mins for larger cookies), or until the edges are just beginning to brown, don't overbake! Keep the tray/s of cookies that you aren't currently baking in the fridge until you are ready to bake them.
- Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the cookies to set. Best eaten on the day of baking.
*You can theoretically bake the cookies after an hour or 2 of fridge time, just freeze the balls of dough for 10 minutes on the baking tray first to help them keep their shape. I'm warning you though, they will not be as good! But i understand that when the need for cookies arises, sometimes there is just no waiting.
*You can make your cookie dough balls (sans salt), then freeze them until hard on a baking tray and place them in a freezer-safe container in the freezer. They can hang out in the freezer for a month or two so that you can bake fresh cookies whenever you feel like them! Just let them thaw on a baking tray until fridge-cold before baking and sprinkle with sea salt just before baking.