The holidays are approaching and that means that there will be a lot of cookies!
I’ve put the word out to my fellow cookie lovers that we should all unite and share recipes. Here is the first recipe in the series. My girl, Ms. Alex Proaps, is taking over this here blog to share her vegan-ish twist on an old standard cookie. Without further ado, here is the recipe for Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies With a (Mostly) Vegan Twist.
Take it away, Alex!
My family was always a Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie family. We often used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet for some extra sweetness, but the Tollhouse recipe was our “family” recipe. When I was in middle school, my mom discovered an even more amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you Google “the Neiman Marcus cookie,” you will come up with dozens of variations of a recipe that surrounds an urban legend about a $250 cookie recipe. Everyone claims his or her recipe is the original, so it’s difficult to know which is which.
That being said, my mom still has the version circulated by Eagle Brand condensed milk in 1996. Yep, she cuts out recipes and keeps them for years in her recipe binder.
You can easily follow the original recipe posted above. Here, I show you how to make this recipe vegan. If you are a strict vegan, you may not consider this a vegan recipe, so I hesitate to label it as such. For example, leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda are not considered “vegan” by some strict vegans because cream of tarter is a byproduct of making wine (which, believe it or not, often involves animal-derived agents like gelatin or casein). Then again, PETA uses both onits super awesome and helpful list for baking substitutes cheat sheet, so it’s really up to the individual and his/her own guidelines.
Here we go.
1 1/2 cups honey-free graham crackers, crushed (Nabisco Grahams work, or you can find some in an organic food store)
1/2 cup unbleached, whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur’s)
2 teaspoons baking powder (again, this is that ingredient that you might not consider vegan)
14 oz. of coconut, soy, almond, or rice condensed milk (Veganbaking.net has a super easy version)
1/2 cup Earth Balance or Smart Balance, softened
1 1/3 cups flaked, unbleached unsweetened coconut
2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Make your condensed milk. I recommend doing this the day before because it can take a couple of hours. I used 2 ¾ cup coconut milk, ½ cup unbleached sugar, and a tsp of salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat. Continue to simmer at low heat and stir on and off until you notice the mixture is thickening and condensing. It will start to change color.
Remove the condensed mixture from the stove and allow it to cool completely. Preferably, store the mixture overnight in the fridge in a covered container. If you don’t let it cool, you will melt the chocolate like I did tonight trying to make them in a hurry.
Heat your oven to 375ºF.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking powder in small bowl.
Mix the condensed milk and butter substitute in a bowl until smooth.
Add crumb mixture and mix well.
Stir in coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts. I also recommend refrigerating the dough for a half hour before trying to bake them.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets. I use silpat, which is one of the greatest baking inventions of all time, in my opinion. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. These cookies are soft and are not meant to be crispy. If you prefer crispy cookies, you could probably take out the coconut and nuts, but I have never tried the recipe without those ingredients.
Note: As I mentioned, I melted the chocolate in the mixture because I didn’t allow the condensed milk to cool long enough. Your cookies will resemble chocolate chip cookies, not chocolate swirled cookies. Either way, they taste delicious.
Now, the most important part: Eat all the cookies!