Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Heart-Shaped Cookies (because he asked and because I needed chocolate. . . my half century/half marathon countdown begins)
I was having one of those recipe moments where I saw a picture, fell in love, scanned the ingredients, then stopped in my tracks after this: egg yolks. This cookie required four. Four egg yolks. Must I always be fighting the vegan fight? (Well, yes I must, but that's beside the point.) I had bookmarked AND stored this particular recipe twice. It was destined to be made, I just kept forgetting when it popped up as eye candy that there was this little hurdle to get over: Vegan Egg Conversion Nightmares. I've faced down many an egg. I'm not letting a little fancy-pants chocolate chip cookie ruin my kitchen
You make this cookie by dividing the cookie dough into three sections, then each section is rolled out to a thin circle, topped with half the chips, the next layer of dough and more chips, etc. What you end up with is this superbly layered confection of intense chocolate, sweet, chewy on the inside--all melty and gooey, and just a tad crisp around the edges. A cookie to die for.
You can cut the dough out into any shape you'd like. I picked hearts for "obvious" reasons. These are BIG cookies. My hearts were almost too big, so I switched up and used a little square-shaped cookie cutter to make smaller, girl-sized cookies. Once these cool, you can store them in the cookie jar. They have remained a household favorite these past few weeks. I'm heading back into the kitchen to make a new batch this afternoon.
It's official. I've signed up to run the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon April 6th. . . again. I hemmed and hawed and thought, Yes! Then I thought, NO. Then I thought Yes! And again with the yes/no, until finally I said, Yes! I CAN run another half marathon. The last one was four years ago and I did reasonably well. Grant it, I am fifty years old now. Four years is a long time at this stage in life. More things can go wrong.
For me, the milestone has brought many moments of clarity about life. First of all--I don't think I'll live another fifty. Second, I was really struck a blow when I broke my ankle. Since my birthday, I'd had this hope, the "idea" I'd maybe run a half marathon this spring. Then the stupid ankle thing happened and I was very sad. I felt at the top of my game when the break happened. Life told me otherwise. It took a lot of mental stamina and self-talk and help from everyone--my husband, my friends, my neighbors, my doctor--all very encouraging along the way, to finally think I might really be running again--competitively--even as early as spring.
I keep note of all my races and finish times in a small journal next to my bed. Last night before going to sleep, I opened to the page where my finish times are listed and there it was: 2:30 (well, at least that's what I wrote down). Surely I can accomplish this again. It's not about my finish time this year. It's about my having stepped into the next half century of my life and still running after all these years. My god. I started when I was fourteen years old!
Dr. Thyme said he'd definitely come along to cheer me on. I remember insisting he stay home last time because "it's only a half marathon. . . I'll be finished in two hours for goodness sakes" and crossing the finish line wishing with all the strength I had left that he'd been there. He wouldn't hear of NOT coming this go-around.
Training has been a b*tch this winter. I am a few pounds heavier than I was in fall. I'm not happy about this. My current number on the scale is not one I wish to maintain--so the training will do me some good. The treadmill and I have come to an understanding as it has been the savior of my sanity this awful winter. I can't imagine anyone else in St. Louis or the entire Midwest who might not be as stir crazy as I've felt lately putting in my miles. Godforbid should I attempt running outside and break my other ankle.
Meantime, here's more about this fabulous cookie--might I add, a terrific "reward" after my longer dreadmill moments.
A ton of chocolate chips are prepared--but don't worry, they are necessary.
The idea of rolling my dough out seemed tedious at first blush, then I tasted one of these cookies warm from the oven and I stand corrected. Wow. Please don't skip the layering step.
Be sure to flour your counter and don't roll the dough so thin you can see your hand through it, just like so is all you need.
And the layering begets more layers until. . .
Ta-da! Now the fun part happens. As you re-roll the scraps, simply move the dough pieces back together--nothing has to be perfect here, it all bakes up, trust me--even if the dough has cracks in it or not, they rock.
Thank god I married a man with a love for chocolate AND cookies to match my own.
Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Heart-Shaped Cookies
*Adapted from Saveur
Makes about 12 large cookies, or 20 smaller-shaped cookies
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
9 oz. chocolate chips (chopped up a bit)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl (both flours, baking soda, egg replacer, salt) and set aside. In a large mixing bowl add the vegan butter and sugars and mix with blender until light and fluffy. Next, add the olive oil and vanilla extract and blend until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions--mixing with just a few pulses of the blender just until the dough comes together in the bowl and you can pinch it with your fingers and it stays in a clump. If it seems to wet, go ahead and sprinkle a bit more flour in, if it seems to dry, go ahead and add another tablespoon of water. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and shape into a small oval, wrap in plastic and place in fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove dough once it has chilled and firmed up a bit. Roll one section of the dough out at a time and then add one half of the chocolate chips, roll the next section of dough out and place this piece on top of the first layer and so on. You should have three layers when all is said and done. If a few chips squish out when you cut out your shapes, just push them back into the dough--it's no biggie. Place the cookies on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake them for about 15 minutes or so--just until the edges turn golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then store in an airtight cookie jar and enjoy!