Just because someone wants to eat more healthfully, or in a way that has less impact on the planet or on the lives of animals, doesn’t mean they don’t like sweets, particularly the minor indulgence that is a cookie. In fact, pastry chefs are finding a ready market for vegan versions of the beloved treat.
“As diners become more conscious of what they're putting in the bodies, and the impact it has on sustainability around the world, plant-based diners are growing in number and they still love a big, freshly baked cookie like everyone else,” said pastry chef Erin Mooney.
At Summer House Santa Monica, with locations in Chicago and Bethesda, Md., Mooney always has a vegan chocolate chip cookie on the menu for $2.95, as well as weekly vegan specials such as a chocolate almond fudge bar.
At Beatrix, a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises coffeehouse concept with locations in the Chicagoland areas of River North, Streeterville, Fulton Market and Oak Brook, chef Yasmin Gutierrez offers a wide selection of cookies, including a vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip cookie (left; credit: Gabby Kagan) made with agave, coconut oil, almond butter, quinoa flakes, and extra bitter chocolate for $3.95.
“Our vegan chocolate chip cookie is gluten-free and vegan, which are both currently big health trends right now,” Gutierrez said. “All of these ingredients make a delicious chocolate chip cookie that doesn't even taste like it's vegan.”
Doron Petersan creates dairy- and egg-free cookies for Sticky Fingers and Fare Well, her vegan bakery and diner in Washington, D.C. This month she’s featuring a pistachio sandwich cookie filled with rose buttercream for $3.25. Cowvin cookies, two oatmeal cookies with vanilla cream, are a staple at both restaurants for $3.25. Always on the menu is a chocolate chip cookie that’s $1.99 with gluten and $2.75 without.
For that vegan vanilla cream and rose buttercream, Petersan uses Earth Balance Buttery Spread in place of butter. She uses dark brown sugar rather than light brown sugar to add more of a molasses flavor that helps balance the item’s sweetness, as does a pinch of salt.
“We are here to show you that you don't have to give up everything, but because plants are now front and center, you can have your cake (or cookies, or sandwich cookies), and eat it, too," Petersan said.