Modern Scratch Baking ❦ Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies │ © Urban Cottage Life.com

There may be three gazillion chocolate chip cookies out there on the internet — 1,498,139 of which proclaim themselves to the ‘best ever!” — but this is the first time that I’m contributing one to the mix.

If I put my mind to it, I could probably come up with a new chocolate chip cookie variation each week for the next year. (I won’t do that because 52 weeks of cookies would necessitate a new wardrobe.) So, I’m not going to say this recipe is the best ever, but I don’t mind telling you I do think it’s pretty darned good. No point in false modesty, right?

A new school year begins here this week, and Little Miss E will be starting Junior Kindergarten while her older sister moves on to the lofty heights of Senior Kindergarten. They’re both fans of chocolate chip cookies, and I wanted to create a recipe with school snacks in mind.

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies │ © Urban Cottage Life.com

And that’s where the ‘modern’ part of this recipe comes in: I’ve dialled the sweetness way back. While I don’t take issue with kids enjoying treats like cookies, I think it’s wise to use less refined sugars that are a little more nutritious than their highly refined counterparts. Most of the sugar in this recipe is coconut sugar; it has a much lower glycemic index than granulated white sugar, which was the standard sugar in my kitchen for most of my life. Coconut sugar also adds dreamy deep caramel flavour notes. And the rest of the sugar in this cookie is part of its magic: turbinado sugar, with its large crystals, adds not just a little more sweetness, but a welcome bit of crunchy texture, not to mention a bit of bling. Using bittersweet chocolate instead of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips adds rich chocolate flavour with less sweetness too.

Still, make no mistake, these cookies are not health food. They’re a treat, but far less sweet than the cookies I grew up baking (and eating).

Oh, and my other ‘modern’ approach to cookie making is to make them much smaller than I used to. One tablespoon of batter makes cookies that are about an inch and a half in diameter; they don’t flatten in the oven but stay charmingly rounded on top. Let’s face it, if you have one cookie, you’re likely going to want a second, regardless of size. So, start small. I’m not above mind games like this in the Urban Cottage bakery.

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies │ © Urban Cottage Life.com

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut sugar not only adds deep colour, but a rich, caramel-like flavour to baked goods. I added a good amount of vanilla bean paste to this recipe, both so its flavour could compete with the coconut sugar and also for the visual appeal of the little black flecks of vanilla. Turbinado sugar adds crunch and sparkly freckles, and big bittersweet chocolate chips lend chocolatey gooeyness.

Preheat oven to 375 ℉ and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp milk (dairy or nut milk; I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, partially cream the butter. Add the coconut sugar, and cream until the sugar melds into the butter. (This will take longer than with granulated sugar.) Add the egg, vanilla and milk, and blend well.

Add the flour mixture and slowly stir in. Once the mixture begins to come together, add the turbinado sugar and continue to mix just until the flour has been incorporated and the sugar well distributed.

Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips, ensuring even distribution throughout the batter.

Use a small, one-tablespoon scoop to form balls of dough, ensuring that each has some chocolate chips, and place them two inches apart on the prepared baking tray.

Bake for 10 minutes and check for doneness. (The tops should be slightly firm to the touch.) If necessary, bake for a minute or two more. My cookies were ready between 11 and 12 minutes in my gas oven. I left the second tray in about 12 and a half minutes and they came out a little firmer and darker than I would have preferred. Be vigilant, people! Set the tray on a rack for a couple of minutes, and then remove the cookies to a cooling rack.

Repeat with a second tray, or bake two at once.

I gave my daughter a good-sized container of these to pop into her freezer for school treats for the Little Misses. And the rest? They’re mine!

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