Have you ever wanted to make cookies but didn’t want to deal with pulling cookie sheets in and out of the oven? I was craving cookies but was too lazy to babysit cookie sheets, so I made a pan cookie. It’s basically a cookie in a baking pan that makes one big cookie with less work than baking up a few dozen. It’s instant cookie gratification.
There was a recipe that made a version of a pan cookie, but I made a few changes. I didn’t have the pan size called for so I reduced the ingredients to fit in the pan I had. (It’s times like this that make me glad I am a math person.) Then I changed the egg substitute to my new favorite – aquafaba. I also found the amount of salt to be what I deemed a typo – the first try made extraordinarily salty cookies – so I changed it accordingly. I also added flour and reduced baking soda to account for high altitude.
After the cookie was done and cooled, I used a star cookie cutter to make pretty cookies. Then I could pretend that I slaved over rolling and cutting dough to make cookies. It’ll be our little secret.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie adapted from Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cake
1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened, plus extra to grease pan
3/4 cup sucanat sugar
3 TBS aquafaba
1 TBS almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup peanut butter, unsalted
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8 x 8” pan with vegan margarine. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together vegan margarine and sugar on low-medium speed until light and fluffy. Add aquafaba, milk, vanilla and peanut butter to sugar mixture and beat well. Slowly add dry flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips until combined. Add batter to prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake until cookie is lightly browned on the outside, but still slightly under-cooked in the center, for 15-16 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
During my month of baking cookies I saved a few from each batch to see how they would freeze. I had never tried this before because when I bake there aren’t any leftovers. But after a month and many dozens of cookies, I was willing to offer some up to freezer science.
For this experiment, I started with Tips for Freezing Baked Cookies from thekitchn.com:
“All cookies should be frozen individually after they’ve cooled completely, meaning they should be placed on a baking sheet, not touching, until frozen solid (they can be frozen like this in layers separated by parchment, wax, or freezer paper).”
So, I separated six cooled cookies after each baking session and froze them individually. Then I placed them in zip plastic bags in layers separated by waxed paper. I squeezed out the air and laid them flat in the freezer to wait.
When time had passed, between five days and two weeks depending on the cookie, I removed the cookie bag from the confines of the freezer. I thawed a few treats out on a plate and ate them as is. I also tried this advice, again from thekitchn.com: “You can gently reheat frozen or thawed cookies to mimic that fresh-baked taste and texture: place them in a 275F oven and check on them after 10 to 15 minutes.”
I definitely preferred the baked cookies. They were warm, fresh out of the oven, and reminded me of freshly baked cookies. The thawed-on-the-counter cookies seemed a bit more dry, and didn’t have the enticing fragrance of warm cookies. But neither had the slightly chewy inside that I like.
What did I learn from all this? If you don’t have time to bake, then cookies from the freezer are better than boxed. But, baking cookies from scratch is definitely worth the time because the texture is perfect and the house smells AMAZING!
I hereby declare that March is National Vegan Cookie Month. I just made that up, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?
My plan is to spend March making cookies. That’s a whole bunch of cookies, so I may freeze some. I’ve never had to worry about freezing cookies before as they don’t last that long in my house. But, that will be a new twist on my experiment. I will adapt recipes for high altitude and vegan (if needed) and then freeze them and see how they come out. If I have any left over. Uh, not likely.
The recipes start with the deadly Chocolate Mint Cookies with crushed candy canes from a mystery (with recipes) called Candy Cane Murder. Then we move on to shortbread cookies that I will dress up by dipping and sandwiching with jam. Next are Peanut Butter Agave Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (Viva la invasion). Our final delicious tryout is a classic – Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
I drool as I think of the fun and aromatic baking to come. Do you have a cookie recipe that you would like to see me adapt to be vegan and high altitude? Let me know and it may become part of the celebration of National Vegan Cookie Month.