Flax Seeds Give Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies A Texture Upgrade

When it comes to plant-based baking, it's completely possible to produce desserts that are just as delicious as their dairy-filled counterparts, but it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve. While actual vegan eggs do exist, it's more common for recipes to include chia or flax eggs, which involves mixing the main ingredient with a little water. In our recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of Miriam Hahn and the Tasting Table staff, we opt for the latter, and there are a few good reasons why.

In this recipe, the "egg" is made by combining ground flax seeds with water. While the consistency is still fairly smooth overall, it's a little grittier than if you mixed in a chicken's egg. Although this combo works well as a vegan substitution for the animal product, a flax version will absorb more moisture than you may be used to in baked goods, which leads to a slightly more crumbly cookie. In addition to their texture benefits, flax seeds bring plenty of nutrients to your dessert in the forms of protein, fiber, and good fats.

Pulverize your flax seeds with a coffee grinder

It's worth noting that while flax seeds can make a fantastic plant-based egg substitute, they may not work well in every type of baked good. Because they bring that aforementioned graininess to a recipe, you may want to avoid deploying them in treats that aim for a more delicate texture, such as angel food cakes, soufflés, meringues, or crepes. However, feel free to let them loose in desserts like brownies, cornbread, and muffins — and of course, chocolate chip cookies. Aside from the standard confection, flax seeds would also work beautifully in upgraded brown butter, toffee, and coconut chocolate chip cookies.

Once you have your seeds, it's simple to whip up the consistency needed for a vegan egg. If you buy the seeds whole, you'll first need to grind them, which you can easily do with a coffee grinder. That said, it's pretty easy to find bags that are already ground, either at a regular grocery store or health food store. To make the substitution, you'll simply combine 1 tablespoon of the ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, and give the flax a few minutes to soak up the liquid. From there, the mixture gets incorporated into your cookie dough at the same time as all the other ingredients, and you're on your way to tasty, plant-based desserts filled with texture.