No, not Ritz crackers (although I suppose crackers could be used with the sweet dip that I made to go along with these cookies). Think of “Ritz” in this situation as more referencing highfalutin and fancy (what? You don’t think that mini chocolate chip pudding cookies served with sprinkle laden unicorn dip isn’t fancy? That they wouldn’t serve it at the most high class establishment you know? If you haven’t seen it showcased at your favourite coat-and-tie-required dining experience, it’s clearly only because you haven’t been to a classy enough place 😉 ).
Besides, I put on my big girl pants for these and made them a bit more adult by adding a small (read: a large) splash of bourbon to this dip. Why you ask? (before I answer that – that’s a ridiculous question since I basically add some amount of alcohol to almost everything I make 😉 ) Remember that Scotch party that I said Kevin and I had? These little darlings also made an appearance. I figured to slightly tone down the library-smoking-jacket vibe, I’d toss in a little whimsy as well with these cookies so that we wouldn’t all take ourselves too seriously (because usually at these gatherings we all typically wear monocles and only discuss world politics and economics….. 😉 ). I figured throwing a little bourbon into the dip would still keep this on theme though. The marriage of two delicious worlds…children and Scotch? Hmmm…that doesn’t sound great (although I’m sure many a child’s existence was preceded by some imbibing of Scotch, so maybe not so disconnected after all? 😉 ).To be totally honest though, the real reason I wanted to make these was because I’ve seen many recipes for cookies and cakes over the past bunch of years that incorporate instant pudding mix. Now part of me feels like that’s sacrilegious because I don’t usually feel like something’s a “recipe” when I see blogger’s who have the following ingredient list “1 box cake mix, chocolate chips, peanuts” or something like that. That’s not a recipe. That’s you, going to the store and buying a box of cake mix and following the directions on said box. So you threw in a few mix-ins, that doesn’t make you a genius who will likely be the next Martha Stewart. However, pudding cookie recipes abound, and they’re pretty much full on, regular cookie recipes that just happen to incorporate a box of instant pudding mix. Many tout this addition as adding both flavour and helping to preserve a soft texture in your cookie for days. Not to mention all the flavour possibilities that can be achieved by just picking a different pudding flavour.So, although I was loathe to be incorporating so many chemicals into my cookie batter (e.g. Jello-O vanilla instant pudding ingredient list is as follows:
SUGAR, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SALT, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE AND TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (FOR THICKENING), MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES (PREVENT FOAMING), ARTIFICIAL COLOR, YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6, BHA (PRESERVATIVE).
I think the part I’m most disturbed by is the “prevent foaming”…. (although it would be awesome if that had been followed by “at the mouth”. Instant pudding AND instant rabbies! 😉 ) What’s in this that was going to be so foamy that we needed another additive to avoid that? It starts to feel like people who take drugs to counteract the side effects of other drugs) I decided I had to try this. And since I was buying instant pudding anyway, why not make the cookie dip vanilla pudding flavoured too? I figured it would have the added benefit of thickening the dip in addition to amping up the vanilla flavour. I’m pudding this stuff in everything! 😉
Yield: 4 dozen bite sized cookies or 2 dozen regular sized cookies
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg replacer
- 1 box (3.4 ounces) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (make sure the brand you grab is vegan)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips/ chunks
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
- 1/4 cup vegan vanilla instant pudding
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegan yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons honey (or agave or maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/4 cup colourful sprinkles (optional)
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg replacer and vanilla until smooth.
- In a small bowl, sift together pudding mix, baking soda, and salt.
- In 2 batches, mix flour/ pudding mixture into wet ingredients on low speed of your hand mixer.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Scoop 1-2 teaspoon sized balls of dough onto a prepared cookie sheet (either silpat, parchment or greased slightly). Place tray in fridge (or freezer) to chill for about an hour (or longer is fine too).
- Preheat oven to 325F. Bake chilled cookies for 5-6 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn brown. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely (they’ll be soft and you don’t want them to break, so definitely cool them slightly before moving!).
- For the cookie dip – In a medium sized bowl beat together all dip ingredients excluding the sprinkles. Beat for a couple of minutes until totally smooth. Refrigerate dip for at least an hour (it should thicken slightly). Fold in sprinkles just before serving and serve with mini cookies, crackers, pretzels, or fruit.