She Blinded Me With Science: It’s Not Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings

January 24 , 2016 by: Amber Trudeau Cookies

Alright, let’s do this thing! These cookies are now in their element. Their final element that is 😉 . Fat, the final frontier! The thing that gives cookies their luscious taste and texture. The thing that the band Queen knew all too well helped to make the rockin’ world go ’round. Anyone who ever got on the “fat-free” wagon that seemed to be all the rage when I was a kid, may remember foods that got sweeter (’cause you gotta add a (cover your eyes for the next word if you’re German and have an intense hatred for the use of strong language…this post is PG for everyone else though 🙂 ) scheiße ton of sugar to make up for your lack of…well…substance) and less satisfying. You then became a sugar addict though and all you cared about was where your next fix was coming from so who cared what else was in (or not in as the case may be) your saccharine-laced dessert of choice? (ummm…you seem to be implying that was past tense there Amber, but I have a less-than-full plate of cookies which begs to differ with your so-called “recovery” from that sweet sweet beast known as “sugar”. Ahem *embarrassed face*).

You will perhaps again notice a lack of vegan butter being used this week. As with the white sugar from last week, vegan butter was what I was already using in my base recipe, so no point in repeating myself here. However, I ended up doing an extra batch of cookies this week that was half shortening, and half vegan butter since all the research I did online seemed to indicate that that might be a good idea since you’d get the benefits of both worlds (good texture from the shortening and good taste from the butter). I have to admit that my decision to use avocado as one of the fats made me a little trepidatious…and…spoiler alert..I was oh so right to think so. I know I shouldn’t be giving things away this early in the post, but I don’t know if I’ve ever spit out a cookie in my life, no matter how bad it was (and trust me, my high school friends can attest to the fact that I consumed cookies that had been left in the band room over Christmas for 2+ weeks. Sure they were a little stale, but cookies should not be wasted…or so I thought). These were spit out by me. They did have one redeeming quality in my opinion, in that (although Kevin didn’t agree with me on this), I thought their texture was spot on. But if you can’t eat it because it so disgusting, then who cares how great the texture is 🙁 .

So, with the Oscar’s coming up, I’m sure every starlet is likely trying to slim down, so fat might be the opposite of what you’re looking for. So for all my Oscar nominated friends out there (because of course, I’m invited to all the parties and regularly chill out and rub elbows with the elite of the acting world 😉 ), you can at least rest assured that some of these fats are healthy for you (coconut oil, avocado – plus you might already be buying them for beauty reasons so you might as well use them for making cookies too right? Although unless you’re eating all of the cookies yourself, I would maybe recommend not using the left over coconut oil and mashed avocado that you’ve smeared on your face and/ or hair 😉 …although in the case of the avocado, maybe the addition of your own personal face oil would make them taste better…I think I just threw up in my mouth a little 😉 ).

The Players: FATS:

Coconut Oil:

Coconut Image

Macadamia Nut Butter:

Macadamia Nut Image

Vegetable Shortening:

Shortening Image

Avocado:

Avocado Image

Reviews:

Coconut Oil:

Coconut Oil

Kevin – Had a slightly spotted appearance, tasted nice and sweet. Texture was soft and a bit dry, kind of gingerbready.
Me – A bit speckled in appearance. Had a rich buttery taste. The coconut oil flavour was definitely noticeable, but I really liked it. Flavour-wise, I think this was my favourite. The texture was a bit crispy and a bit crumbly.

Macadamia Nut Butter:

Macadamia Nut Butter

Kevin – I’m naming these “measles cookies” based on their speckled appearance. These were really crumbly and fell apart a bit to easily. Powdery and slightly sour taste.
Me – Looks pretty speckled. It’s crumbly and a bit grainy, but melts in your mouth. Tasted way too much like macadamia nut (which, full disclosure, I really don’t like the taste of – I only chose these as one of the fats in lieu of another nut because they’re one of the highest fat nuts, so I figured it would be a better substitute for butter).

Vegetable Shortening:

Shortening

Kevin – Really tasty, slightly crispy and a nice brownish colour.
Me – Visually, the chocolate chips didn’t stand out as much in this cookie. Crispy texture. Nice buttery taste. The flavour reminded me of childhood bakery cookies (which in hindsight makes sense since they probably used shortening to increase the shelf life).

Avocado:

Avocado

Kevin – Slightly yellowish, but looks the most like a chocolate chip cookie should. It was soft and doughy. Tasted more like socks than like cookies. I used to like this taste testing game 🙁 .
Me – Just, oh my God, no. This is horrible. I had to spit it out. Its one upside was that the texture was exactly how I like it, perfectly soft and chewy. Flavour-wise though, I found it completely inedible. It had a slightly yellow-greenish hue, but nowhere near as pronounced as I thought it would be.

1/2 Shortening + Half Vegan Butter:

Half and Half

Kevin – Perfectly chewy and crunchy. Definitely the best tasting. Pure deliciousness.
Me – Slightly puffy, looked the most to me how a chocolate chip cookie should look. The crispiness was nice, but wasn’t really soft enough for me. The graininess of the sugar stood out a bit too much in this one, but the flavour was really good.

Verdict:

Kevin:

#1 – 1/2 shortening and 1/2 vegan butter
#2 – Shortening
#3 – Coconut oil
#4 – Macadamia nut butter
#5 – Avocado

Me – Taste-wise, I liked the coconut oil the best, and though I went back and forth retasting a million times, I couldn’t decide whether the all shortening or the half and half was better. So my ranking order is:

#1 – Coconut oil
#2 – 1/2 shortening and 1/2 vegan butter
#2 – Shortening
#4 – Macadamia nut butter
#5 – Avocado

IMG_3280

Despite trying five different things this week, I’m not really sure if I’d consider any of them a perfect winner. I might almost have to just go back to straight vegan butter. Although brown sugar makes the cookies chewier, I found the sugar wasn’t really “dissolving” into the cookies as much as I would want, leaving a bit too much of a grainy-sugary texture in all the cookies. I have one more thing I’m going to try to see if I can fix a couple of other problems as well so that I might still find the actual perfect chocolate chip cookie (perfect to me at least 🙂 ). I’ll let you know how it turns out next week!

2 Comments

  • So, my suggestion would be this: focus on finding the right taste for your fat, first, then work on a ratio if luquid and solid fats. Try half shortening with half vegetable oil and add your brown sugar back in. The vegetable oil should help to dissolve your grainy brown sugar issue. Your other solution about the sugars could be to try half white sugar, half dark corn syrup. The toastiness/caramel flavour may come through and the additional liquid should get you a softer cookie. Additionally, 7/8 white sugar, one tablespoon of fancy molasses. Also, try making a fairly wet cookie dough, but refrigerating it. The starch can swell, absorb the liquid, and the end product should be cakier. Just some thoughts.

    • Thanks for all the suggestions! Some of this stuff I’d tried already. I really like the flavour of the brown sugar, so I kind of wanted to stick with that, but (spoiler alert 🙂 ), I did end up doing a half liquid sweetener half brown sugar, so good call on that one!

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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

Have a challenge for me? Send me a note:

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