These rich, spiced, one-bowl Chocolate Chai Cookies with pepitas are what autumnal dreams are made of. Soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free, they bake up wonderfully and are great for sharing.
I first made these cookies for a friend’s birthday earlier in the month, who has a strong affection for chai-spiced everything. The main recipe is loosely based on one I made a few years ago, but like the Figgy Scones from last week, I’ve made some tweaks.
The first batch had walnuts – which were great – but I thought I’d keep these nut-free for a change and the pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) DID NOT disappoint! Plus, I almost always have raw pepitas on hand for granola recipes, which I highly suggest the same to you.
Now, I’ve been baking vegan goods for almost 10 years now and have used an assortment of vegan chocolate chips (most of which are good). But, lately, I’ve been LOVING Guittard semi-sweet baking chips/discs/etc. And no, I’m not paid by them, but my-god I would love that. Lol! Plus, their chocolate is Fair Trade and they have organic options. But, honestly, any vegan, semi-sweet chocolate chips will work here!
Aren’t you just drooling over that cookie dough shot? Just me? I hope not! Now, let’s get to substitutions and ingredient notes for these chocolate chai cookies. Disclaimer, I have not tried all of these suggestions, these are based on my experience.
Substitution and Ingredient Notes:
- Sugar/Evaporated Cane Juice – My only note here is that typically organic sugars are vegan, so that’s my go-to.
- Brown Sugar – As you can see in the ingredients shot, I used a light brown sugar. If you want to use dark brown sugar it will bring a slightly molasses-y flavor and still be very delicious. You could also use coconut sugar here, the cookies will just be a little less sweet.
- Coconut Oil – Used melted in this recipe, the coconut oil takes place of butter. You are welcome to use vegan butter in place of the oil here, just adjust the salt to taste, as typically most vegan butters have salt added. And if you’re worried about the imparted coconut flavor, use refined coconut oil.
- Non-dairy milk – pretty much any store-bought, unsweetened, plain milk will work here!
- Unbleached All-purpose Flour – I believe that a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend would work fine in this recipe, though I have not tried it myself.
- Chai Spice Mix – In the recipe I list out a group of spices to give you that masala chai experience, but in the first batch I made, I used a dry chai drink mix (roughly a heaping teaspoon). Both work great!
- Vegan Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips – As mentioned earlier, I used Guittard super cookie chips in this recipe, but any non-dairy chocolate chips will work. And if you’re a carob-lover, I’m sure using carob chips will work just fine.
- Raw Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) – I love these because they’re a fall-appropriate, crunchy alternative to nuts. But, if you want to use pecans, walnuts, or even sunflower seeds, all will be delicious choices.
- As shown earlier in the post, I use a small scooper for making cookies, and it’s honestly THE BEST. Most cookie recipes suggest somewhere around 2 tablespoon-sized scoops, and that is what this is. I feel like these are sold in most kitchen supply areas of stores, at this point, and highly suggest it! They’re also great for mini-cupcake-sized scoops.
- If you want a flatter cookie, skip the chilling step in the instructions. Because the coconut oil won’t harden like it does after being chilled, the cookies will spread out further.
- I didn’t do it with the batch pictured here, but if you adjust the salt in the dough to 1/4 teaspoon and sprinkle coarse salt right after baking it is SO GOOD!
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup (121 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (92 g) packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (70 ml) unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (266 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup (76 g) raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup (78 g) vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a large mixing bowl, place coconut oil, sugar, and brown sugar. Using a whisk (or stand mixer), whisk vigorously until combined, then add non-dairy milk and vanilla, whisking again until the sugar starts to dissolve.
- On top of the wet mixture, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt, cloves, allspice, and cardamom. Using a spatula, mix everything together until there are no dry spots left in the dough.
- Next, add the pepitas and chocolate chips to the bowl, folding them into the dough until evenly combined throughout. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- In the last 15 minutes of chilling, preheat the oven to 350F (180C or gas mark 4), and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- After the dough has chilled, spoon 2 tablespoon-sized (30 g) scoops onto the parchment, roughly 2 inches or more apart. Once all of the dough is scooped, press down gently on the dough to flatten slightly.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, switching rack placement of the baking sheets half-way through. Bake until the bottom edge begins to lightly brown, and as soon as you take them out of the oven, firmly tap the baking sheets on a solid surface to flatten the cookie a bit. Then cool on a rack for 10 minutes before enjoying! These will stay fresh (depending on your kitchen and container) for up to 1 week.
FULL SUBS IN BLOG POST
- Brown Sugar - I used light brown sugar, but dark brown or coconut sugar will also work here.
- Coconut Oil - you can use vegan butter in place of the oil here, just adjust the salt to taste, as typically most vegan butters have salt added. And if you're worried about the imparted coconut flavor, use refined coconut oil.
- Unbleached All-purpose Flour - I believe that a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend would work fine in this recipe, though I have not tried it myself.
- Chai Spice Mix - In the recipe I list out a group of spices to give you that masala chai experience, but in the first batch I made, I used a dry chai drink mix (roughly a heaping teaspoon). Both work great!
- Vegan Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips - I used Guittard super cookie chips in this recipe, but any non-dairy chocolate chips will work.
- Raw Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) - if you want to use pecans, walnuts, or even sunflower seeds instead all will be delicious choices.
If you’re enticed by these chocolate chai cookies, I suggest trying out the recipes below! (Just click on the picture)