Once upon a time I told my sister (Amanda) that the first time I wrote about food, it would be about her cookies. So, here I am. On Tuesday I felt like baking, and I wanted to make cookies, so I gave Amanda’s recipe a go. She is always asking me to make them, and I can never find the recipe, but on Tuesday I actually made an effort and dug it up in the messy recipe box.
The history of this recipe: One day (years and years ago) Amanda wanted to make cookies, but the recipe she had called for shortening. Our mother never stocked shortening, so she substituted oil instead. She played with the recipe until the final product came out the way she liked it: flat, crispy cookies that are very slightly malleable. The cookies are a little saltier than your average cookie, but it comes out with a nice salty-sweet taste. And the dough tastes fantastic.
An added bonus to these cookies is that they’re dairy-free. While Amanda was not dairy-free in high school (when she created the recipe), these days she doesn’t mix well with dairy. A lot of my baking is dairy-free because I try to make things that she can eat. It’s a nice challenge and has definitely helped me expand my cooking/baking horizons.
Because these are Amanda’s cookies, and I baked them with her in mind, I followed her recipe almost exactly. However, Amanda is the first one to say that she doesn’t follow the recipe exactly, either. It’s more of a set of guidelines than a set-in-stone recipe.
For example: the recipe calls for ½ cup canola oil but there is an added “sometimes you only need 1/3 cup.” I decided to go for somewhere in between. I think 1/3 cup would have been fine.
At this point I’d like to point out that canola oil is not what I would normally use in baking. There are lots of arguments about using different fats in baking, and generally I would use butter, but as this recipe calls for oil, I used oil. Butter poses a problem when making dairy-free baked goods, and margarine has trans-fats, so there is that to think about. I don’t really want to get into a discussion of what is the best choice or the healthiest choice or whatever… just want to point out that despite oil not being my normal choice for cookies, it works in this recipe.
The one change I made to the recipe was that I used less chocolate chips. I think I used ½ to 2/3 cup (I’m not quite sure), but no more. I eye-balled the amount; I think that putting the entire cup of chocolate chips in would have made it chocolate chips with a bit of dough mixed in, rather than dough with chocolate chips mixed in.
I baked these for approximately 12 minutes. I accidentally left the second cookie sheet in for a minute longer and they got a bit flat and crispy, but they’re not burned and still edible, and some people prefer their cookies flat and crispy, so it works out. The cookies that were in for less time weren’t as flat or crispy, but I think they came out nicely (I tend to prefer cookies that are not too flat or crispy).
According to my friend Leah, the crispier cookie was better. She didn’t notice that it was saltier until I mentioned it, but said that it was definitely a cookie with flavor, that she wanted to suck on (instead of being bland and blah).
All in all, I think this is a good cookie recipe. It makes tasty, easy and dairy-free cookies, and therefore I can feed them to my sister, which makes both of us happy.
Amanda’s Fantasgreat Cookies
(aka cookies the way Amanda likes them!!!)
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (but really, use less than that!) – I use dairy-free organic chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix oil, egg, vanilla and sugars until light and fluffy.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture; blend well. Add chocolate chips. Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet (or, if you’re lazy like me, a cookie sheet with aluminum foil on it).
Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from sheet immediately.
*cookies should be nice and flat*