I do not have much of a sweet tooth. I have more of what I like to call a “salty tooth”. There are so many amazing vegan dessert options from tiramisu to cheese cake. It’s very impressive! While I am glad to have the options available, nothing can ever seem to beat chips and salsa; I’ll pick it every time.
There is however, one single dessert that I have never been able to turn down. Chocolate, specifically chocolate chip cookies. There are literally thousands of recipes for chocolate chip cookies, so I was posed with the challenge of how to make mine different and this amazingly delicious recipe is what I “cooked up”.
Zesty orange and almond extract; It’s a subtle difference, but it adds a fun and yummy twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. My hubby said it tastes a lot like the chocolate oranges they sell around Christmas time.
*Continue after my recipe to read about my first experience teaching food styling and lighting.
Zesty Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/4 Cups Flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1TBS flaxseed meal + 2.5TBS water. Mix together and let it sit for 10 minutes)
- 1 cup vegan butter (Softened)
- 3/4 cup raw sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp juice squeezed from an orange
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- zest from half and orange
- 1 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (72% cocoa or higher)
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix together and make a well in the center.
- In a separate mixing bowl, Whisk together the flax egg, butter, sugars, orange juice, extracts, and zest.
- Pour the wet mixture into the center well of the dry mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon for small cookies, use a 2 tablespoon measuring spoon for larger cookies. Using your measuring spoon, scoop up cookie dough and place the rounded dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Place the rounded dough about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 – 11 minutes. Then take the baking sheet out of the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a rack. *I found that during the cooling process, the chocolate chips were hardening on the baking pan which was causing the cookies to stick. If this happens, grease the pan very lightly with coconut oil. Too much coconut oil will make the cookies essentially “melt”.*
I was asked last month to be a guest speaker/teacher for a high school art class at the school where I work. I was excited and quite nervous. Of course I was excited to share my passion for food and photography, but nervous all the same to get up in front of teenagers and talk about this great love of mine. The reasons I started taking pictures of my food to begin with was because I was sick of talking about my lifestyle and wanted the pictures to do the talking for me. The pressure was on.
On day one I spoke about myself and what I do, why I do it (see my “About me” page to read my personal story) and why I love it. The oddest part of the experience was having to get up in front of people who have grown up in a mid-western rural farm community and explain vegan art. Lucky for me, this group of teenagers seemed to have good heads on their shoulders. They showed a genuine interest and asked respectful questions.
On day two, I brought them homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies to take pictures of and of course, eat when they were done with their pictures. I also brought in most of my props and tools. I gave them free reign to style their picture the way they imagined it, but I did move around the room to try to give lighting advice. I returned the next day for finalized pictures and then editing. The results were pretty impressive.
I was honestly as prepared as I could have been for teaching my first food styling class and I think it went rather well. The students were very respectful and fun to work with. I am so thankful for this experience. It was a perfect learning experience for any future teaching opportunities that may present themselves in the future.