For my final installment in my ‘Cooking with Mushrooms’ series, I felt the most natural stopping point to be the same as the end of most meals: dessert.
More specifically, the almighty, perfect chocolate chip cookie.
Cookies are a bakery staple across the country. Every family has a secret recipe for a “perfect batch.” Still, this vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-butter-based recipe will surely knock your socks off with its rich, umami flavors and crumbly texture.
While this recipe calls for only a few components, the preparation goes beyond mixing a few things in a bowl. For this recipe, we’ll make our own cashew butter (or almond, peanut, whatever nut floats your boat) and mushroom miso paste from dried oyster mushrooms.
While these processes won’t cost you too much labor or time, finishing these spreads before prepping your cookies is crucial. I made my cashew butter a week before baking these cookies, so I enjoyed it for breakfast and lunch before using the rest for baking these sweet, shroomy treats.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
Total time: 42-45 minutes
MAKES 20 COOKIES
Olive-oil cooking spray for the pan
2 cups (455 g) Shroomy Nut and Seed Butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Miso Mushroom Paste
1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar or 1 cup (145 g) date sugar
3 tablespoons shiitake powder
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, plus more for sprinkling
6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate (70% cacao) chunks, coarsely chopped, or bittersweet chocolate chips
MAKES 2 CUPS (365 g)
2 1/2 cups (300 g) cashews (or almonds, walnuts, or any other nut you prefer)
1/2 cup (70 g) sunflower seeds (or any other seed you prefer)
3 tablespoons mushroom powder (I used mine from Naturealm, but lion’s mane and porcini work well)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Lightly mist two two baking sheets with cooking spray.
To begin, I knocked out my cashew and sunflower seed shroom butter- to a food processor; I added my nuts and seeds and pulsed until a sandy texture. Make sure to allow your food processor time to cool between pulses, as the machine can heat up quickly. After 10 minutes, add your yeast, salt, and mushroom powder and pulse until fully incorporated. Finally, add your oil slowly to ensure a creamy, well-blended texture. I also added honey to mine, but this is optional.
I also made my tiny bit of mushroom miso paste by blending some dried oyster mushrooms into a fine powder (just a small handful is fine if you’re making a small batch) and using a spatula to fold it into my tablespoon of miso paste.
In a medium bowl, stir to combine the nut butter, miso mushroom paste, eggs, sugar, shiitake powder, and salt. Fold in the chocolate. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
After keeping my cashew butter in the fridge for a week, it became firm and unmixable without melting it in the microwave first. Because homemade cashew butter needs to be refrigerated, I recommend making your cashew butter immediately before you make your cookies to get the smoothest consistency to combine your ingredients effectively.
You especially want to take this step if you’re mixing al mano and do not have a fancy stand mixer like myself- save yourself the soreness.
Don’t skip the crucial half-hour in the fridge after mixing your dough. These gluten-free cookies’ bodies are mostly sugar and cashew butter, so the dough is naturally softer and gooier.
Using a medium (2 tablespoon) ice cream scoop, arrange balls of dough on the prepared sheets about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup, and sprinkle lightly with salt.
This recipe claims these cookies don’t spread in the oven when they bake, but I beg to differ. While they didn’t fully expand outward like ordinary store-bought dough, my batch of cookies spread a little, so make sure to space them out 2-2.5 inches, or make the cookies a bit smaller. Flattening them helped, though.
Please, invest in Maldon salt as I did, and thank me and yourself- that’s luxury. Sprinkle flakes atop your cookies before they bake, and the flavors compliment each other perfectly out of the oven.
Bake until the cookies are set on the outside and browned on the bottom (the insides will still be soft), 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies should keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
For my apartment’s ten-year oven, baking took slightly longer than 12 minutes to guarantee a cookie that wasn’t raw, about 14 minutes. However, you should always start with a shorter time and add baking time if necessary, checking periodically.
I like firmer dough, but these aren’t your typical crunchy cookies. This dough recipe is undoubtedly one of the wetter ones I’ve made, but don’t let that discourage you from attempting these decadent, nutty, chocolatey treats yourself.
While I believe these cookies would last for four days without spoiling, I don’t think my household will have to worry about an excess of these. They’re delectable with ice cream or a glass of your favorite milk. The mushroom miso paste I made gave the cookies a rich, umami flavor beyond any dessert I had made before.
I never realized that adding earthy, umami shroom flavors to my sweets would elevate them this immensely. I’m also shocked that miso paste, a usually savory addition to my dinners and soups, made my cookies ultra-delectable and multi-layered for a multidimensional chocolate chunk cookie. Yes, they’re that good.
I froze the dough I didn’t use in this batch and will undoubtedly use it soon and make more when it’s gone. I implore you to make these cookies, whether or not you make your nut butter homemade- any store-bought (or even better, ground in-store) cashew or almond butter will suffice.
I would add oats to these chocolate chip cookies next time I bake them to add some more body to the cookies. There are endless possibilities for other mix-ins, like raisins, dark chocolate chips, or hazelnuts.