Have you ever been consumed by the desire to eat a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie, but don’t feel like going through the effort of making a whole batch? You just ate dinner, you’re hankering for something sweet, and your brain goes to chocolate chip cookies. And then your brain won’t let go of that thought. This recipe is for that moment.
The problem with a baking recipe like cookies is that they’re not easy to scale down to a single serving. For a while there I was making this other single serving cookie recipe, and I liked it because it uses part of an egg, which helps it to taste like a real chocolate chip cookie (and it was really good). But, that’s a bit of a hassle – you have to store the rest of the egg and then remember to use it promptly, etc. I needed to find a better way.
In my constant quest for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, I came across Ovenly’s cookie, which is “secretly” vegan. And then I had my lightbulb moment. Since that recipe uses oil and water as the main binders (instead of an egg), it would be much easier to scale down for a single serving.
So I started messing with it. While it technically worked, it wasn’t perfect. The texture was a little off, and you could taste the baking soda and powder too much. It paled in comparison to the real recipe when it was scaled down. I tweaked it on and off for probably like a year and a half, adding vanilla to help amp up the flavor, cut it down to just baking soda instead of powder and soda, etc., but I couldn’t get it to be exactly where I wanted it to be.
Then I got the One Part Plant Cookbook. The chocolate chunk cookie recipe in that book uses flaxseed meal, and I had another lightbulb moment. I went back to experimenting. I added in some flaxseed meal, decreased the flour amount, went bolder with the oil by switching to olive oil instead of a more neutral one, and swapped coconut sugar for the white sugar to help with the flavor. I was almost there; success was not too far off.
I became OBSESSED, making a version of it almost every night. (I don’t recommend making this with such frequency …) The great thing about a single serving recipe is that it’s so low pressure and easy to test. You don’t waste a ton of ingredients with each try, and you’re not left with a bunch of mediocre cookies afterwards.
I tweaked it over and over again – less flaxseed, more flour; a tiny bit more sugar, changing the baking temperature, etc. It eventually became something entirely different from where it began. If you’re familiar with the Ovenly cookie, you know you have to refrigerate the dough before baking it. I had been doing that with these recipe trials because I figured it helped, especially when it came to shaping the cookie before baking. At one point I got SO CLOSE to perfection with my recipe, but the texture was slightly off. The more I thought about it, I realized that baking it right away instead of refrigerating it might help to get it closer to my ideal texture. And wouldn’t it be amazing if you didn’t have to refrigerate the dough first?!
I gave it a shot. And my perfect single serving cookie was born. (Ahhh!!!!) And then I made it every night for the next four days JUST to make sure it was perfect. (Again, I don’t recommend this course of action.) But the moment had come – I didn’t need to change anything. While you certainly can refrigerate the dough if you want to before baking for a slightly different texture, I prefer it when it’s baked right away. (Baking it right away gives you crispier edges because the cookie melts faster and then those little edges bake up faster in the oven.)
After finalizing this recipe I had to wean myself off of my nightly cookie consumption. It was difficult when 8pm would roll around and I was sitting at my computer without a cookie … It had become my nightly ritual to test the recipe and then evaluate it as I worked at my desk. It was productive while also being a comfort, especially in these stressful times we’re living in. But now we have this recipe for those days when you need it most!
Are you as excited as I am?!??!?! Working on this recipe made me realize how much I love this kind of perfectionistic recipe testing. It’s such a thrill when you finally get it right. I can’t believe I figured out a single serving chocolate chip cookie recipe made of pantry ingredients I normally have on hand, and it happens to be VEGAN? What?! (Just make sure your chocolate chips are vegan if that’s your goal.) Even though the ingredient list is a little unusual for a chocolate chip cookie, it has the salty-sweet, toffee/caramel-like flavor notes I love, thanks to the olive oil, vanilla, coconut sugar and dark brown sugar (and that flaky salt). Furthermore, I love that it’s quite large. If you’re going through the hassle of making yourself one cookie, it better be one big-ass cookie, am I right?
A few notes for you when making this life-hack of a recipe:
• I gave some weight measurements because I prefer to bake that way, but I found it was easier to just go by volume since they’re such small quantities.
• If you think you’ll be making this a lot (like I do), I’d suggest investing in a 1/8 tsp measuring spoon. I have one and it was such a lifesaver during this process. (Otherwise just eyeball it with a 1/4 tsp one.)
• Same goes for a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon – I have one and use it all the time, even though it’s a slightly obscure measure.
• Here’s a set that has both. (affiliate link)
With the help of my husband, the talented Robert Cornelius, we made this recipe video to show you how incredibly easy this cookie is to make. (Thanks honeeeyyyy!!)
On another note, this week marks FOUR YEARS of Cake Over Steak. I’m glad this recipe ended up coinciding with that milestone because it’s the kind of recipe I’m super excited about when it comes to this blog. Sometimes (in certain stressful moments) I wonder why I continue this blog – with the self-imposed deadlines (which I constantly miss – this post was supposed to go out weeks ago, for example) and all of my “free time” spent working on this thing and pushing social media, etc. But in addition to all of the many reasons for why I DO continue to blog, this recipe is a perfect example. The truth is that I probably would have spent a long time perfecting this recipe even if I didn’t have a blog anymore, but this blog gives me a space to share it in addition to the confidence to pursue it as a recipe developer.
Four years ago when I launched Cake Over Steak (or six years ago when I started thinking about it), I don’t think I would have foreseen me creating a recipe quite like this, but I’m totally thrilled that I’m here now. I’ve realized that the key to me feeling fulfilled by this blog is to constantly go after posts I’m creatively excited about: recipes like this one, my Feast of St. Pizza tradition with friends, travel posts (I’ve got a lot headed your way!), and my posts about various cookbooks that inspire me, etc. My hope is that these things that allow me to have fun with this blog continue to allow you to enjoy it as well. Thanks so much for reading and for being a part of this corner of the internet with me. I appreciate you. xoxo
Illustration at top created with pen, sharpie, Photoshop and Illustrator.
You can find prints of my illustrations (plus other products with my work on them) in my Society6 shop.
(I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to hang a print of this recipe flowchart in my kitchen for easy access when the craving strikes.)
- 3 tbsp (26g) all purpose flour
- ½ tbsp (aka 1.5 tsp or 3g) flaxseed meal
- ⅛ tsp coarse kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp (30g) chocolate chips (make sure they're vegan if you're going for a vegan cookie)
- 1 tbsp (10g) coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp (15g) dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp (12g) olive oil
- ½ tbsp (aka 1.5 tsp or 9g) water
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- flaky salt like Maldon (I like to use vanilla flaky salt to take it up a notch)
- Heat the oven to 350. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, flaxseed meal, salt, baking soda and chocolate chips. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar, dark brown sugar, olive oil, water and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until combined and there are no more traces of flour visible. It will be soft but mostly hold its shape. If the dough seems way too soft and doesn't hold its shape at all, sprinkle a little bit more flour at a time until the consistency seems better. (At this point you could also refrigerate it for half an hour or so, but you don't have to.)
- Place the dough in the center of your parchment-lined baking sheet. Form it into a 3-inch circle. Sprinkle with your flaky salt.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the edges are brown and the cookie looks fully baked. (Unlike other cookies, I prefer to leave this in the oven until it looks fully cooked. It helps to give it those crispy edges. If you under-bake it the cookie won't hold its shape as well. I usually keep mine in for closer to 12 min.)
- Let it rest on the pan for 5 minutes before eating. Then ENJOY!