‘Dessert’ the cholesterol

Janice Daniels

You must think I’m crazy. Actually, you probably think all vegans are crazy.

When I say I’m vegan, you might think I’m a part of one of those cults that stand outside of Kentucky Fried Chicken with PETA picket signs; throwing paint on anyone who dares to walk by in a leather jacket. Not me.

You also probably think I’m a sad, deprived being who isn’t fed scrumptious desserts on a regular basis and who would rather be eating raisins and dates rather than a moist, chocolatey cupcake. Still not me.

I do like raisins and dates, but I’m not a complete psycho. My purpose as a food blogger is to share delicious food recipes, my experiences with tasty food and my passion for healthy living. Mind you, I do not post recipes unless I know for damn sure they are satisfying – even to those who might enjoy consuming chili cheese fries and tri-tip on a daily basis.

I grew up in a household with two parents, two younger brothers and two older sisters who, along with myself, ate meat on a daily basis with nearly every meal. In fact, my dad is one of those stubborn, overly-carnivorous men who finds it inhumane and unmanly to give up meat. What I’m getting at here is even they have honestly enjoyed many of the dishes and desserts I have made.

You might think a cookie without milk or eggs sounds horrid. If they were really that bad, I don’t think my dessert-loving friends and family would ask me to “make more!” as much as they do.

Months ago I bought a wonderfully indulgent vegan cookie book titled “The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur,” by Kelly Peloza. It is absolutely fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, I have made many marvelous cookies from it including chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, chewy banana, gingerbread, mocha cappuccino, sugar and double chocolate – my favorite cookie recipe so far.

I have made the double chocolate cookies many times and, every time, my victims have loved their rich, moist, chocolatey, ooey-gooey, animal-less goodness.

As these cookies are vegan, they are also cholesterol-free. Speaking of cholesterol-free, being vegan means I am completely cholesterol-free, since cholesterol only resides in animal products and I don’t consume animal products. 

Just because these cookies are vegan doesn’t mean you can down an entire batch without gaining a pound; they still contain oil and lots of sugar. The difference is that they are much better for your heart than animal-pervaded cookies, which I think is a big difference.

At www.vegfamily.com, it states, “The only way to  get dietary cholesterol is from animal products. This is because cholesterol is manufactured by the livers of animals (including humans), and since plants don’t have livers, cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin. And since humans can make cholesterol without getting any from the diet, dietary cholesterol is not an essential (necessary) nutrient. The production of cholesterol is normal and healthy, as cholesterol serves many important functions in the body. Of course, as you know, too much cholesterol coursing through our veins is not healthy, as it increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.”

It seems that the word “vegan” is what throws most people off. It makes people stand on their toes and become hesitant about what you are serving them. They automatically taste – or “think” they taste – the difference. I have taken vegan dishes to potlucks many times without telling people they were vegan, and everyone found those dishes to be delicious without a word of criticism or a look of disgust.

When you tell people the food is vegan beforehand, though, they automatically assume it is going to taste like oat bran and Brussels sprouts.

Before I ever made my sister vegan cookies, I said “I’m going to make you vegan cookies.”

Her response: “I don’t want spinach in my cookies!”

Is this what people think? The term “vegan” means everything has vegetables in it? No wonder I constantly get the stink eye upon telling people I’m vegan.

I am going to share that wonderful double chocolate cookie recipe from “The Vegan Connoisseur” and hope you bake them, love them and realize “vegan” really doesn’t change the taste at all.

You’re probably wondering about the chocolate chips in this recipe. A lot of semisweet chocolate chip brands are vegan but, to be sure, check the ingredients list for “milkfat.” That is usually what makes chocolate chips non-vegan. My favorite are Guittard’s Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips. They are all natural and made with real vanilla – super duper delicious.

Double Chocolate Cookies

½ cup chocolate chips (for melting)

½ cup soy milk

2/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 cups flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Melt the chocolate chips with 1/3 cup of soy milk in the microwave or in a double boiler.

Pour the melted chocolate and soy milk into a large bowl, then add the rest of the soy milk, oil, vanilla, sugar and cornstarch.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (Of course you can add more chocolate chips. I always do.)

Next, get a greased cookie sheet and use a spoon to distribute balls of dough onto it – I like to use a tablespoon to be sure all of the cookies will be the same size. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Enjoy!

Today, I enjoy dessert more than I ever have before. I don’t know if it’s because I’m vegan and have to really think about what I am consuming, or if I am just overly pleased with my own vegan dessert creations. I truly don’t ever remember a cookie tasting so good before I was vegan.

We people are killing ourselves from cholesterol – one in every six adults has high cholesterol according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Taking the time to cut out animal products in some meals and desserts, at least sometimes, can make a huge difference in your health and in the world.

Janice Daniels can be reached at [email protected]