For years, this was hands-down my favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I brought these cookies to bake sales, I mailed them to sad friends, I hung out in my room with a spoon and a bowl of uncooked dough.

Of course, these days, I have more than one favorite kind of chocolate chip cookie. I mean, really: why pick? Why can’t I sink my teeth into a soft, half-baked chocolate chip cookie one day, treasure a dense, heavy, mounded one the next, and decide on a crisp, buttery one when I’m in the mood? It’s like apples and oranges; each is wonderful in its own way. They’re different.

So since I am totally able to enjoy a multitude of chocolate chip cookie “types,” it’s important to me that a recipe’s results are described well. “This is the world’s best ________!” doesn’t tell me anything except that you like it, a lot!, which is fine, but I like to know what I’m getting into when I’m going to put my time into a recipe. And if you’re the kind of person that only loves one type of chocolate chip cookie, and this doesn’t happen to be what you’re looking for, I would hate to bum you out! So in that spirit:

I think these cookies are best half-baked. They don’t taste like butter, which was always a plus for me, as I used to really hate buttery chocolate chip cookies. They’re maple- and vanilla-scented with hints of caramel, but not so much as to warrant a name change. The dough is really good on its own. These cookies are crisp and golden on the outside and soft and doughy in the middle, with some chew in between. They are not even slightly cakey.

A few notes on ingredients. These cookies are oil-based, rather than margarine-based. That means they don’t taste like butter. And with the couple of bucks you save on not buying vegan butter for this recipe, invest in some intense maple syrup. Dark amber, if possible. It’s not that they won’t turn out fine with milder syrup; it’s just that they’re amazing with the high quality stuff. Trust me. Also, in case you were wondering, applesauce is the key to getting these half-baked and deliciously sunken. Honestly? I have kept some applesauce in the freezer for years for just this purpose. And lastly, if you’re going for something a little different, you can substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour.

While I no longer think these cookies are (or have to be) the be-all-end-all recipe for chocolate chip cookies, they still hold a special place in my heart — and my inbox, actually, because people ask me for this recipe all. the. time. Once when I tabled with my distro (RIP!) and these cookies at Philly Zine Fest, the person tabling next to me inhaled four of them in a row and swore that she would buy an entire cookbook just to get this single recipe. But sharing’s way more fun, right?

4.8 from 19 reviews
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
based on a recipe from Vegan Planet
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • ½ c oil
  • ¼ c applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1½ c chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, syrup, and oil. It will become smooth and even in consistency after a little while; don't skimp on this step!
  2. Beat in vanilla and applesauce.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet; mix well.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Form into 1" balls (or whatever size you prefer) and bake on greased sheets at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes.
Bake these for the full 10 minutes if you prefer crunchy cookies. Larger cookies will also need longer baking time.