Yesterday I read an article about a woman who decided to leave a nearly six figure job in Manhattan to move to a small Caribbean island and scoop ice cream. She was in her early 30s, employed as a journalist and living in a trendy neighborhood with everything at her fingertips, and yet she spent most of her time working to afford to live there, didn’t see her friends often, and felt lonely in a city packed tightly with millions of other people. She wrote:
“If you’re constantly thinking you need a vacation, maybe what you really need is a new life.”
I felt this deeply until a little less than two years ago when I left my job to completely switch gears, and Aaron started to feel it late last year, when he realized he was spending his days staring at screens. For all of the amazing things technology brings to our lives, it can also make us feel really isolated, anxious, and disconnected. It can pull us from being present in the moment, from slowing down, from getting out, from seeing and doing.
“I let my hands idle too long and the screensaver, a stock photo of a tropical scene, popped up. Here was something to get excited about. What I wanted — something I’d fantasized about for years, in fact — was to stop living in front of a screen and live in that screen, in the photo on my computer. And why couldn’t I?”
We leave Boston for our year of travel in a week and a half, having a rough idea of the places we’ll visit and where we’ll crash at night, but otherwise not knowing what’s to come. What we do know is that this adventure has the potential to be life-changing, and that’s exactly the point. How exciting to try out different ways of living instead of our usual routines, to live for the experiences instead of the destinations. There can be such promise and joy in not knowing.
I first had the idea for these vegan chocolate waffle cookies a few weeks back when I was looking through our kitchen and trying to decide which gadgets we’d be taking with us and which we’d pack away. For some reason as soon as I pulled the waffle iron out of the cabinet, my mind went to cookies, and after a bit of research, I realized waffle cookies are sort of a thing. A lot of people complain that most taste more like waffles than cookies, which seems like a bit of a miss to me. To remedy that, I just kept adding more and more (and more) chocolate, and the end result surpassed even my already high expectations. Not only do these cookies bake up in two minutes, but they are intensely chocolate-y, rich, dense, and dark. They taste like cookie meets brownie in a mini waffle shape, with crispy edges all around and a softer, fudge-like center. Aaron says they remind him of the chocolate cookies from his favorite bakery, Flour, which is perhaps the highest compliment any baked good can receive. If we ever decide to open our own vegan bakery, these deceptively easy yet satisfying triple chocolate waffle cookies will definitely be on the menu.
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax seeds, freshly ground + 3 tablespoons warm water)
- 2.2 ounces vegan dark chocolate, chopped
- ⅓ cup unrefined coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the waffle iron
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup raw cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- ⅓ cup vegan chocolate chips
- vegan powdered sugar, for decorating
- Combine the ground flax and warm water and set it aside for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the chopped chocolate with the coconut oil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the prepared flax egg, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until the sugar mostly dissolves. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture, then sift in the flour, cacao powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until combined, then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Heat the waffle iron until hot. Brush it with coconut oil to prevent sticking and spoon 1 cookie dough scoop (approximately 1 heaping tablespoon) of cookie dough onto the center of each waffle iron square. Close the waffle iron and cook through, about 1½-3 minutes depending on your iron. The tops should feel crisp and the cookies should easily pop out of the iron without crumbling. If they crumble, it's likely they need to cook a bit longer. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure to brush the waffle iron with coconut oil before each batch. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with a tall glass of your favorite non-dairy milk or a cup of strong coffee (Aaron's favorite).
You can make four cookies at a time in your waffle iron, but for the first batch I would start with one to determine how long you'll need to bake them. My waffle iron took 2 minutes exactly, but different waffle irons will vary slightly.
In terms of removing the cookies from the waffle iron, I used a fork to gently lift them out. It also helps if you make sure the chocolate chips are covered in dough and not exposed so they don't stick to the iron.
The cookies will firm up as they cool. I think they're best enjoyed at room temperature.
P.S. The above article I referenced can be found here. xo Amanda