Gather up your cookie baking ingredients, folks. What’s that you say? You’re out of eggs? No butter to be found?
Never fear, there are some easy vegan substitutions you can make. Each egg can be replaced with 1 “flax egg,” while 1/3 c of vegetable oil can be subbed in for each stick of butter. Yes, there are egg replacers and vegan margarine out there that you can use, but not everyone keeps those on hand…I know I don’t!
To help you all out, I did an experiment to see just how well these substitutes performed in a typical chocolate chip cookie.
Batch 1: The Control
For the control batch, I opted to use a tried and true classic: Nestle Tollhouse’s original chocolate chip cookie recipe. The cookies came out as expected. Soft, puffy, chewy and just a little bit rich.
Batch 2: No eggs
But what if you are out of eggs or simply don’t eat them? Enter Batch #2, in which I replaced the egg with a ‘flax egg.’ Simply mix 1 T of ground flax with 3 T of warm water, and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, at which point it will begin to gel and take on the consistency of an egg.
Aside from the flecks of flax throughout the cookies, I couldn’t detect much difference in the texture or appearance of the egg-less cookies. Even the uncooked batter has the same texture as the original dough!
I did notice, though, that these cookies tasted much more buttery on the second day than those made with the original recipe.
Since eggs typically play a large role in leavening, I expected these cookies to be flatter and less puffy than the original cookies. The reason they weren’t?
When you beat, or cream, the butter with the sugar, a lot of air is incorporated into the cookie dough. These air bubbles keep the cookies nice and puffy, even without the egg.
Batch 3: No butter
For batch #3, I kept the egg and ditched the butter. Each stick of butter was replaced with 1/3 c oil. All seemed well until I went to roll the batter into balls. Instead of the creamy-smooth balls of the first 2 batches, I ended up with a crumbly mess.
I managed to smush together some cookies, though. It was incredibly messy, but the cookies themselves looked fine in the end! They had a very crispy outer shell, since the main fat source was a liquid instead of solid ingredient. However, the egg helped the cookies rise a bit, so they were nice and soft on the inside. They also tasted richer than the original recipe cookies.
No eggs on hand? No problem…use a flax egg! As long as you don’t mind a slightly more buttery cookie, you’ll hardly notice the difference.
No butter? You’ll be okay. Replacing it with oil will change the texture and taste of the cookies, but not necessarily for the worse.
Please note, this experiment only applies to simple drop cookies. Subbing oil for butter isn’t likely to work for cookies like shortbread. And flax eggs don’t work for cookies that call for whipped egg whites. But for drop cookies? Substitute with flax eggs and oil as much as your heart (or pantry) desires!