Chocolate Chunk Coconut Oil Cookies

Perhaps it's due to the recent wedding of my younger sister, but I've been feeling stagnant in my own life lately. I'm waiting—waiting to be engaged, waiting to be married, waiting to have children. The clock ticks and my number hasn't been called. In many ways, I feel like my "real" life hasn't started yet, as if my life is on hiatus, waiting for the next season to begin.

Realistically, I know all of this is not true. My current state of being is nothing to complain about. I have an amazing job working as a high school teacher, a delicious hobby, the freedom to travel, and few responsibilities or worries. However, knowledge of these truths and my current feelings about them are two different things. The head and the heart are often at odds. I need to remind myself that life is happening now, not in a year or two. It's time to brush off the restlessness and embrace where I am now.

This past weekend I packed up and moved again (for the sixth time since starting this blog). It's not a starter house, as I have daydreamed about, but it is into a nicer apartment with much quieter neighbors. Patience is a virtue, I'm told. Sometimes, though, it takes a bit of a push to remember.

When I am feeling restless, I like to bake a batch of my favorite comfort desserts. Chocolate chunk cookies, now and always, will top the list. Since learning I was lactose intolerant a few years ago, I have been on the hunt to find a recipe sans butter or vegan butter replacement. After a dozen trials over the years, I landed on this version featuring coconut oil.

Unlike most butter recipes, the coconut oil is liquid when added. As a result, the cookies do not spread much in the oven. To combat this, the dough is rolled into balls and flattened with the palm of a hand to the desired thickness. Press the dough lightly for thick cookies with a soft center and crunchy outside, or press down firmly for thin, crisp cookies. The choice is yours.

Chocolate chunk coconut oil cookies are a dairy-free alternative to the classic. The cookies feature large chunks of chocolate and a customizable texture. To elevate the traditional cookie, espresso powder is added to enhance the chocolate flavor and flaky sea salt is sprinkled on top for a sweet and salty contrast (though both of these additions are optional). While I could not detect a coconut flavor from the oil, a subtle one may appear depending on the brand used. As always, serve with a large glass of milk.

One Year Ago: Raspberry Rhubarb Sorbet 
Two Years Ago: Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
Three Years Ago: Sparkling Lemon Drop, Berry Cheesecake Tarts, Mint Sugar, & Frozen Strawberry Bars
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Cherry CakeCoconut Scones, & Roasted Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream 
Five Years Ago: Quinoa Pudding, Blueberry Hand Pies, Harry Potter Treats, & Cauldron Cakes
Six Years Ago: Margaritas, & Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Coconut Oil Cookies
Adapted from Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

Yields about 2 dozen

1/2 cup (113 grams) coconut oil, liquid state*
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (215 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (170 grams), semi or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped **
Flaky sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the coconut oil and sugars until uniform. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt until uniform. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons in size, and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Press down the dough with the palm of your hand until the dough is disk-shaped, about 1/2-inch in height. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if desired. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.

*Coconut oil melts at a temperature of 76 degrees F (24 degrees C). Microwave oil for a few seconds to melt, if necessary.

**Use dairy-free chocolate to keep the cookies fully dairy-free.