Yes, I’ve jumped on the skillet cookie bandwagon! I can’t call it a skillet cookie, because I’m too English (sad face) and “frying pan cookie” just sounds bizarre. But if you’re looking at this recipe thinking “this is clearly a skillet cookie”, well, yes, yes it is. It is a delectable, moist, unbelievably amazing double cacao cookie of deliciousness.
I must admit that this recipe has been through several incarnations. The first had a delicious flavour and a mouth-watering aroma that filled my entire house as it baked, but it was overcooked and far too dry. The second, aside from the fact that it was quite crumbly, was perfect. The flavour and texture were exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t much care that instead of a slice of cookie I ended up with a bowl of cookie! However, it did bother me that this version contained palm oil. I’m trying to cut palm oil out of my diet, because of widely-held concerns exposing palm oil extraction as a major source of deforestation, destroying environments and destroying animal habitats. You can find more info pretty much all over the internet. The cookie was originally made with Pure dairy free spread, but it feels wrong to label a recipe as vegan when it uses an ingredient which in turn uses an ingredient which contributes to animal suffering. This may sound erratic but it makes sense in my head. Not to mention the fact that a slab of very dark brown cookie baked in a very dark grey frying pan doesn’t photograph well!
So, I decided to set about making a version that is palm oil free. Easy, I thought, and pulled some vegetable fat out of the fridge, only to find that it too is palm oil based. So, I turned to my trusty friend, coconut oil. Using coconut oil in place of vegan margarine obviously changed the texture of the cookie dough, so I needed to add more ingredients to make it sweeter and moister. I added a little agave syrup and some dairy free milk. Then came the anxiety of the baking period; will it work? Will the cookie be a big runny mess? After all, this is a dessert that is meant to be eaten warm, and coconut oil is only solid at room temperature or below. This could ruin the whole cookie!
I waited with baited breath for the 30 minutes baking time to be over. Would I get my palm oil free chocolately cookie of yumminess (yeah, I’m just using non-words now)? When I first removed the cookie from the oven I noticed that quite a bit of oil had risen to the top of the cookie but on the up side, the cookie was, for the most part, solid and had risen nicely, so I decided to let it rest for a few minutes in the hope that the oil would absorb back into the cookie. It did! The cookie tasted good, it was very moist, but it was also very oily and I did feel quite sick after eating my share. My bowl had a little puddle of oil in the bottom. Let’s be honest, nobody wants that. All in all, I’d say that my favourite is the second recipe, which unfortunately does contain a palm oil-based spread, so that is the one I’m sharing here. On the plus side, this is a simple, no-fuss recipe that will take no more than 10 minutes to prepare and only 30 minutes to cook, so it’s on your table and in your belly in less than an hour!
I did do a bit of research online to see if I could find a brand of vegan spread or vegetable fat that doesn’t contain palm oil. I haven’t had any luck yet, although some brands apparently claim that their palm oil is sustainably sourced. If anyone has an insight on this matter I’d love to hear it in the comments below!
Double Cacao Deep Dish Skillet Cookie
150g vegan spread
100g soft light brown sugar
50g self-raising wholemeal flour
30g cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
30g cacao nibs
To serve: Vegan ice cream (I used Swedish Glaze raspberry flavour)
- Preheat the oven to 180oC/gas mark 4/350o
- Using an electric whisk, cream together the vegan spread and the brown sugar. Add the flour, cacao powder, vanilla extract and rapeseed oil. Mix with the electric whisk until combined. Fold in the cacao nibs.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. This will give a slightly underbaked, soft texture. You can bake it for longer if you like, but I would recommend not baking for longer than 40 minutes.
- Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve with vegan ice cream and sliced strawberries.