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chocolate chip cookies (with sea salt)

The cookie that started it all. Yes, believe it or not, Beni Knows Best came to life as a result of this very chocolate chip cookie recipe.

A few years ago, I started making these cookies for friends, family, parties, Thursday afternoons, whenever I had the chance, really! The recipe is ingrained in my DNA at this point.

Everyone needs a go-to cookie recipe. So here’s mine.

So, these sea salt chocolate chip cookies, where do I begin? Nothing quite invites pure happiness and comfort like a soft warm chocolate cookie. That smell wafting out the oven, through your kitchen, flooding into the living room, maybe even a hint of cookie scent makes it upstairs. I can smell them just now as i’m typing away from my desk. 

One important note before starting these cookies, is to make sure your coconut oil is in a semi-solid state. Not completely rock-solid, but also not melted. You want it to be solid enough to scoop with a spoon. Envision the consistency of cookie dough, you don’t want it runny and melted. So if you need it to firm up a little, pop it in the fridge for an hour or so and it will solidify.

While this recipe uses both coconut oil AND coconut milk, I can assure you these cookies will not taste like coconut. It is a very subtle taste and it is very much overpowered by the dark chocolate. If you really want to be sure to avoid any and all traces of coconut aroma, then I recommend you use refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is neutral and in scent and flavour. If however, you’re a coconut lover like me, unrefined coconut will add subtle notes of coconut without overwhelming the flavour. 

The cookie dough should not be too firm and should not be too sticky. If it’s too sticky you can always sprinkle a little more flour. If it’s too firm you can add a little bit of plant milk. The consistency should be perfect to scoop and roll into ping-pong ball size. 

I personally prefer to use chopped chocolate in place of chocolate chips

The final touch before sending off the cookies into the oven is a crunch of sea salt over each cookie. Trust me, you won’t want to skip this step. 

Ah, the crisp golden edges of the base, the chewy soft middle, the melty goey chocolate chunks, the pop of flavour from the sprinkle of sea salt… I think it’s time to bake.

Ingredients

1 cup coconut oil (NOT melted)
2 1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (plus extra to sprinkle on top)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 180g bars of dark chocolate (my favourite is Tony’s Chocolonely almond sea salt + dark chocolate but any dark chocolate will do — though baking variety will work best)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C (175°C for fan oven) + line/grease a couple baking trays.
  2. Roughly chop your chocolate into about 1 cm cubes. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the coconut oil with the sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon until well combined. Try to break down as many of the coconut oil chunks as possible. 
  4. Add coconut milk and applesauce and get rid of all the lumps. 
  5. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl (apart from chocolate) and stir to combine. You should have a thick dough forming at this point. 
  6. Fold in the chocolate. 
  7. Grab small handfuls of dough and roll it into balls — about the size of a ping-pong ball. 
  8. Distribute the balls on your baking tray, make sure to leave space around each ball as they will flatten as they bake. 
  9. Crunch or sprinkle some fresh sea salt on each of the cookie dough balls just before sliding the trays into the oven. 
  10. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. The centres will still appear soft, they will firm up as they cool. 
  11. Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes, then enjoy!