Last Wednesday I received news that, after two years of declining mental and physical health, my grandmother's death seemed imminent. By Friday morning I had flown to New Hampshire and was at her bedside talking to her, reading to her, comforting her when her breathing got distressed. I'd like to think she knew I was there, and that it was ok to stop fighting and let go. When I woke up on Saturday, my uncle told me she had passed away early in the morning.
My grandmother and I were extremely close and her death, although expected, hit me extremely hard (like a Mack truck ran me over in my sleep, I don't feel like moving, let alone cooking, hard). We spent about two and a half months of every summer together, until my I finished my junior year in college and an internship usurped the time I usually spent with her at our family's lake home. While our summers at the lake were filled with visitors and random outings, we always found plenty of time to just sit down and talk to each other. I found it easy to chat with her for hours because she was a great listener and I always felt comfortable talking to her about anything (and I do mean anything). She made me feel like the most loved, special, spoiled and appreciated grandchild on the planet, and often managed to do so while whipping some sweet treats.
I'm pretty sure she took pleasure in fattening my parents and me up with baked goodies -- brownies, blondies, cookies, pies, coffee cakes, spice cake... I couldn't tell you how many spice cakes I've made with her. I need to find the pictures of me licking those dripping beaters, with that caramel-colored batter running down my face. I also once made over 50 pies for a charity bake sale with her and some of her friends. And don't even get me started on the brownies, or the blondies, which my friend Mario thinks are the tastiest thing he's ever eaten. You see, my mother isn't much of a baker (her quiet rebellion against my grandmother's ways, no doubt) so I relished the time I got to spend with my grandmother amongst doughs and batters.
Maybe someday she and I will get to bake together again. If so, I might whip this recipe out of my back pocket and say "Grammie, I made these for you". She would definitely approve.
Vegan Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 15 cookies
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 3.5 oz / 100 g bar of dark chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe's Swiss Dark Chocolate)
2. In a medium, microwave safe bowl combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla. Microwave the liquid mixture for about 30 seconds or until the coconut oil is soft enough to blend with the rest of the liquid ingredients (if it's too cold it will remain kind of chunky when beaten). Only microwave the mixture as long as you need to though; you don't want the wet ingredients to get too warm or else they'll melt the chocolate. I beat the wet ingredients until smooth using a hand mixer, but I suspect some intense whisking would also do the trick.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and add the chunks of dark chocolate. Mix using a spatula until just combined. Using your hands, roll out walnut-sized balls of dough and flatten them onto a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet. Cook the cookies 12 at a time for about 9 minutes or until they're slightly brown on the bottom.