Vegan vs Non-Vegan: Choc-Chip Cookie

The latest in my battle with Jal about whether vegan food is disgusting or not. We realised we were both trying to argue different points: I wanted to prove that vegan food can be as good, if not better, than non-vegan food, and he believes that adding “vegan” to anything is just a sign to say it’s going to be horrible.

This experiment pits the Serious Eats Choc Chip Cookie recipe against America’s Test Kitchen’s Vegan Choc Chip Cookie recipe. A quick comparison of the ingredients:

Non-vegan:

  • butter
  • ice
  • flour
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • choc chips
Vegan:
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • light brown sugar
  • coconut oil
  • water
  • almond butter
  • vanilla extract
  • choc-chips
Unfortunately, the addition of the almond butter (I couldn’t find that, but did find almond spread at our local supermarket) meant that the cookie was not redbeanpork-friendly.
Anyway, I did the usual experiment set-up, and here are the results:
Non-vegan: 3
Vegan: 10
Both: 1
In a surprising sweep, the vegan cookies won by a large margin. I was surprised because I think the Serious Eats choc-chip recipe is my current favourite, and I’m always on the look-out for better choc-chip cookies. It’s one of the few foods that I will nearly always try even if it contains dairy / egg (the only thing that would stop me was if it had peanuts).

I proudly showed the results to Jal who said that the addition of almonds changed the flavour of the cookie, and it’s likely that people just liked the taste of almonds, and that is what made them better. He said I had to make one without the use of almonds. I asked if this was going to turn into a no true scotsman fallacy eventually, but in hindsight, I don’t think that’s right. Maybe moving goalposts, but maybe that’s not right either. 

He conceded the point that at least for choc-chip cookies, a vegan version could pass, but said that in order for him to accept my vegan choc-chip cookie, I had to make a nut-free version, as nuts are a common allergy. It is possible that the results could be biased by people who have nut allergies not being able to take part.
Still, my vegan co-worker was pretty happy with the cookie, and for the first time since I met him, he sent me a message over IM with rainbow emoji thanking me for the cookie.
In other cookie-baking news, we had another housewarming and Captain challenged me to another cookie bake-off. I beat him with the same vegan cookies, so the next challenge is Singapore noodles. Eggy also challenged me to make a decent sugar-free cookie. And redbeanpork challenged me to make a decent vegan gay time ice-cream. So many challenges, so little time!
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