Chewy Vanilla Spice Cookies with Chocolate Chunks

Amanda Hesser


Food52 co-founder Amanda Hesser developed this delightful (and vegan!) recipe in order to merge the benefits of a chewy chocolate chip cookie with the fragrance of a holiday spice cookie. 

Recipe adapted from Food52 and A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Saigon)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 rounded teaspoon ground chile (preferably piment d’Espelette)
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into ¼-inch chunks, reserving any shavings
1 vanilla bean, cut crosswise into 6 pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon 
canola oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground chile. Fold the chocolate chunks (and all the shavings on your cutting board) into the flour mixture. 

In a blender, combine the vanilla bean and sugar and blend until the vanilla is reduced to flecks in the sugar. In a separate large bowl, whisk the vanilla sugar and brown sugar with the canola oil and water until you have a smoothish liquid.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients onto the sugar mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. (Do not skip this step!)

When ready to bake: Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the dough into 2-inch mounds, placing them on the prepared baking sheet and flattening them slightly with your hands. If your chocolate chunks are big, you may also need to press the dough together with your fingers. Sprinkle the dough with flaky salt and slide the baking sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees and continue baking until the edges are beginning to toast, about 6 minutes more. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. You can bake off the rest of the dough now, or do it in a single batch when you want to serve them. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.


Makes 20 cookies