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The Daily Dish Food and Drinks

You'll Never Guess What Weird Ingredient Sam Talbot Adds to His Chocolate Chip Cookies

They're "one of the best" cookies Sam's ever had (but OK, he's biased). 

By Maggie Shi
Top Chef's Sam Talbot Describes His Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

When asked to name his favorite recipes from his new cookbook 100% Real during an interview with, Top Chef's Sam Talbot got extra jazzed about his vegan chocolate chip cookies. They're "really good," he said, noting that they've been a huge hit at the book signings he's done so far. "And people are like, 'I can't believe these are vegan!'" he revealed.

There's a lot of good stuff in there—dark chocolate chips, coconut oil, applesauce, and sea salt—but the most surprising ingredient? Smoked ancho chili powder.

"They're sweetened with date sugar, coconut sugar, and we mix a little bit of chili pepper into the dough," Sam explained. "And so when you bite into it you have this moist dark chocolate chip cookie, you've got the flakes of sea salt, but then you have a hint of spicy chili coming through, and it's really delicious." 

"It's one of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had," he added. "Granted, I'm a little biased because I made it, but whatever." 

There's only one way to find out: try the recipe yourself, below.

Vegan Chocolate Chip And Salted Chili Cookies

Hands-on: 25 minutes Total: 50 Minutes Makes 3 Dozen cookies 

At my restaurant Pretty Southern, I offer classic comforts that people already know and love, but I update the recipes so everyone can enjoy them. These scrumptious cookies put sweet and savory together in the best way.   

  • 2 cups (about 8.5 ounces) organic  flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to finish
  • 1 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup date sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup organic apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce or apple puree
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons almond milk or water, if needed 
  • 1 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips (70% cacao)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, chili powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Combine the coconut and date sugars, coconut oil, cider, and applesauce in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. (If the dough looks dry, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons almond milk or water, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together.) Stir in the chocolate chips. 

4. Drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

5. Sprinkle the dough with the sea salt.

6. Bake in preheated oven, in batches, until the edges are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on wire racks.

Excerpted from 100% Real by Sam Talbot. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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