The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #05.

“Vegan Batch #05: Made with CORRECT ingredients from base receipt, plus 1+ Tablespoon crushed peppermint candies, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces.

“This time we’re trying for much less chocolate. I’m using only 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces, which are smaller than the dark chocolate chips in used Vegan Batch #04. The dough mixed well—even the crushed peppermint candies played nice.

“The batch yielded 11 normal sized cookies and one smaller squib. The dough seemed stickier than the other batches.

“I’m definitely not getting the overwhelming chocolate aroma this time. There actually seems to be more of a peppermint aroma.

“Out of the oven, they look a little paler than user, but they smell great. Just gonna let them cool for a few minutes…

After cooling five minutes: it’s chewy and moist. The big chunks of peppermint candy on top may be off-putting—we’ll see. But this baker thinks it’s a pretty good cookie.

“Later that evening, Kathy the Chief Taster liked it, but I’m having second thoughts. Somehow it tastes like the cookies weren’t completely baked.

“I took a batch to my day job. My vegan co-worker liked them (again) but said they tasted a bit ‘flour-y’—which makes me think this batch may have been a bit underbaked.

“My boss, however, loved it. ‘You can bring me a platter of those any time,’ she said.

“So, for all intents and purposes, we’re there. We have our vegan, gluten-free cookie receipt. Just have to use the correct ingredients and the correct procedure (and maybe small pieces of peppermint candy) on the next batch to confirm.”

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