Valentine’s Treat: Chocolate Cookies Two Ways

by on February 14, 2007
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Balsamic Fudge Drops

As soon as I saw the recipe for Balsamic Chocolate Drops at Habeas Brûlée, I knew I had to try it. Not only was I intrigued by the use of balsamic vinegar to enhance the chocolate flavor, but these fudgy drops were also easily veganized and already lower in fat than most cookies. So I made them one night to bring to a party—getting them out of the house so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat too many of them myself! Made with Earth Balance margarine and soy yogurt instead of butter and yogurt, they were a decadent treat.

But I couldn’t stop there. I liked the rich, chocolaty taste so much that I wanted to see if I could eliminate the fat completely and still have a luscious—but lighter—dessert. I needed to replace the margarine, and I decided that of all fat substitutes, prune puree would complement the chocolate best. I also added another chocolate enhancer, a pinch of cinnamon. And since prunes are sweeter than margarine, I was able to cut down on the sugar, an added bonus. The cookies came out much softer than the margarine version, almost like thin brownies or cakes. The biggest surprise was that E. and I actually preferred the no-fat version. I guess we just like our cookies soft rather than crispy.

So here are the two recipes—first the higher-fat version and then my fat-free version. Make some to share with the one (or ones) you love!

Balsamic Fudge Drops
Fat-Free Balsamic Fudge Cookies

Thanks to Danielle at Habeas Brûlée for the original recipe!

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eman October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Just made this wonderful recipe and took it to a party. Everyone loved it (non-vegans)!

It was really easy for me to make since I can never cook anything, so thank you so much Susan!


2 VeganRecipeGuy December 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I use a very similar prune trick when baking, but mine is more of a syrup than a puree. It really preserves the gooey sin of brownies without the fat.

The reason I am sharing it with you here is because you say "Caution don't use dry prunes!" and I believe just the opposite. My fat-substitute syrup is made as follows:

1/2 cup Agave Nectar

1 lb Prunes

1/2 cup water

Place prunes and agave nectar in food processor and process until nearly smooth. Slowly pour in water. You may need to scrape the sides and process further to get a smooth, thick syrup.

By using prune syrup instead of butter, you cut the calories in many baked goods in half, reduce fat by 85% and cholesterol to zero. Use half the amount of the butter or shortening called for, or 3/4 the amount of oil called for in a baking recipe.


3 Stephanie February 12, 2011 at 9:41 am

Thanks for this tip. I wish I had some yogurt..actually I dont’ because I would eat them all. These will be great to take somewhere!


4 lea February 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

These are amazing! I've been meaning to make these for a while- and finally made the fat free version. They are chewy and fudgy and absolutely delicious! I didn't have soy yogurt so I subbed "sour cream" and that worked just fine. Thanks for the awesome recipe.


5 Nancy February 17, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Both cookies look sooooo good! My husband and I will love the fat-free ones–you can't have too much chocolate.

FYI, Marin Foods stopped making Wonderslim fat and egg replacer in 2008, but Sunsweet makes Lighter Bake, which is supposed to be similar.

VeganRecipeGuy: Thanks for sharing!


6 natalie February 18, 2010 at 10:46 am

I made these this past weekend and I am savoring every last bite! I made the first version and they are so delicious. However I did make some changes to suit what I had in the fridge at the time. No balsamic on hand or prunes but I had dried apricots and cranberries. I reduced 4 tablespoons of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, 1/2 pound of apricots, 1/2 pound of cranberries until it was a syrupy goodness. Then I blended it well and used that instead of the balsamic and prunes. Yum Yum Yum


7 Benedictus February 19, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hi, I want to make these now, like right this very minute, and I have everything except: balsamic vinegar and prunes. Could I use apple-cider vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar and dates instead of prunes? I might have to try because I don't think I can wait! Wish me luck!


8 Alisha @ Unsual Passions June 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Please don’t use apple cider vinegar! It tastes much more acidic than balsamic, which has almost a sweet taste.

I’m afraid what might they might taste like if you use ACV! Did you try it? Tell me, how was it?

I always get so frustrated when I don’t have all the ingredients! I bake to use up ingredients, not buy ingredients to bake.

Alisha 🙂


9 Ali February 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

I just made these little cookies this morning. The batter was so light and fluffy. The smell great too. I cannot wait to give them away as gifts today. Thank you Susan for another fantastic recipe!


10 Anonymous February 26, 2010 at 7:36 pm

YUM! The Fudge drops were SOOO good and soft, and they stay soft. A very simple recipe too!


11 Laina March 1, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Susan, can I use white whole wheat flour or should I use whole wheat pastry flour instead? Thanks.


12 SusanV March 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Laina, you may have adjust the liquid, but both of those flours will work about the same.


13 Animeamber March 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thanks so much Susan for posting this delicious recipe, I haven't made any other cookies as delicious as these.

I haven't seen earth balance margerine in the UK, but my local supermarket has sunflower and soya based margerines. I was wondering which type you think would be best for baking? My instinct says the soya margerine would be best since it is firmer, but the sunflower variety seems to have a more buttery taste.

I made these cookies last night with 1 tablespoon of each variety plus 3tbsps of canola oil since that was literally all I had left, but I can't wait to try the next batch when I get some more margerine or prune puree!



14 Emelia March 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

FABULOUS cookies! Soft, decadant, and SUPER-chocolatey!!


15 Animeamber March 29, 2010 at 4:31 am

I made these with dutch-processed cocoa powder since it's difficult to find the natural stuff in the UK. The cookies turned out fine, perhaps due to the acidity of the vinegar. That said I haven't tried it with natural cocoa powder yet, but it's hard to imagine that the result could be any better!


16 Angela March 31, 2010 at 10:42 am

So yummy, I have made them twice now, the second time I made them into ice cream sandwiches to my dinner guests delight!

Thank you for the wonderful recipe!


17 Morgan May 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

This is totally my go-to recipe for chocolate cookies! I’ve made them so many times, because they’re so good, so I thought it was about time I thanked you for this recipe. Although I have yet to try the fat-free version, since I’ve never found prunes in a can… Some day!


18 nicole May 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Hi Susan..just curious, can I use 1/3 C of applesauce in place of the soy yogurt?


19 SusanV May 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I haven’t tried it in this recipe, but usually you can use apple sauce instead of yogurt in baked goods. I just like the results better with yogurt.


20 Hannah July 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

I’ve tried both versions, both of which are excellent but the fat free recipe is to die for! Thank-you so much!


21 SusanV July 30, 2010 at 9:21 am

Oh gosh, I hope you mean to LIVE for! 😉 So glad you liked them!


22 MSG August 1, 2010 at 12:44 am

i was wondering if these can be baked in brownie-bar form? i love this recipe (especially the calorie content- i bake for my mom a lot but she’s on a diet so i want to continue to be able to make her happy!) and would love to bake it in said form… forsee any problems?


23 MSG August 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

i just made these using one of the first comments recipes for prune syrup, but i subbed dried figs (7 oz pureed with 1/4 cup honey and 1/3 cup water), then cut ALL the sugar and used 1/4 c of the whole wheat flour, baked in brownie form for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. turned out beautifully 🙂 thanks so much!


24 Prune Cooking Oil August 31, 2010 at 7:36 am

I wanted to eat cookies so crunchy and it looks so delicious. I’m grateful that you share this ingredients and instructions to cook.


25 Alex September 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I love prune puree, but I don’t have any at hand so I’ll try it with mashed banana. It will change the taste but who cares, these look to good not to bake them now!


26 Lindsey October 1, 2010 at 12:32 am

I made the fat-free version today and they were amazing. BUT- I could not find prune puree anywhere so I used 3 tablespoons of coconut oil instead (kinda ruining the fat-free part but its all I had). I am gluten intolerant too so I also used bobs red mill gluten free flour mix and 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum. Even with all of these changes they tasted fabulous! They were soft and chewy and delicious. Its nice to find a good cookie recipe that works well with gluten free flours so Yay!


27 Stephanie December 20, 2010 at 9:12 pm

These are my go-to chocolate cookies! I have made them many times, and they always get a good reception, from both vegans and non-vegans.

My question: do you think these would be good if I substituted mint extract for the vanilla extract? I mean, I guess I should just try it 🙂 but I thought I’d at least ask. I am making variety baskets of cookies for gifts this year, and a chocolate mint cookie is on my list of cookies to include.


28 SusanV December 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

I think I would just add a little mint extract in addition to the vanilla. You can add a little and taste the batter and keep adding until you have enough (one of the great things about eggless batters!) Good luck. Please let me know how they come out.


29 Stephanie December 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I made the cookies with the addition of mint extract today. They are good! I think I may have added just a wee too much mint extract, so next time I will use less, but the mint flavor works well with the other flavors in the cookie.


30 Stephanie February 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

If you only have dried prunes on hand, reconstitute them in water overnight.


31 Kathleen April 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Wow! These cookies are amazing. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. This is my first vegan baking recipe I have attempted and I was surprised at how delicious they turned out!


32 Fiona September 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

These are so good! I made an oil-free batch for my Dad for Father’s Day (it’s Father’s Day in Australia) and had to keep a few for myself! I bought dried plums (which is what prunes are, dried prunes is redundant) that came in a bag but they were still quite moist. I simply blended them with some water until I got a paste/puree type consistency. Canned prunes might be hard for many to find, but you can usually find a bag of dried plums so to other readers who can only find dried plums (prunes), go ahead and use them and just blend with a bit of water. I only own one baking tray so I had to do two batches. The first batch I made the cookies really big, probably 2 Tbsp of cookie dough, which made 9 cookies on my tray. They had to bake for 18 minutes and came out perfectly. The next batch I did 1 level Tbsp of cookie dough, which made 7 cookies, and then baked for 11 minutes and they came out perfectly. I have tasted them warm, room temperature, and cold now, and I personally think they are delicious at any temperature, although I think I liked them warm best. When they were warm they tasted more fudge-y because they were still really soft. Great recipe! Tastes just like a regular chocolate cookie – can’t even tell there are prunes in it!


33 Fiona September 3, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Oh, I also left off the vanilla sugar, and while I am sure it would have made them even better, they are fantastic without it.


34 Fiona September 4, 2011 at 12:00 am

Also, my consistency came out exactly like cake, not cookies, but perhaps that is because I accidentally used self-raising flour but still added the baking soda and vinegar?? My mother thought they weren’t sweet enough, but my Dad ate three in a row so I guess he liked them lol. After the cookies had a chance to sit for awhile I tasted them again and decided I actually like them a lot better warm than room temperature or cold. For me, they don’t compare to a full-fat vegan cookie (except when warm), but for a healthy cookie they are nice. Probably wouldn’t make again though.


35 Andrea November 4, 2011 at 8:14 pm

It’s boyfriend approved ! I halved the recipe and used 1/2 c. of agave syrup instead of white and brown sugar. Thank you SO much ! I’m on a low sugar/wheat/yeast diet and I allow myself a little snack here and there BUT I must make it myself so I know what’s going into my body. This is by far the best I’ve made…….. and I’ve made a lot ! xx


36 Lily November 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

I made the full-fat version for a vegan friend of mine, and replaced the margarine with coconut oil, just because I prefer not to use margarine when I can. The coconut flavor was a wonderful addition to the cookies! They were so delicious that even when (non-vegan) my mom and brother sampled a few for me, they loved them just as much as my friend did! I would make these again in an instant. 🙂


37 to_our_health December 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I just made the fat free version and the batter was very thick/sticky. It was hard to mix in the last of the flour and hard to get it off the spoon to drop on the cookie sheet. Is this the way it should be? I didn’t have vanilla sugar so just skipped that part. My cookies looked just like when they were dropped, only puffy, and came out more like cake, not like your pictures which look more standard cookie-like as disks.
Suggestions for where I might be off? They taste delicious though!


38 Susan Voisin December 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

It really shouldn’t have been that thick. Maybe one of your ingredients (soy yogurt? Prune purée?) was drier than mine. Definitely add a little water if you make them again and be sure to flatten them with a fork or spoon before baking.


39 to_our_health December 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Thanks! I’m not a baker so I was afraid to adjust anything the first time. The soy yogurt was a little cup that I stirred and it seemed fairly wet. I had the prunes from a jar that I pureed in the little Cuisinart blender until I got 1/2 cup. So who knows. I still have all the ingredients so I’m going to try another batch and add water this time if it still seems dry and I’ll press them down a bit too. Hopefully that will make the difference!


40 to_our_health December 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I just tried another batch and I’m still having trouble. 🙁
I used more water to puree the Sunsweet ready to serve (in juice) prunes. I added a tablespoon of water when mixing the cocoa/sugar/prunes and it was much better, nice consistency. When I was finishing adding the flour it seemed thick again so I added 2 teaspoons water and it seemed better.
But when I attempted to drop them on the cookie sheet they still stuck to the spoons…wetter but still sticking. I absolutely could not press them down as they stuck to the spoon. It didn’t seem a matter of thick batter; it was simply sticky.
They baked up like little sponges. They taste good and they are good inside (last time they were gooey) but they have no crumb and don’t look anything like yours!
I sure wish I could figure it out; it seems like I’m following the recipe to the letter but who knows…


41 Vee February 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

Susan, thanks so much for your great blog and recipes. I have consulted many!!

I just wanted to comment on your fat calculation for these cookies, as I calculate a higher percentage. At 3 grams of fat per 77 calories, that works out to 27 fat calories per 77 calories of cookie, which is 35% calories from fat, not 29%. Minor point, but my husband really watches his fat intake, and so I am like a hawk with these numbers. Maybe you rounded along the way?


42 Susan Voisin February 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thanks for catching that! Perhaps the software I use rounded up to 3 grams, which makes the % seem higher than it’s listed. But I’ll make the change on the recipe.


43 tami January 24, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Just made the cookies. My kids could hardly wait for them to cool. All of them loved them. Thanks for a great and easy recipe.


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