One of my earliest memories of grocery shopping is riding around in the shopping cart, eating an M&M cookie from Safeway's (in Southern California, they're Von's) bakery, while my mom did her shopping. M&M cookies were always the fun cookie, a very special treat. You could get chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies any ol' time, but M&M cookies were a rarity. They were my absolute favorite cookie all the way into my late 20's, when my love affair with French Macaroons began. The macaroons, however, never replaced the special spot in my heart that M&M cookies held. It was M&M cookies that I turned to for holiday gatherings or just for when I wanted a pick-me-up.
When I became vegan, I said goodbye to my M&M cookies. I didn't mind going without because I knew it was going to be, in a small way, helping to save lives. That doesn't mean that I didn't spend hours scouring the internet looking for vegan alternatives, only to find Whizzer's Candy Beans (pretty much only bad reviews) or the Dark Chocolate "Skippers" from Vermont Nut-Free Candy (Lots of vegans are into them, but I'm really weary of all the questionable ingredients: artificial colors/flavors and lack of clarification about the sugarand wax. The FAQ page also states that they cannot claim there is no dairy in their dark chocolate products).
That was until SF Weekly's mention of Holy Cow Vegan Dark Chocolate Beans in Megan Rascal's "Week in Vegan" Article on April 27th, 2012 (found through Vegansaurus's Facebook Feed). As soon as I saw the link for these bad boys, I clicked it and was running for my credit card. I quickly ordered two 100 gram bags and started dancing around and texting Chris to tell him the fantastic news, until I remembered I had actually been reading something, so I finished my text, sat back down and finished reading (I was still dancing in my seat). With beautiful timing, the candy arrived the same day that a lovely pair of vegan shoes I had ordered arrived. Vegan shoes and vegan "M&Ms" in one day?! These are the things dreams are made of.
Holy Cow did a great job in replicating the old classics. The shell of the candy bean is a tad more crunchy than I remember M&Ms being, and the flavor of dark chocolate is strong, which I love. They have no artificial colors, flavors, or additives and are made without any GMO ingredients. Oh, and did I mention they are delicious? They are such a treat! I am so pleased with this (slightly expensive, but totally worth it) purchase, especially because they allowed me to reunite with my beloved cookies.
I wasted no time getting these cookies made. Naturally, I just veganized my old M&M cookie recipe, and decided to use only natural sweeteners: coconut sugar and agave syrup. As they baked, I eagerly waited, just like someone waiting at the airport for their long-lost love to get off the plane. As soon as they emerged from the oven, the old excitement was welling up within me. That first bite was so incredibly rewarding - they were chewy, but thin and slightly crisp, just like the cookies from the grocery store bakery. Chris said the candy tasted even more like M&Ms after being baked. I think it's because the heat caused the shell to soften a bit.
Rejoiceful is the only word I could use to describe my feelings about these cookies. I wanted to sing to them, "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb, but I refrained and just softly hummed it to myself (and my cookie) once Chris left the kitchen.
vegan m&m cookies
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ¾ cup agave syrup
- 1 Ener-G Egg Replacer (1-½ teaspoon of Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed until frothy with 2 tablespoons warm water)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup [Holy Cow Dark Chocolate Candy Beans|http://www.veganessentials.com/catalog/holy-cow-vegan-dark-chocolate-beans.htm)
- Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly grease or spray with vegan non-stick spray.
- Prepare your Ener-G egg replacer. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, mix your wet ingredients together until fully emulsified.
- Add your wet ingredients to your dry and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until fully combined. Fold in the candy beans.
- In heaping tablespoonfuls, form your dough into small balls, and then lightly flatten. Spread them evenly on the prepared baking sheets.
- Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until slightly golden, barely crisp around the edges, but still soft on the top. Let cool on the baking sheets for about 3-5 minutes, and then transfer to cooling racks. Let cool for at least 10 more minutes (or just tear into them immediately). Enjoy!
I find it very appropriate that my very first cookie post is about my most favorite cookie of all time. Now I need to find some vegan French macaroons...
What is your all-time most favorite cookie?
Photography by Chris Miller
I love the energy and excitement running through your post! It's wonderful. And I'm loving those vegan M&Ms...Looks like a good pantry staple to me :-)!
Thank you Annie! You are a woman after my own heart- vegan M&Ms as a pantry staple! I love it!
I just woke up thinking about these Holy Cow M&Ms! How funny is that? And this is my favorite cookie of all time from my mother. Now you have me thinking that I need to buy a bag of vegan M&Ms and call up my mom 🙂
I think you need to do just that! It is so rare to find someone who loves the M&M cookie as much as I do (I've only ever met 1 other person), but what I love most about this comment is that you woke up thinking about the Holy Cow M&Ms! That sounds SOOO much like my brain at work! Thank you Cara. 🙂
CJ at Food Stories
I totally loved your food story. Funny how our food memories really play into our lives. I'm so happy that you found a suitable replacement so that you could have your childhood cookie 🙂
Thank you, CJ!
Tara A Tempting Vegan
UMMMM DELICIOUS!! My all time favorite was actually Subway M&M cookies... ahhhh!! In my home town you could get a free cookie on your birthday! I used to hit every Subway at least two times a year saying it was my "birthday". YUM!!
Thanks, Tara! I am loving how many other people favor this special cookie! It's soooo good! In highschool, I used to pull a similar stunt at our local Denny's, except I think you were smarter about it- only doing it twice a year. Denny's caught on because it wasn't possible for my birthday to be every other Friday night... 🙂
what vegan m&ms! hell yes.. i am so behind reading up these days.. i have like 30 tabs open to get to! the cookies look fantasticccc!
i've been busy with the fundraiser on my blog! theres lots of goodies donated by bloggers up for auction, and all the funds go to this amazing vegan non profit org in India! Do drop by if you have a minute to bid or to share.. anything ad everything helps! http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/p/fundraiser-for-vspca.html
Thanks, Richa! You have to try them- so awesome!
Thanks for getting my butt in gear (I keep getting side-tracked)- just made my donation. Such a great cause- I am so happy to help! 🙂
Thanks for the introduction to the Holy Cow Vegan Dark Chocolate Beans. I just recently heard about Vermont Nut-Free Candy, and like you, I wasn't that impressed with all of the artificial colors and flavorings. Not to mention the fact that often the red dye they use in their candies isn't vegan anyway because it involves cochineal beetles. M&M's aren't something I miss really, but I would gladly chow down on a few of your cookies with a tall glass of cashew milk. 🙂
I would gladly fix you a plate of milk and cookies if you were here! I actually liked peanut m&ms better, but the m&m cookies are so full of nostalgia and they're fun to eat. I really like Holy Cow's version because they're delicious, but they're not the type of thing you get addicted to and want to eat by the handful. Great product.
I'm always freaked by red dye as well- if it's not made from beetle blood, then it's derived from petroleum or coal. I'm not a big fan of either (but are there big fans of eating either of these things???).
Ok, so your blog is soooo much prettier than mine. Some day I will hone my skills and also get a decent camera. And how funny that you found me through two of my favorite bloggers? I love Annie and Cara! I am dying about those m&ms! I found some vegan ones for my kids for Easter through a Jewish candy website (sorry, no pun intended!), but I couldn't get any info about the coloring, gmo ingredients, etc. So gonna order some of those!!! Love it! Can't wait to get to know you better 😉
Sold out on the site 🙁 Sad! I hope they get more in!
Oh bummer! I was going to take Annie's suggestion and keep them as a pantry staple. They have to get more!
Annie and Cara are juat the sweetest- love them! I'm so glad you like the site. I was so happy to have found yours- a fellow runner with great vegan recipes and pit paste! Awesome! 🙂 Looking forward to getting to know you better as well!
Making these tonight for a partay. Woot Woot! Are they slightly soft? Please say yes... 😉 Maybe I'll just under bake them a little bit just in case.
Yay! I would under bake them a bit and let them firm up to your liking while sitting on the baking sheet for a bit. You'll probably be able to gauge the softness level and figure it out. Have a fun party!
Success! I didn't have the coconut sugar so subbed raw sugar. I baked them for 10 minutes instead of 12 and they were delicious!
p.s. I ordered my dairy free m&m's for my kids for Easter off a Jewish Kosher candy site after finding the above link was sold out (and now broken) Boo! The sugar and the food coloring were probably questionable though. I will have to get the others in the future if they sell them again.
Thank you for the head's up on the link! I'm not sure what is up with wordpress.org, but my links keep getting broke, or even worse, switched with other links. Boo, is right! I fixed it, so it's working now. 🙂
Fantastic! That's so great to hear! I cant wait to get my hands on more of those M&Ms! Thank you for the feedback! Have a great weekend. 🙂
Does anyone know where I can buy any of these vegan M&M brands? Can't seem to find suppliers anywhere and Vegan Essentials no longer sells them.
Unfortunately, I don't know. If you find out, do let me know! I would love to get some more! 🙂
Hey Jacquie, I bought mine online through a store I can't find anymore, but typically you can find them by searching for "dark chocolate lentils" on google. Weird I know, just read the ingredient list to look for hidden dairy, carmine or beeswax before you buy. Here's a link to one I found today:
Can't guarantee they're vegan, but "parve" means free from meat and dairy.
I think these are the ones Kristy used, you could contact the company and see if they sell them in a store near you or if they have them online somewhere: http://www.kopperschocolate.com/products/ once you click there, click on lentils, milkies and more, #400 Dazzle Chocolate Lentils are the ones.
I actually used a brand called Holy Cow, but they have since gone out of business. I contacted Vegan Essentials to find out the story. Holy Cow is looking for a new manufacturer for the dark chocolate candy beans but since they are such a small company, most manufacturers won't consider them. Hopefully things will work out for them because those I haven't been able to find anything like them since. The lentils are similar, but not quite as good as the candy beans, in my opinion. If you find something you like, though, do let us know! 🙂
Thanks guys. Unfortunately chocolate lentils aren't vegan add they use beeswax (an email from the company confirmed) and I'm suspicious of any any chocolate candy that has that shiny shell add they use beetles for that. You'll notice that Holy Cow and Whizzers Chocolate Beans both have a dull finish. If anyone hears anything else please let me know. I'm desperate and want to blog about it asap!!! 🙂
The Holy Cow candy beans are confirmed vegan. I purchased them through Vegan Essentials and the list of ingredients did not list any carmine-related products or any animal products whatsoever. Holy Cow has since gone out of business, though, and are not available anywhere right now. They are looking for another manufacturer for their candy beans but since they are a small company, they are not having much luck.
I've contacted Whizzers before I wrote this post to find out if theirs were vegan and they could not say that they were 100% vegan. They went as far as to say that if this was a concern, I should not purchase their product.
I hope that helps! 🙂
Blast, sorry. I read that they were....
Vegan essentials doesn't sell this any more!!! What shall I do? Icantfindthemnanywhere
I'm sorry- I heard recently that the company went out of business. Vegan Cuts has vegan marshmallow-filled m&m-type candies. You could try those?