Vegan Chocolate Orange Cookie Bars
Posted on - Last updated: This post may contain affiliate links
These vegan chocolate orange cookie bars are a great alternative to traditional cookies. They’re soft and chewy on the inside and crunchy at the edges. Flavoured using cocoa powder, chocolate chips and orange zest, they couldn’t be any easier to make!
It’s day 5 of my 12 days of vegan Christmas cookies series and today I’m sharing these vegan chocolate orange cookies.
But they’re not just any chocolate orange cookies… they’re chocolate orange cookie bars! And they are exactly what they sound like… cookies in a bar form.
I love baking cookies this way because they’re something a little bit different and they’re a lot easier and quicker to make. Instead of dividing the dough into small pieces and rolling them into balls, you just pop the whole thing into a large tin and bake!
I made my first batch of cookie bars last Easter, with some dairy-free ‘Mini Eggs’, and they were a huge hit with my family and friends. And because I’ve already made plenty of round cookies this festive season, I thought it would be aa great time to add another batch of cookie bars to my collection!
Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe
- Flax seeds. These will act as your cookie egg replacement. Flax seeds, when combined with water, become gelatinous in a similar way to eggs. Although I highly recommend using them, they are not completely necessary for this recipe. If you don’t have them to hand or you have allergies, you can omit them and use 1 tablespoon of plant-based milk instead. Please note that the cookies will be slightly more fragile this way.
- Vegan margarine. This provides fat and keeps the cookie bars moist inside. It’s important to use vegan margarine for this recipe, not the blocky type of ‘butter’.
- Sugar. I use a combination of caster sugar and soft brown sugar for this recipe. The brown sugar keeps them moist and chewy, and the caster sugar provides a slight crunch at the edges.
- Vanilla extract. This is optional but I like the additional flavour.
- Self-raising flour. Provides structure to the cookies. I recommend using self-raising flour as it’ll help the cookies rise a little and will give a better texture.
- Cocoa powder. For flavour. Unsweetened is best!
- Dairy-free chocolate. I used some Moo-Free chocolate chips in the cookie dough, and melted around 30g more for drizzling over the top after baking.
- Orange zest. Using zest gives a more authentic orange flavour than using orange extract in cookie dough. Orange extract tastes best when combined with chocolate, so if you want a stronger flavour, you can mix a small amount into the chocolate for drizzling on top. A good alternative to orange zest would be chopped candied orange peel.
More vegan Christmas cookies:
How to make vegan chocolate orange cookies
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F, or 160°C/325°F if you’re using a fan or convection oven.
Line an 8×10-inch tin with baking paper. I recommend leaving a little bit hanging over the edges so that the cookie slab is easy to remove once baked.
Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Set it aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
It’s important to use ground flax seeds so that they can properly absorb the water. You can buy them pre-ground or you can buy the whole seeds and grind them up at home using a high power blender.
In a large bowl, mix together 200g of vegan margarine, 150g of caster sugar and 100g of soft brown sugar. I like using light brown sugar.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the flax seed mixture.
Next, add in 290g of self-raising flour and 40g of cocoa powder. Mix it into the wet mixture until everything starts to stick together. Then use your (clean) hands to press it together into a ball of dough.
Add 80g of vegan chocolate chips or chunks and 3 tablespoons of fresh orange zest. As mentioned above, you can swap the zest for chopped candied orange peel if you prefer. Lightly knead this all into the dough.
Place the ball of dough into your lined baking tray. Use your hands to flatten it out evenly, making sure it goes all the way to the edges. It’s important to spread it out as evenly as you can otherwise some parts will be overbaked and too crunchy while other parts will be underbaked and greasy.
Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, let it cool in the tin for around 30 minutes then place it into the fridge for 2 hours. This will help the fat to set quickly and help the cookie to hold its shape when you cut into it.
After the cookie has chilled, remove it from the tin using the baking paper.
Melt around 30g of dairy-free chocolate and drizzle it over the cookie slab. Top with some extra orange zest or candied peel.
Once the chocolate drizzle has set, cut the cookie into 12 square slices and enjoy!
- Flax seeds can be substituted for 1 tablespoon of soy milk if necessary.
- Use vegan margarine, the soft, spreadable kind, over the blocky ‘butter’.
- Try to press the dough into your tin as evenly as possible to prevent over or under-baked patches.
- Substitute orange zest for chopped candied orange peel.
- Add a small amount of orange extract to the chocolate drizzle for a stronger orange flavour.
- If you’d prefer regular chocolate orange cookies, divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll into balls and flatten slightly, to around 1-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes at 200°C/400°F (or 180°C/350°F for fan or convection ovens).
If you store them in an airtight container at room temperature or in a cool, dry place such as a kitchen cupboard, they’ll last for around 5 days.
Yes. Once cooled and sliced, pop them into an airtight container or wrap them tightly with tin foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Unwrap/unbox them and transfer to a wire rack or plate for a few hours when you’re ready to defrost them. Do not refreeze.
The cookie dough can also be frozen. Defrost in the fridge before baking.
I hope you enjoy these vegan chocolate orange cookies! If you make these at home, please let me know how it goes by leaving a rating and/or comment below. Happy baking! xo
Vegan Chocolate Orange Cookies (Cookie Bars)
Easy, soft and chewy chocolate cookies flavoured with fresh orange zest.
- 1 Tablespoon Ground flax seeds
- 200 g Vegan margarine (¾ cup)
- 150 g Caster sugar (¾ cup)
- 100 g Soft brown sugar (½ cup)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract (optional)
- 290 g Self-raising flour (2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
- 40 g Cocoa powder (5 tablespoons)
- 80 g Dairy-free chocolate chips (½ cup)
- 3 Tablespoons Orange zest
- Dairy-free chocolate, melted (just enough to drizzle on top)
- Extra orange zest
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F for fan or convection ovens).
Line an 8×10-inch tin with baking paper.
Mix the ground flax seeds with 1 tablespoon cold water and set aside for 5 minutes to let it thicken.
In a large bowl, mix together the margarine, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Stir in the flax seed mixture.
Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix until it starts to stick together. Then use your hands to press it together into a ball of dough.
Add the chocolate chips and orange zest and gently knead it into the dough.
Press the dough into your lined tin, making sure it goes all the way to the edges. Try to get it as even as possible.
Bake for 25 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool for around 30 minutes then transfer to the fridge for 2 hours to set.
After the 2 hours, remove the cookie slab from the tin. Drizzle over the melted chocolate and sprinkle over the extra orange zest if using.
Once the chocolate drizzle has set, cut the slab into 12 square slices and enjoy.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.