Gaia’s Feasts Recipe: Chocolate and Vanilla Swirls

Today we bring you another recipe from Julia Ponsonby’s exciting new vegetarian cookbook, Gaia’s Feasts chocolate and vanilla swirl cookies that are almost too pretty to eat.  With the holiday season rapidly approaching, we think these eye-catching cookies will be a smash hit – especially because they taste as amazing as they look!

Delicious and decadent chocolate and vanilla swirls.

The dramatic swirling beauty of these cookies is well worth the additional effort of carefully rolling up a two-tone cookie log.  Look upon the construction experience as an opportunity to re-enact a bit of geological fast-formation – connecting us with the tensions and responses of different materials as they get stretched over one another, uplifted and occasionally cracked!

These cookies will store well in an airtight tin – if well hidden.

For approx. 30 cookies                                       For approx. 60 cookies

Chocolate cookie dough

¼ cup (35g / 1¼oz) brown flour                              ½ cup (70g / 2½oz)

½ cup (70g / 2½oz) white flour                               1 cup (140g / 5oz)

½ cup (40g / 1½ oz) oats                                           1 cup (85g / 3oz)

¼ cup (30g / 1oz) cocoa powder                              ½ cup (60g / 2oz)

½ cup (85g / 3oz) muscovado brown sugar            1 cup (175g / 6oz)

125g (4½oz / 1¼ sticks) butter                                 250g (9oz / 2½ sticks)

½ cup (70g / 2½oz) dark chocolate chips              1 cup (140g / 5oz)

¼ tsp fine salt                                                               ½ tsp

1 egg yolk + a little white if necessary                      1 egg


Vanilla cookie dough

½ cup (70g / 2½oz) brown flour                            1 cup (140g / 5oz)

½ cup (70g / 2½oz) white flour                              1 cup (140g / 5oz)

½ cup (40g / 1½oz) oats                                          1 cup (85g / 3oz)

½ cup (85g / 3oz) golden caster sugar                   1 cup (175g / 6oz)

125g (4½oz / 1¼ sticks) butter                               250g (9oz / 2½ sticks)

½ tsp vanilla extract                                                  1 tsp

¼ tsp fine salt                                                             ½ tsp

1 egg yolk + a little white if necessary                    1 egg

  1. Measure the dry ingredients (flours, oats, sugar, salt and cocoa for the chocolate mix) and butter into two separate bowls, one for the chocolate mixture and one for the vanilla mixture.
  2. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients (see basic cookie/biscuit method). I normally start with the vanilla mix so I can move on to the chocolate without washing my hands. Stir the chocolate chips into the chocolate crumb mixture.
  3. Add the egg to the crumb mixtures to bind them. Also add vanilla essence to the dough for the vanilla mixture. Mix well to distribute the egg evenly around, then press each mixture into a fairly soft, malleable dough.
  4. If making the large quantity, first divide each piece of dough into two. On a clean, lightly floured work surface or tray, roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle about the size and shape of an A5 piece of paper (say 16 x 22cm / 6 x 9″) and about 0.75-1cm (1/3″) thick. Make sure they don’t stick to the work surface – you can roll them out on baking parchment or greaseproof paper if you like.
  5. Next, place a vanilla rectangle on top of a chocolate rectangle, with the longer edges slightly offset so that about 1-2cm (½”) of the chocolate dough pokes out beyond the vanilla rectangle. The shorter edges should be level. If the surfaces of the dough are at all dry or floury, paint them thinly with milk to moisten them (otherwise don’t bother, as it is helpful if the two surfaces can slide over each other when you roll them up).
  6. Curve the exposed edge of chocolate dough over the vanilla dough, pressing it into shape. Once you have the first long twist in place, continue to roll the log up, pressing gently and moulding the log as you go. You will need to keep a fairly light touch – allowing the slightly larger chocolate dough to slide into place over the vanilla dough before pressing down and sticking the two doughs together firmly. When fissures appear in the chocolate dough, cut off some of the chocolate dough from the bottom edge and use this to fill in the cracks. Once the doughs are rolled up into a log, roll the whole thing back and forth a few times to make it nice and round, pressing firmly but gently together, and flatten the ends. The width of the log should be the width you want the eventual cookie to be – about 5cm (2″) – or larger! Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F / Gas Mark 4). Remove the cookie logs from the fridge and cut carefully into 0.5cm (¼”) disks. A thin painting of milk at this stage will give a nice sheen to these cookies.
  8. Arrange a little apart on trays covered with baking parchment and bake for about 15 minutes, until the outer rings of vanilla cookie are beginning to turn golden-brown. When ready, allow to cool on the sheet for a minute or two before carefully transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Julia is also the author of Gaia’s Kitchen and Head of Food at Schumacher College, where she has been living and working for almost 25 years. Julia’s culinary style developed to fit the College’s founding principles, which hold healthy sustainable living, social justice and celebration at the core.

For other recipes by Julia Ponsonby, check out our previous posts:
Spicy Pumpkin Pie
Chickpea Tagine
Courgette Conkers


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