Best Vegan Cookie

The Cowvin at Sticky Fingers Bakery
1370 Park Rd. NW, (202) 299-9700
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Vegan cookies lack meat or dairy. Most of them also lack taste. One big reason: In cooking for the egg-free, butter-less set, most bakers seem to think they’re cooking for a market that is desperate for treats that are also healthy. Doron Petersan, on the other hand, bakes hers the right way. “Sugar and oil—there’s no way to get cookies to taste good without those ingredients,” says Petersan, the mixing-bowl maven behind all sorts of award-winning, not-entirely-healthy vegan goodies found at her Columbia Heights storefront.

Petersan’s most stellar creation is the Cowvin, a sort of oatmeal answer to the Oreo, featuring two cookies spread with frosting in the middle. It’s named not for the dairy it lacks but rather after a rescued veal calf that Petersan says loves to eat oats.

You could be forgiven for overlooking the humble-looking item among the many colorfully frosted treats in Petersan’s bountiful display case. It doesn’t generate the same publicity of her TV contest-winning cupcakes, for instance. But the oatmeal cookie’s unassuming appearance belies a mysteriously universal appeal. “One thing that is hilarious about it is that some people think it’s overly sweet and others like it because it’s not too sweet. It runs the spectrum of flavor preferences,” says Petersen. “The result is the same—it’s a good cookie.”

Devout fans of the cookie have sometimes cringed when Petersan has tinkered with the popular recipe. Kitchen logistics required her to change its shape from a square to a circle as demand increased.

If you don’t like the current incarnation, you can make the things at home. Petersan’s new cookbook includes the previously secret recipe. It should come with a warning: “Don’t eat the cookie dough,” Petersan says. “It’s too delicious.”