A few weeks ago, I bumped into a friend and walked away with a bag of egg replacer in my hands. If this sounds a little strange, read on…
Phil Lapp and his wife, Laura, are two of the most interesting people I know. While attempting several years ago to find healthy, protein-rich meals that their newly-vegetarian daughters would actually eat, Laura herself created an all-natural, vegetarian option to ground beef that truly tasted amazing. People eventually caught wind of Laura’s kitchen success story, and that ultimately led to a thriving, socially-conscious company called neat–without a capital “n”. (For a bit more on the backstory and a recipe for “neatballs,” click here.)
An avid runner who is well-known on the local race circuit, Phil left a successful career with Auntie Anne’s Pretzels to bring neat to the masses. Laura, a former neuroscientist, also continues to exercise her creative talents through her company, Perfect Pots Container Gardens, in Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
While taking that metaphorical leap into the risky world of a start-up company, Phil and Laura decided they were going to give back in the process. Knowing that the vision-impared often have trouble finding and maintaining employment, the Lapps contracted with the Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired to package neat.
As their company grew, Phil and Laura received multiple requests to for a healthy, great-tasting egg replacer. Laura got busy…and the neat egg was hatched.
The neat egg is made from chia seeds and garbanzo beans–that’s all. No additives or preservatives–just two healthy ingredients. It’s easy to mix and can be used in your favorite baking recipes. Simply add two tablespoons of water to one tablespoon of the neat egg and mix well. This novel product is ideally suited to recipes where egg is used as a binder or for leavening purposes, as opposed to stand-alone egg dishes like scrambled eggs, omelets, etc.
For my first foray into recipe testing with this egg replacer, I chose a much-loved cookie recipe that I crave every fall–ginger molasses cookies–which, as you will see below, has a new special ingredient. To really put the neat egg to the test, I made three batches. One was a control batch with a regular egg. I baked this side-by-side with the neat egg batch. The neat egg batter was slightly stiffer but, as you will see below, we couldn’t tell the difference in the baked cookies. I made a note on the reverse side of the parchment paper in case I forgot which was which, and I was glad I did. I had to double-check! The look and taste were virtually identical.
My hat truly goes off to Phil and Laura for answering the call of those who cannot consume eggs with their typical high standards. As an added perk, we can safely lick the bowl when there’s a neat egg in the batter!
Yields 15 jumbo cookies (or about 3 dozen smaller cookies).
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (may substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 neat egg (mixed according package directions, or 1 large egg)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Optional: Coarse sugar for sprinkling or rolling
In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl using a hand beater), cream the butter and sugar.
Beat in the pumpkin, molasses, neat egg, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients, half at a time, to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not over mix. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or up to 2-3 days. Chilling the dough will firm it and make scooping or forming balls easier. If in a hurry, place the dough in the freezer for about 30 minutes. (In this case, you may wish to set a timer so you don’t forget about it.)
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. For jumbo cookies, form golfball size balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. I like to pour a few tablespoons of coarse sugar onto a small plate and gently roll the top half of the cookies in the sugar before placing them on the baking sheet. The sugar can also be sprinkled, but a gentle roll will allow the sugar to coat more evenly. If you have an ice cream scoop with a release, this makes the job of forming the cookies really easy. A leveled-off scoop will produce jumbo cookies that are all uniform in size. (see notes)
Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies should still be a little soft in the center for chewy cookies. (For crisp gingersnaps, bake until the center is fully set.) After removing the cookies from the oven, allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, or refrigerate to maintain freshness for a week or more. These cookies also freeze well.
- I use the ice cream scoop method and do not flatten the cookies before baking. When rolling into balls, you may wish to flatten ever so slightly. I recommend trying your first batch without flattening, as the final shape of the cookie may be preferable this way. The cookies will flatten and crinkle slightly as they cool.
- For smaller cookies, roll tablespoon-size balls and adjust the cooking time down to approximately 8 minutes. All ovens vary, so watch the first batch closely to find the perfect time for your oven.