Holy sugar plums batman, it’s ALMOST CHRISTMAS!! Three days! Woooo woooo!! Instead of braving the crowd of people at the malls scooping up their last gifts before the big day, I spent the weekend a) relaxing before the madness (/recovering from a wicked cold, which through tea and hot yoga has been vanquished) and b) prepping food for transport to my sister’s house in CT. I made two types of vegan cookies, both of which have dough that is okay for “make ahead” and can be refrigerated up to one week before you bake it. And because baking cookies as a family is fun, and they taste best when they are hot out of the oven, and because I own zero cookie cutters and my mom has about 5689 in fun holiday shapes, I decided this was a great candidate for “make ahead and bring”. Also, I want to spend Christmas Day playing with my nephew, not standing in front of a KitchenAid.
First things first – what is Christmas without decorating sugar cookies as a family? Um, not one that I would like to participate in. Decorating cookies has always been a holiday tradition in my house, and we still are down for it, especially since the traditional recipe has been replaced with a new, improved vegan version that is way more delicious (and better for you, and the earth!). The best thing about these vegan cut-out sugar cookies is that they are guilt-free – they have less than half the amount of calories in the traditional cut-out cookies, are yummy and soft (no one want cardboard-textured ANYTHING), and DAMN good – even without the frosting. The second best thing? There are no eggs in this recipe, so you can eat as much raw batter as you’d like without getting whacked with a wooden spoon. YES LIFE. Without further ado…
All the ingredients for Mom’s Vegan Sugar Cookies! So simple: powdered sugar, flour, flaxmeal, vanilla extract, almond extract, vegan margarine. So easy! 🙂
Mom’s Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe
2 tablespoon ground flaxseed (or flaxmeal – same diff)
6 tablespoons (warm) water
1 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance is my fave)
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 cups powdered sugar
8 -10 teaspoons vanilla soy milk
Sprinkles or colored sugar crystals
*Mom and I also added 2 Tbsp of soy butter to our frosting to make it more like butter cream and less like a glaze. YUM!
Step One: Make the flaxmeal “eggs” by placing 1 Tbsp flaxmeal into a small bowl, then adding 3 Tbsp warm water. Give it a good stir, and allow the flaxmeal “eggs” to stand for about 15 minutes, until they have an “egg-like” consistency. You can grind your own flax seeds up to make the flaxmeal, or you can just buy Bob’s Red Mill Brand like I did (let’s make this easy as possible, shall we?).
Allow your flaxseed “eggs” to chill for a little bit. Do a dance. Make yourself a cup of tea. Stretch out in dancer’s pose. Whatev. You’ve got 15 or minutes to do YOU. 😉
Step Two: If your butter is coming straight out of the fridge, or if you just pulled it off the shelf in Stop N’Shop, place into a microwave safe bowl and give a good nuke to soften it (15 – 20 seconds should do it). Pour into the a stand-alone mixer or large bowl, and add the powdered sugar. Cream the butter and sugar using the mixer (whatever kind you like to use).
Whooopsie! I forgot and added vanilla and almond extract before I took a picture of the creamed butter. Welp, my vegan marg was pretty much completely melted – but that’s ok because you put the whole dang thing in the fridge and let it chill for an hour or more. It’ll stiffen right up to where it needs to be after that, so it’s okay if your butter/sugar looks a little melty.
Step Three: Add the vanilla and almond extract and the flaxmeal “eggs”, beat well until combined.
Vegan marg, sugar, flaxmeal “eggs” and vanilla/almond extract mixed in. If you don’t love the flax seed chunks, tough nuggets. Just kidding – you can just grind them down to a finer powder. Also, I think golden flaxmeal exists too, maybe try that? I’m not really offended by it so I just go with the flow, man.
Step Four: Turn the mixing speed to low and slowly add the flour in small portions (trust me, you do not want to dump it all in at once, or you will antique yourself – if you have no idea what I’m talking about, YouTube “Antiquing Flour Prank” and you’ll get a nice giggle. Otherwise you’ll look like the president of the frat diagonally across from my sorority house who once upon a time was antiqued in a very epic and elaborate fashion – you know who you are.)
I slowly scoop my flour into the mixer using a big spoon, let it completely fold into the dough, then add some more. It takes a hot minute, so put on some good tunes and jam while you patiently add the flour.
Here’s what my dough looked like at the end. It was still pretty flexible, which will be fixed by chilling it in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling.
Step Five: Once all the ingredients are happily mixed, knead the dough to combine and roll it into a bowl. Place that sucker into an airtight container (or plastic ziploc) and put it into the fridge for at least an hour to chill. I personally stopped here – the rolling and cookie cutting will be done on Christmas Eve in Southern Connecticut!
Since I’m only semi Vegan Betty Crocker, instead of baking these cookies, I just scooped all that gorgeous vegan cookie dough right into an airtight container. To make my life that much easier, I wrote the remaining directions right out on an index card and taped it to the top of the container. And done.
Step Six: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two cookie sheets with sil-pat liners or parchment paper, or really roll the dice and spray with nonstick spray and set them aside. Knead 1/2 of the dough for 10 seconds or so to make it more pliable (really get in there – use those muscles!!). With a rolling pin, roll it flat onto a clean, floured surface until it’s 1/4 inch-ish in thickness. (The flour is key so that your cookie dough doesn’t stick to the counter and turn you into a sad panda).
L’s Mom in action rolling out the dough. We split our cookie dough in sections, and kept the sections we weren’t working on the in the freezer. The colder the dough was, we found the easier to roll it and cut out shapes. Once the dough warms up, it gets really pliable and difficult to work with.
Step Seven: The best part, woohoo!! Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes, and place cookies on the parchment paper.
Go to town cutting shapes out! It helps if you dip your cookie cutters into a little pile of flour to help them come out of the dough easier (that’s a Tip from Mom right there – she’s the cookie cutting master!!).
Step Eight: Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (keep your eye on the ball – watch carefully to make sure the edges don’t brown). Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before attempting to remove them (it helps prevent them from breaking apart).
It depends on your oven and how “done” you like your sugar cookies, we baked ours for eight minutes. Also to note, we had no trouble getting them off cookie sheets that were plain – no baking spray, no Silpat or parchment paper. As long as your cookie sheets are in good shape, it should be a piece of cake to remove them! 🙂
Step Nine: Allow to cool completely, and try not to eat them all before you can frost them. 😉
After the sugar cookies have cooled for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, transfer to a wire rack to allow them to cool completely before frosting.
Step Ten: Mix together the ingredients for the icing to your desired consistency, and decorate however you want! Obviously, adjust the soymilk/powdered sugar ratios until it’s just right for you. Personally, we divide the frosting in a few smaller bowls and add food coloring (I’m sure there is natural food coloring and sprinkles that exist, but I just use the kind you find in the baking aisle). You can even make this super fun and “healthy” by adding coconut flakes, raw cacao nibs – whatever you’d like in addition or instead of sprinkles. What the hell – why not throw some chia seeds on there? Experiment, and most importantly, have FUN! 😀
The best part: have fun decorating! Here my sister and bro-in-law are modeling our efforts. 😀 😀 Get creative and crazy!! 😀
These are seriously some of my favorite things to make for Christmas! I truly hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does, and I hope that I’ve inspired you guys to be easy on yourselves this holiday. Make stuff ahead. Don’t stress. We are all superwoman/superman (duhhh), but it doesn’t all have to be perfect all the time. You’ll never remember that stuff anyway. You WILL remember hugging your mom, or playing with your nephew, or laughing with your sister over a glass of wine. If it’s not perfect, who cares. Your family loves you just the way you are! 😀 K I’m off my soapbox now. But you guys are truly great, and I’m just here to remind you every now and then. 😀
Sending Christmas/Holiday/Hanukkah Spirit your way today! Happy Monday, too!