Vegan Sugar Cookies with Icing

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Some vegans don’t eat cookies too often, unless they bake them at home. They are hard to find in the stores and always a bit pricey. If you can find any, they will usually be peanut butter or chocolate chip, but very rarely a sugar cookie and a great tasting one at that. In fact my daughter prefers these over the non-vegan ones!

I made this batch of cookies for the First Annual Veg-Fest in Sonoma County last month. Since these needed to look pristine, I ended up with some rejects left at home. My friend was visiting a few days after the event and ate the rest of my cookies, he claimed they were so good he couldn’t stop eating them. Today he asked for the recipe because he just needed to make some vegan cookies and he thinks I can go into business with these and sell them to places like Whole Foods or other vegetarian friendly places.

I hate to even call these a “Sugar Cookie”. Most sugar cookies are hard, chalky and dry. What makes these so different than a traditional sugar cookie, is the flax-seed meal and the cream cheese. Those two items give this cookie a much better texture and flavor than the old fashioned ones. To change it up once in a while, you could add some lemon or orange zest to the cookie dough and icing for a different taste.

These cookies are just as easy to make as any other cookie, with the added fun of cutting out different shapes and decorating them.  If you are not an artist, then no worries, you can just spread the icing over the tops then devour. If you are more artistically inclined, then you can pull out all the stops and really make some fun and gorgeous cookies!

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* VEGAN * ROLLED *SUGAR *COOKIES *

Ingredients for cookies:

  • 1 Cup Golden Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Vegan Margarine – such as Nucoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 2 tbls water
  • 1/2 container of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (or Lemon or Orange zest/extract)

Directions:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Prepare the egg replacer  by mixing replacer with warm water and whisk until frothy
  • Add egg replacer, vanilla and almond extracts to mixer and beat another minute or so.
  • Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing after each cup is added.  (Be careful not to add too much at a time.
  • Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Place the dough in a large plastic (zip-lock type) bag or Tupperware bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.

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  •  Take about half the dough at a time and roll it out until about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • Carefully stamp each cookie cutter until that piece is full. (If cookie cutter starts to  stick, dip the edges in flour.)
  • Prep an area to roll out the dough. I use a roll out mat, and a little flour. If you don’t have height guides for your rolling pin, you can use two wooden spoons of the same height as guides as shown above.15 min before you remove the dough from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
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  • Pick up the scraps and re- roll the dough, continue to stamp cookies until full, then repeat.
  • Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet (you can use parchment paper or a silicone mat on top of the sheet if you prefer) and place in the freezer for about 5 -10 minutes. This assures that the cookies stay very cold and will help prevent spreading.
  • Take the other half of the dough and repeat the process until all cookies have been stamped.
  • If you don’t have enough cookies sheets you should leave the unrolled dough in the fridge until your first batches are completed.
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    PRO TIP: Place similar sized cookies on the same cookies sheet. That way all the cookies will cook evenly and you won’t have some cookies under-baked and others to crispy.

  • Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as then are on the pan, so don’t let then get too brown.
  • Cool for just a minute or so on the pan, then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

This recipe yields about 28, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies.

Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated with frosting, royal icing or rolled fondant.



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* VEGAN * ROYAL * ICING * RECIPE*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (organic) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp of non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (or Lemon or Orange zest/extract)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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See my Sugar Cookie Extravaganza Post for all the details and tools used to decorate cookies. COOKIE DECORATING TOOLS NEEDED

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Directions:

  • Using Kitchen-aide mixer, add sugar, non-dairy milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Add in extracts and corn syrup.  Whisk  until icing is smooth, shiny, and a little runny.
  • Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
  • You will want this to be thicker at first so you can use this for your borders. So add more powdered sugar until icing is thick enough to hold its shape. (You will add water as needed later for the flood fill.)
  • In the icing bottles, place some of the white frosting in each one. Tint with food coloring or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency. For the borders, you want it to be stiff and thicker, but still able to squeeze out.
  • Once your desired colors are mixed, then fill each bottle, or parchment bag.

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DECORATING : See my Sugar Cookie Extravaganza Post for links, ideas and more how-to’s.

  • While the borders are drying, use the same bowls as before to mix your thinner flood fill icing. This needs to be thin enough to “set” itself in about 10 seconds. Add only a few drops of water at a time. If it’s too runny, then you will had to add more powdered sugar and mix again.
  • Fill squeeze bottles with flood will icing. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer stick to help move the flood colors to cover the surface area and reach into the corners.
  • Once your borders are set and dry you can begin filling in all your designs and colors. The possibilities are endless, so watch the videos for inspiration.
  • In-between uses, cover the bowl of plain white icing with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying. You can also cover each bottle with a tip or damp cloth to prevent them from getting hard or clogged.

It took a little time to get used to the vegan royal icing.  It’s not bright white like the traditional recipe is, but its a lovely off-white color that still takes gel coloring well. I was able to paint on the dried icing  as well as add edible glitter, and fondant flowers. By the time I decorated a few cookies, I was used to it.  The cookie at the bottom right corner of the photo below is bright white, because I rolled out white fondant and used the same cookie cutter to cut a square shape, iced cookie with the flood fill icing, then stuck on the fondant. The icing acts like glue and worked great. Fondant will give you a smoother canvas to work on, as well as giving it the pure white color. Some people love the taste of it and some hate it, I personally prefer the icing flavor over the fondant, but its great to use as an accent such as the flowers.

 

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** H A P P Y * B A K I N G **

1 Month Green Smoothie Challenge

My goal in mid April was to have one healthy smoothie for breakfast, every day for one month. So far I am on  day # 12. A healthy smoothie is one that is blended with fruits & vegetables; things like avocados, kale, spinach, carrots, fruits, yogurt, coconut water, almond milk, 100% fruit juice or 100% fruit & veggie juice.  No added sugar, no ice cream or frozen yogurt, just things that give you natural energy and tons of vitamins.

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Having at least one smoothie like this a day, will give you all of your required 5 serving of fruits & veggies each day. You will soon start to have more energy and you might start to care more about what you are eating the rest of the day. Personally for me, it gets my day started off on the right foot and while I absolutely adore the taste of coffee, when I have a smoothie first thing in the morning, before any other food or drinks, I notice I am less hungry and I don’t NEED that cup of coffee to function. I end up having a cup of coffee later in the morning, or early afternoon, and sometimes I can just skip it altogether and I don’t get a caffeine headache.

The other reason this Green Smoothie Challenge is since it’s only one smoothie per morning,  you don’t have to give up eating regular meals for lunch and dinner. This way you are guaranteed to get the nutrients your body desperately needs. Starting your day off with something in your stomach besides coffee, doughnuts, bagels, and croissants, or nothing at all, is so much better for you. You will have more brain power at work, pay better attention in school, and have more energy overall. Some smoothie/juice diets are for several weeks and for “cleansing”, and yes I will do those from time to time. For a true cleansing you only are allowed juices or smoothies. When I do a cleanse, I have 2-3 healthy smoothies a day, and a salad for lunch with only fruits, beans, nuts, and veggies, topped with a low fat balsamic vinaigrette.  No cheeses, no meats, no creamy dressings, no croutons, and no bacon bits!  90%-100% of your food intake should be vegetables or fruits during the cleanse.

To get you started on your 1 Month Green Smoothie Morning Challenge, I have given you all the tools and instructions on how to become a smoothie expert. Below are the instructions to make the best, creamiest, and highly nutritious beverages. Mose people are afraid to try these because of their  green or brownish colors. If you think about it, those are colors in nature, healthy, not dyed, untampered with natural goodness. Please give it a try, I promise you, you cannot taste the greens in these smoothies. They are just amazingly tasty cups of magnificent splendor. Once you go green, you will be hooked.


Note: you will want a combination of fresh greens, fresh fruits and frozen fruit. The frozen fruit helps your smoothie be nice and cold, I personally prefer mine cold. If you prefer to drink your smoothie closer to room temperature, then use all fresh fruit. Also, you will want to have just enough for about a week, otherwise if you buy too much fresh produce it will go bad before you can use it. I like to alternate my greens every 5-7 days. I use one up until it’s gone. Leafy greens seem to go bad the fastest, and you only use a cup at a time, so one bag of pre-washed & chopped kale lasted me a week.


::: List of ingredients used over the course of a month :::

  • Almond Milk ( or Soy Milk or regular milk)
  • Coconut Water
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Fruit & Veggie Juice such as Tropicana Farmstand
  • Kale – fresh
  • Spinach – fresh
  • Bok Choy – fresh
  • Avacados – fresh
  • Carrots- fresh
  • Bananas – fresh
  • Strawberries -fresh or frozen
  • Blueberries – fresh or frozen
  • Peaches – fresh or frozen
  • Raspberries – fresh or frozen
  • Blackberries – fresh or frozen
  • Kiwi – fresh
  • Pineapple – fresh or frozen
  • Mango – fresh or frozen
  • Apples – fresh
  • Your favorite fruits
  • Rolled quick oats
  • Natural peanut butter

::: Tools & Tips of the Trade :::

While any blender will work for your smoothies, a mid-high quality blender will last you longer than a cheap one. Since you will be using the blender at least once a day and trying to puree tough greens, you should invest in a decent one.  I highly recommend a blender with an ice crushing feature.  If you can afford a blender in the $75.00 – $150.00 range, you should be very happy with any of these.

I own the Kitchen aid 5 speed high performance blender. I got a great deal on it at a department store. I think I paid about $75.00 a year or two ago. My favorite things about this blender are the ice crusher setting and the fact that it came with two pitchers in different sizes. It honestly makes the best homemade smoothies. The only other smoothies that are blended this well have been from Jamba Juice or Juice Shack. It also doesn’t hurt that it makes killer margaritas and pina coladas too! I LOVE THIS BLENDER.

KitchenAid

If you are willing to spend a little more cash on a good blender any of these would work as well. You really do not need to purchase a restaurant quality $300-$500 blender. Unless you are going to be making dozens of smoothies everyday, you really don’t need to spend the extra money.

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Blending instructions:
1. Blend your liquid(s) and your leafy greens first. I use the ice crush mode, then switch to liquify for another 10-20 seconds or so. You want the greens to liquify as much as possible for a nice smooth texture.
2. If you are adding carrots or other harder veggies, throw those in with the greens before you start to blend.
3. Then add the remainder of your ingredients.
4. Use the ice crush mode again to break up the frozen fruit, until they are completely broken up.
5. Set it to mix for about a 10-15 seconds.
6. Kick it in high gear on the highest setting, mine is liquify, for about another 10-20 seconds, until completely smooth. (There should be NO LUMPS or chunks of fruit left. If there are, keep blending until you have a beautiful creamy consistency.)
::: Pay close attention to your blender, each one will take a different amount of time. If you push it too hard, you can wear the motor down. If you have to use a lower setting, that’s ok :::



::: 1 Month Green Smoothie Challenge ::: DAYS # 1-10 :::



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Day 1.  Blue Almond

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1\2 cup strawberries
  • 1\2 an apple

Day 2.  Tropical Treasure

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup OJ
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 3 strawberries

Day 3. Orange you glad I said Banana

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  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup OJ
  • 1 banana
  • 2 clementines
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Day 4. PB&J Oatmeal Bar

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango 
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter

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Day 5. Pineapple Plantation

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 banana

Day 6. Sea Green Paradise

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches

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Day 7.  Strawberry Popeye

  • 1 cup Tropicana Pomegranate Blueberry Juice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches

Day 8. Greener Pastures

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  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen pineapples
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 medium banana

Day 9.  Banana Berry Monster

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 2 large strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Day 10. Peachy Purple Pom

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup Tropicana Pomegranate & Blueberry  Juice
  • 1/2 avacado
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

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