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 **

So Many Recipes, So Little Time

Back in January this year, my life drastically changed. The decision was made for me; I was laid off from my full time Accounting Manager position due to budgetary cutbacks.  So what’s a creative person to do with all this sudden time on their hands?  1. Organize  2.  Be the best “Soccer Mom” or in my case “Dance Mom” I can be   3. Surf the internet  4. Catch up on 4 years of TV shows I missed   5. Start watching “Downton Abbey” and  6. Go back to cooking real, fresh homemade meals, the kind that take all day to prepare and days to plan, why? Because I can.

I have always loved reading and researching recipes.  Clipping them out of a magazine, printing them from online, hand copying  family or friends ingredients and instructions, because it was just so good I had to take the time to scrawl it on some scratch paper.  What always ends up is a pile of papers, in no particular order just sitting in a binder calling me, whispering sweetly to me, “Tikaaaaa…. Tika, TIKA! Come create me.” Then my regular life takes over and I just stick to the basic meals I know.  When you only have 20-30 minutes to get some food on the table for your clan, you tend to choose what you know and what’s easy.  Let’s face it I have stuck my fair share of microwave frozen meals the speedy machine to cook up a super fast meal.

For the past few years I have started to adopt the thinking that we need to eat freshly made, unprocessed foods like our grandparents and great grandparents used to eat. While I have a huge challenge in that regard, because my husband is a vegan.  I grew up with a mother who cooked home homestyle comfort food and I still crave things like meatloaf, pot roast, roasted chicken and spaghetti & meatballs.  I do like to use some vegetarian mock meat options when cooking to substitute for the real thing. When cooked properly, they taste great and work well in most recipes. Out of respect for my husbands beliefs we eat mostly vegetarian at home, only cooking fish once in a while for my daughter and myself.  But after 4 years of dedicating a lot of time to my past employer, I realize that when I did have time to cook  (when I was not too exhausted from a 1-2 hour commute each way), I would choose one of about 10 standard meals we all liked.

  1. Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs
  2. Taco/Burrito Night
  3. Falafels
  4. Chinese Chicken-less Salad
  5. Make your own Pizza night
  6. Stir Fry
  7. Tortilla Soup/ Chili
  8. Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes
  9. Coconut Pineapple Curry
  10. Baked Potatoes with all the fixin’s

To be honest, we really like all the choices above.  And there were days when I would have more time, or get more creative with things like Vegan Shepherds Pie,  Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta,  Enchiladas,  Roasted Vegetable Bruschetta, or Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms Tartlets.  But one can only have so much of the same thing and when your brain is drained, it is very hard to be inventive. I have already tried several new recipes since my recent friendship with unemployment began and my family and I have been loving it.

I have recently decided that I really want to start to get away from canned goods. I realized most of what I bought in cans was beans and corn.  Well, it turns out with a little foresight, homemade beans are pretty dang easy and they taste 100 times better then what comes in a can. Also YOU choose what goes in your food, no extra sodium or chemicals lining the walls of a can leaching into your food.  I really try to buy organic when possible, call me a chemical snob, but I truly think that most organic foods simply just taste better.  Here is a link on how to make your own beans from scratch.  It’s so easy a monkey could do it!  Here is a link from Simple Bites on to how to make beans from dried: http://www.simplebites.net/a-simple-guide-to-cooking-dried-beans 

This new blog is only the tip of the iceberg for me. I want to share my creativeness, ideas, fabulous finds with all of you, especially for the extremely busy, working or stay at home moms, dads, college student, who just need a little inspiration or push in the right direction.  I have so many recipes that I will try out for you and give you advice or my take on. Also when I discover a restaurant or store, I love to share the experience with my friends, especially when they go above and beyond what is expected.

I have always (seriously always – at least as long as computers have been around) wanted to have a blog. I feel that I have a lot of different skills, talents, and information to share. Some I learned on my own and some if it researched, explored or learned from a friend. If you choose to take this journey with me,  we can learn all about the so many wonderful things our modern world has to offer.

So raise a glass or high five someone in the room with you, and lets get going on my biggest adventure yet. As they say, “When one door close, another door opens!”