27 February 2014

Vegan Sugar Cookies

Years ago, I invented an egg-free sugar cookie recipe for my friend, Courtney, who is allergic to eggs. It was complex and time-consuming, and although the resulting cookies tasted much like my mom's, the texture wasn't quite right. You know me: I can't let an experiment go until it's absolutely perfect. So I went back to the drawing board. And here they are at last!

Vegan Sugar Cookies
You will need:
1 1/2 c. margarine*
3 c. sugar
1/2 c. water (room temperature)
1/4 c. corn starch
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. almond extract
6 c. flour

Cream together margarine and sugar.

In a small bowl, mix water and corn starch together until corn starch is completely dissolved. Stir into margarine/sugar mixture. Beat until light and fluffy.

Add baking powder, salt and flavoring. Mix thoroughly.

Stir in flour, one cup at a time, until fully incorporated.

Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on lightly-greased baking sheets.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. (Don't overbake, or cookies won't be soft.) Let cool slightly on cookie sheet, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Easy, Giant Cookie Variation: Don't chill the dough. Scoop large portions of cookie dough using an ice cream scoop. Place on lightly-greased cookie sheet, and flatten each dough ball slightly. Top with candy sprinkles, pressing sprinkles lightly into the dough. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*Yes, you can use butter in this recipe, but if you do, they will no longer be vegan. - Note: Many margarines contain whey, which is a milk byproduct and not vegan. Make sure to read labels!!  Update 16 December 2014: I'm having a really hard time these days finding margarine or shortening that doesn't contain whey or any other animal byproducts (which means they're not vegan) or palm oil (which I'm allergic to), so I decided to try using coconut oil when I made the cookies today. It worked really well, and there was little or no taste/texture difference in the finished cookie ... but for some reason I had to cut the flour a lot when using the coconut oil. Instead of 6 c. flour, start with 4 c. and gradually add flour a tiny bit at a time to get the dough to the right consistency (5 c. was too much for me - but there's very little humidity where I live, so you may need more than I did). Also, when using coconut oil, I found that the dough didn't need to be chilled before rolling it out, so you can skip that step. (I suspect it would have been too hard and unworkable if I had chilled it.)

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