Vegan sugar cookies
I’m pleased to announce that I have completed my first Daring Bakers challenge! One of the reasons I started blogging is to challenge myself to be more adventurous and creative in the kitchen, and so I welcomed the idea of joining the Alternative Daring Bakers and indulging in ongoing challenges that would take me beyond my usual baking repertoire.
The September 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! Mandy challenged everyone to make decorated sugar cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and the Joy of Baking. I’m not a fan of sugar cookies at all–mostly because they don’t contain one single healthful ingredient. And, they’re just plain boring!
That being said, this month’s challenge involved more than just a basic sugar cookie recipe. What intrigued me was the idea that, with just a little imagination, a simple sugar cookie can be transformed into a gorgeous bakery-style treat that is perfect for special occasions. It is definitely something I will keep on file for my Christmas gift baskets.
Since it’s the beginning of autumn, the most gorgeous time of the year, I envisioned vibrant shades of red, orange and green that mark the transition from summer into winter. To spice up these autumn-style cookies, I also added a touch of freshly ground nutmeg and orange zest. My veganized versions of the recipes are adapted from one of my favourite books, The Joy of Vegan Baking.
Vegan sugar cookies
- 1 cup unbleached AP flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup nondairy butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup Sucanat
- 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
Vegan royal icing:
- 1/2 cup vegan powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Food colouring (optional)
- 2 to 3 tsp nondairy milk
For the cookies:
- Sift the flours and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside.
- Grind the Sucanat briefly in a spice or coffee grinder. In a separate bowl, beat the Sucanat and vegan butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the egg replacer, water and vanilla and beat for another minute.
- Add the flour mixture and beat until the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough into two flat disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. (I roll mine out between two pieces of parchment paper to prevent sticking.)
- Cut out the cookies with cookie cutters and carefully transfer them to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Put the cookies in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking to help them keep their shape.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges.
- Cool on a wire rack and decorate with royal icing.
For the royal icing:
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar and cornstarch together.
- Stir in the lemon juice and optional food colouring.
- Add nondairy milk 1 tsp at a time until the mixture becomes smooth.
- Do the toothpick test to get the correct consistency: Drag a knife through the royal icing and count to 10. If the surface becomes smooth within 5 to 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency. If not, add more powdered sugar or nondairy milk for desired results.
- Decorate cookies as desired and let sit for several hours to dry. Store cookies in between pieces of parchment paper in a tightly-covered container for up to one week.