Just like traditional sugar cookies but without eggs or dairy and just as delicious!
I have made traditional sugar cookies for many years. As a semi-retired cake decorator, I've made MANY animal-based decorated cakes, cookies and sweeet treats over the years. For some reason though, I don't have a lot of confidence when it comes to plant-based baking. I think it's because I've had way more fails than successes! And simply swapping out animal-based ingredients for plant-based ones doesn't always work.
Fortunately, I have found Nora Cooks Vegan recipes to be the best for making sweet baked goods and this recipe is no exception. They baked up just like traditional decorated sugar cookies and the icing recipe is very easy and forgiving!
Slightly modified recipe below.
3/4 cup vegan butter (I like Flora brand), slightly softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, or could use 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract) 2-2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided (correctly measured) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt EASY ICING 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, or could use 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract) 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (can omit, but it makes the icing very shiny) 1-2 tablespoons water
1. In a large bowl either using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the vegan butter for about 1 minute until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and light.
2. Now add in the almond milk, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extract (if using). Beat on high until it is all fully combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Add 1 cup of the flour to the wet mixture. Sprinkle the baking powder and salt on top of the flour. Mix on low speed, until just combined. Now add 1 more cup of the flour and continue to mix on low until just combined; don't over mix. The dough should feel similar to play dough when you work it in your hands, but it will look crumbly in the bowl. If it seems too wet for rolling, add another 1/4 cup of flour. You want the dough to be thick, but not dry. I always use the full 2 1/4 cups of flour. If the dough is too wet, your cookies will spread.
4. Using a spatula, scoop all of the dough out of the bowl; use your hands if needed to push it all together. Divide the dough in half and roll into two balls.
5. On a flat surface, add a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle a little flour on it, then add half the dough. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top. Repeat for the second ball of dough, and then stack them with parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
6. Once the dough has been chilled, set it on the counter for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Continue re-rolling the dough until it is all used.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, in the middle rack of the oven, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. They will appear underdone, but they will firm up considerably as they cool. Let them cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely before icing. EASY ICING 1. Whisk all icing ingredients in a bowl. If it seems too thick, add a little more water. It should be smooth, glossy and not runny. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. You can dip the cookies in the icing, or use brushes, spoons or a squeeze bottle.
2. *If you want really pretty cookies, first make the icing thicker, by using only 1 tablespoon of water. Using a decorating tip, outline the cookies with the thicker icing. Then add a little more water to thin it and flood the inside with icing. This way the icing doesn't spill over the cookie edges.
3. Decorate with sprinkles or other decorating elements as desired. The icing will take several hours to harden completely. The cookies will stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.
1. The original recipe calls for Earth Balance Vegan Butter for best baking but I prefer the flavor of Flora.
2. I LOVE almond extract and agree that it works well in the recipe but it could be eliminated entirely. Lemon or any other extract could be used, depending on preference. If no other extract is use, I would recommend adding an additional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
3. The uncooked dough can be frozen and baked at a later time. Wrap the flattened dough very tightly to avoid freezer burn. Use within a month of freezing.
4. Coloring the icing may take a little while and if the icing dries out a little in between decorating, simply add a a bit of water to rehydrate it.