Finally… a vegan version of my basic cut-out sugar cookie. A friend of mine requested some vegan decorated cookies for his co-workers who worked hard to create a new campaign for DC Water. Check out their snazzy new logo, so I was able to come up with a vegan cut out cookie recipe.
the journey to reach a yummy vegan cut-out decorated cookie:
1. I remembered a reader who had sent me suggestions for her vegan version. 2. I couldn’t find the reader’s suggestions (feel free to resend them, and I’m happy to post links!) 3. I googled “vegan cut-out sugar cookies” to limited success. 4. I tried a vegan cut-out sugar cookie recipe I found on google and knew from the crumbly, oily dough it wouldn’t work. 5. I baked them anyway and they didn’t work. Wow. They so didn’t work. 6. I started from scratch, literally, to make some substitutions to my basic almond sugar cookie.
eggs. I found ENER-G Egg Replacer at a natural foods store. It’s a powder that comes in a box. Chances are this is in the baking aisle of Whole Foods, but I didn’t know to look there when I stopped there first.
vegan butter. Well, earth balance vegan buttery sticks, to be exact, from the natural foods store but probably also more widely available, had I looked more thoroughly.
powdered sugar. Here is the tricky one. I’ve read that powdered sugar is processed through bone char, made from cows, to whiten the sugar. Eew. So I got the organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods. Given the organic sugar is more ecru than bright white, I’m making an educated assumption the organic isn’t filtered through the bone. I just couldn’t find confirmation of this on the packaging or online anywhere. If anyone out there has any more information on the organic powdered sugar, feel free to send along!
the recipes vegan almond sugar cut-out cookies
2 sticks vegan “butter” (earth balance vegan buttery sticks)
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 Tblsp water, mixed well (the equivalent of 1 egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt (I used 1/2 tsp, but 1/4 is probably better)
With a handheld electric mixer or in a standing mixer with the flat beater, cream together the vegan buttery sticks and sugar. Add the egg mixture and blend. Add the extracts and blend. Mix the flour and salt and gradually blend into the wet mixture. Place dough in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate about 2 hours. Roll out on a floured surface, cut out shapes, and bake on parchment paper-lined baking trays in a 375 degree preheated oven. Let cool and decorate. Makes about 25-30 cookies (or about 15 large ones).
vegan decorating icing
2 cups powdered sugar, plus more (this should probably be sifted, though I didn’t)
3 tsp light corn syrup
5 tsp soy milk, plus more
Mix all ingredients with a wire whisk until very well blended. This icing is very forgiving. Play around with adding more powdered sugar or milk to thicken or thin, respectively, to reach the right consistency. See below for decorating tips.
Overall, yum. I’ll definitely make these again. The dough was very easy to work with, pliable and rolled out smoothly. When baked, they held their shape exactly, not one milimeter of spreading, and they turned the perfect shade of gold with lightly browned edges. They were flakier and lighter in texture than the original version, which made them more fragile, but I like what that did for the taste. The almond extract added a nice, subtle flavor. They had a bit of a powdery, flour-y aftertaste, I thought, and I would decrease the salt to 1/4 tsp for the next batch, but these were only minor gripes.
Depending on how many cookies you have, you may need two batches of frosting, one for background color and one for details. To flood the background of the cookies: take about a cup and a half of frosting of the right outlining consistency. The consistency should be slightly thick, it should cling to the spoon when overturned, then slowly fall to the bowl, but err on the side of thicker, as you’ll be adding a lot of coloring which will thin it a bit. Tint the frosting white. Because of the brownish hue added from the non-whitened powdered sugar and the soy milk, this will take a LOT of white food coloring (I use Americolor soft gel paste). Fit a disposable frosting bag with a coupler and size “4” decorating tip and fill with half of your white frosting. Tie closed with a rubber band. Pipe an outline on your cookies and let set about 20 minutes. Thin reserved white frosting with water until frosting falls into itself when drizzled, but is still viscous. Using a little spoon, squeeze bottle or an empty frosting bag with about 1/8 inch snipped from the end, pour or loosely pipe frosting in the center of the cookies. Let flood to edges, encouraging with a butter knife or the back of the spoon as needed. Let set very well, a couple hours at least, before adding details on top. To add details, tint the original, thicker icing desired colors and fill frosting bags fitted with sizes “2,” “3” or “4” tips and pipe to decorate.