Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Trio of Vegan Christmas Cookies

Movember took a lot out of us - I mean, we did have to consume quite a few intense cupcakes. Taking a break was a necessity (especially for Mr. C's waistline). I thought we could take the month to relax. And detox.

Of course, I forgot that December comes after November. December means Christmas. And that means Christmas cake, pies, bars, chocolate. Oh, and cookies. So. Many. Cookies.

Picture taken by Laura of The First Mess

I'm usually pretty good at avoiding all those holiday sweets - most of them are verboten anyways, just because of all that non-vegany buttery stuff they usually contain. (Don't worry, Mr. C usually takes one for the team and eats my share as well.)

This year, however, I signed up for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I love baking for others, so I thought it was nifty to send a little box of C&C goodness across the country to brighten someone else's day. Unfortunately, I forgot about the other half of this little deal - I send out boxes of cookies, yes, but that means that I'll get a whole hell of a lot of cookies back. Oh. Dear. I don't know if my poor little bloated tummy could handle such things.
Luck shined upon my gut, however. I was informed by the organizers that there was only one other Canadian vegan that signed up for the cookie swap. Suddenly, I felt a little awful - like one of those ancient Galapagos turtles who slowly crawls across the land looking for another one of its species. Only two vegans doing cookie swap in Canada? For shame! 

Now I had to bake with pride! I had to represent! I had to fill my cookie swap partner's gullet with so many vegan delights, she'll be set for sweet until the New Year. So, instead of doing just one kind of cookie, we did three of my favourites: Almond Thumbprints, Chocolate Mint Crinkles, and Blackstrap Ginger Cookies. They're simple, the texture is amazing, and the flavour is spot on. Perfect for Christmas. And, I promise you, your non-vegan friends/family members won't be missing all that extra butter. 

(Before you check out our recipes, please take the time to check out The First Mess. Laura was the other vegan in this little trade and sent us some seriously awesome cookies.)

These three cookie recipes are adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar. We really swapped things around, but I would recommend you picking up the book and trying the originals as well. 

cookieswap (20)

Vegan Almond Thumbprints
Makes about 20 cookies

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond butter (I've always made my own using this recipe)
1/3 cup almond milk (or your favourite non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half white, half whole wheat)
2 Tablespoons cornstartch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup roasted almonds, finely chopped
Your favourite homemade jam - I would recommend raspberry (just make sure it doesn't have gelatin in it!)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour some warm water in a small bowl and spread your chopped nuts onto a plate. Set it aside until you're ready for them.

2) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your oil, sugar, and almond butter. Mix in the almond milk and vanilla. Slowly sift in all your dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Mix with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough forms.

3) Roll the dough into walnut-shaped balls and dip quickly into your warm water. Roll the dough balls in the chopped almonds then put on your baking sheet. Use a half-teaspoon or your thumb to make a deep imprint into the cookie. Spoon a little of the jam in, making sure not to overfill it. You will probably fit all your cookies onto one sheet - they can be pretty tight together because they don't spread. Bake for about 18 minutes, then remove and let cool for at least 5 minutes before taking them off the baking sheet. Enjoy when completely cool.

cookieswap (5)

Vegan Chocolate Mint Crinkles
Makes about 2 dozen

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/3 cup of your favourite non-dairy milk (we use almond milk)
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Extra confectioners sugar and regular sugar to roll cookies in.

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together your sugar, oil, corn syrup, vanilla and mint extracts, nondairy milk, flax seeds, and melted chocolate until smooth. Sift in your dry ingredients: cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until you have a moist dough. You will need to let the dough sit in fridge for at least a half hour so you can work with it easily.

2) When your dough is chilled, scoop out just over a tablespoon and roll it into a ball. Roll the dough ball first in your extra granulated sugar, then in your confectioners sugar. Use as much sugar as you can pile on - the more sugar, the more crinkled the cookie will appear. Place the dough balls on your baking sheet, making sure to leave enough room between the cookies. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until cookies are slightly puffed and have cracked all the way across. Cool for about 5 minutes before taking off the cookie sheet. Enjoy!

cookieswap (4)

Blackstrap Ginger Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses (it's a much stronger flavour than fancy molasses. If you're a little bit of a molasses pussy, go ahead and use fancy. But, I promise you, you'll be happy if you take the blackstrap risk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons almond milk (or your favourite non-dairy milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used half white, half whole wheat)
3 overflowing teaspoons fresh grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice + 2 teaspoons water
Candied ginger

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, oil, non-dairy milk, ginger, and vanilla. Sift in your dry ingredients: the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. With a spatula, fold the dry into the wet to form a firm dough.

2) Scoop tablespoon-sized out of the dough, and roll it into a ball. Place the dough onto your baking sheets, leaving room in between to let them spread out a bit. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges have just stared to brown. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes before taking them off to cool on your cookie wrack.

3) Place your lemon juice and water in a small bowl. Add your confectioner's sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking in-between additions, until you've got a royal icing that suits your taste. Ours is about the consistency of glue, but you can make it thinner in order to create a glaze instead. Drizzle your icing over your cookie and place a piece of candied ginger onto the drizzle. Let dry before enjoying.


Monet said...

We had a cookie party on Saturday night and someone brought vegan thumbprints...but no recipe. Yours look even better (and theirs tasted great). I'm so glad to have the recipe now! Don't you know I should be reading this AFTER dinner. Now all I want is dessert. Thank you for sharing them with me. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Olivia said...

It would be great if this article were shared more often.

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