Tuesday, December 17, 2013

christmas cookies

I have an amazing vegan friend, Jill, who has taught me that you can transform pretty much anything into a vegan option. Making cookies vegan is far easier than expected; using earth balance vegan buttery spread instead of butter and flax meal instead of eggs can change any cookie recipe to suit your vegan lifestyle. We made four kinds of cookies on one 90 degree Maui december day. Equipped with holiday aprons and Pandora's Christmas music station, we got into the Hawaiian Christmas spirit. Jill found two of these recipes on VegWeb, but the shortbread cookies and Anzac cookies have been in her family for years.

*note: we doubled all of these recipes and made made TONS of cookies! I'm not quite sure how many each single batch will make, but you can never have too many cookies around the holidays!

Shortbread Cookies

  • 3/4 pound vegan margarine (earth balance)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • sliced almonds
  • mericino cherries

Combine margarine, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer. Add flour and salt, dough will be sticky so wrap it in plastic and pop it in the fridge for about an hour (we put ours in the freezer to save time). When it is cold enough to manage, form into balls, and roll in sliced almonds. Now poke your thumb in the middle of the ball to make room for the cherry. Cookies can be close, but not touching. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the bottom looks golden. Let cool before transferring, they are very fragile right out of the oven so be patient!

Sugar Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp extra firm tofu, mashed or pureed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • holiday decorations!

Cream margarine, sugar, tofu puree, and vanilla with electric mixer. Sift in dry ingredients and combine. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour (it might not take that long to chill for everyone, keep in mind this was a 90 degree day in hawaii). Separate dough into two balls, roll out on flour coated counter and cut into desired shapes (dolphins!). These cookies don't rise or spread so be sure you roll them out the thickness you want. Sprinkle or decorate and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Allow cookies to cool slightly before transferring to wire rack.

Anzac Cookies
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 Tbsp molasses, or golden syrup (golden syrup is really hard to find in the US)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp hot water

Combine oats, flour, sugar, and coconut in large bowl. In a saucepan on low heat melt the margarine. Add the syrup, baking soda, and hot water, mix well and remove from heat. Add liquid to oat mixture and combine gently. Roll dough into small balls, about one teaspoon each, and arrange on cookie sheet at least 1- 1/2 inches apart (they spread a lot). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Allow to cool before transferring. 

Peppermint Creams

  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 4 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 12oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine syrup, margarine, and peppermint extract with electric mixer. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix well. This "dough" will be very crumbly but form into small balls with your hands and press flat. Next, melt chocolate chips either in the microwave or on a double boiler. 

Start to dip the white patties into the chocolate and spread around with fingers. This is very messy but very fun. Place them on a tray covered in foil or wax paper. 

When all are covered with chocolate place in refrigerator to cool for about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Yum! Just like York Peppermint Patties! Keep them in the fridge or wrap them in foil. 

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