I’m not a negative person, but I do often expect the worst in order to safeguard myself from less than ideal outcomes.
For example, say we’re planning to hang out with friends. I think, “This may go terribly wrong. I’ll say something stupid. I’ll spill wine on their couch. There will be lots of awkward silence. They’ll never invite us over again.”
That way, if the evening goes at all OK, it was way better than I expected! Success! It’s like some twisted way of guaranteeing a “successful outcome” in any circumstance. Aren’t I smart? (Cheeky grin.)
Does anyone else do this? Because it kind of makes me feel like some bizarre form of a control freak and I need some more people in this boat with me. Either that or send 18 dozen of these sugar cookies to help me cope, STAT.
While I’m not able to predict many (read: any) things that will happen in life, I can predict this: Make these cookies and you will fall in love.
They are the classic, quintessential sugar cookie all veganized and tender and perfect, just dying to be frosted and brought to all of your holiday gatherings. Your friends and family will forget all about the gifts and nose dive into these bad boys, guaranteed.
These cookies are simple, as always. Just 1 bowl and no fancy methods or equipment required. Just good old fashioned cookies at your fingertips in less than 1 hour.
And when it comes time to frost, get festive – naturally!
I tried my hand at DIY natural food coloring using beet juice and it worked beautifully! Look at that hot pink like WHOA.
I also tried parsley for “green” but it was less successful. Has anyone else tried beets or other foods for dying? Do share, I’d love to know.
As far as the cookies go, you can cut them into shapes or just roll them into balls that bake into perfect, beautiful, fluffy discs. I want them all.
The shapes are a little more time intensive, but definitely worth it if you really want to get into the holiday spirit. But let’s be real, when it comes time to pick which cookie(s) to eat, we choose based on size and amount of frosting (the more of both, the better).
You’re going to LOVE these cookies. They’re:
Simple to make
Not too sweet
Amazing with frosting
And undetectably vegan
These cookies are definitely my new go-to for holiday gifting.
What are your favorite cookies to bake during the holidays? Growing up, I tried many different kinds, but always came back to the classic sugar cookie as my favorite. You really can’t go wrong.
Friends, if you try this recipe, show us! Take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram (or your preferred social media). We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers and happy baking!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), softened (to speed softening, see note)
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar + more for topping
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree* (acts as egg substitute | sub with unsweetened applesauce with varied results)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour + more for rolling into shapes
- 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder (for thickening/binding)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
- Splash non-dairy milk
- Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer.
- Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and beat for 1 minute.
- Set your sifter over something that will catch fall out and add dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder). Use a spoon to briefly stir, then sift over butter and sugar mixture.
- Mix until until incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Then add almond milk and mix until a soft dough is formed. Switch to a wooden spoon if it gets too thick. If it appears to wet, mix in a bit more flour.
- Cover and freeze dough for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30-45 minutes (up to overnight).
- Five minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven.
- Scoop out heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of chilled dough and roll into balls. Alternatively, roll out between two pieces of wax paper, lightly flouring the bottom layer, remove top layer, and cut out shapes. (NOTE: For shapes, to ensure they keep their form while baking, freeze them on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking.)
- Arrange cookies on a clean baking sheet 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. If you’ve rolled the dough into balls, dip a glass into cane sugar and gently smash down into a disc to help them cook more evenly.
- Bake on the center rack for 10-12 minutes for (8-10 for cutout shapes), or very slightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let rest on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Prepare frosting in the meantime.
- FOR FROSTING: Wipe/rinse your mixing bowl clean and add softened butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Then add vanilla (optional) and mix once more.
- Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and continue mixing until thick and creamy. Drizzle in a little non-dairy milk to thin. You want this frosting to be pretty thick so it will hold its shape once on the cookies, so only add a little milk and add more powdered sugar if it gets too thin.
- To add natural food coloring, finely grate a raw beet into a clean dish towel and then squeeze it over the frosting and whisk.
- Once cooled, frost cookies and top with sprinkles (optional - vegan ones can be difficult to find). Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to a few days. Freeze for longer-term storage (up to several weeks).
*To speed soften your butter, simply cut it into thin slices from the stick and it will soften much quicker.
*Loosely adapted from my Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes and Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies.
*I have a hunch you could also use other purees, such as butternut squash, beet and banana. If you try it out, let me know! I think it would create fun color/flavor variations.
*For alternative frosting options, try my macadamia-coconut frosting, or cashew frosting! Adjust with whatever spices/flavors you prefer. Just try and keep it on the thicker side for icing.
*I haven’t tried this recipe GF, but I do have a GF sugar cookie recipe that isn’t vegan. If you DO try this GF, let me know in the comments, including what blend you used!