We’ve officially reached the month of December and I have one thing on the brain: Cookies.
OK, cookies and somehow convincing John to get a real Christmas tree this year. The old fake one is looking real sad.
Send good vibes and tree care tips, please.
You may remember I made vegan gluten free cookies last year. However, with yet another year of recipe development under my belt, I’ve learned a lot since then and have tried new techniques and gluten free flour blends. The result? I’ve cracked the code on perhaps the most fluffy, perfect gluten free vegan sugar cookies on the planet.
Big claims, I know. But kinda true.
Plus, this recipe is simple requiring just 1 bowl and less than 45 minutes start to finish. Ready to see this wizardly? Onward.
The base of these cookies is vegan butter, organic cane sugar and vanilla extract. For the egg, I went with aquafaba – the liquid left behind in a can of cooked chickpeas, which makes a lovely egg substitute in most vegan baking and whips up like egg whites! Magic, I know.
I hope to do a post on aquafaba soon as I get a lot of questions about it and recipe requests, so stay tuned! But if you follow my instructions below you’ll be fine.
Next comes my special blend of GF flours:
Almond flour (which creates a perfect crumbly texture)
Cornstarch (which puffs them up and provides shape + structure)
And my DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend (for extra binding)
The batter only chills for 15 minutes while the oven preheats, during which time you can make your frosting. These little dudes are also quite delicious plain if you’d rather keep things simple.
And may I add that these cookies are undetectably vegan and gluten free and are eerily reminiscent of Lofthouse sugar cookies!? Yeah, I know. Exciting stuff. Give them a try for yourself and let me know how it goes.
If you try this recipe, let us know by leaving a comment, rating it, and (forever and always) tagging a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers and happy baking, friends!
Fluffy 1-Bowl Sugar Cookies (Vegan + GF)
- 1/2 cup softened vegan butter* (1/2 cup = 1 stick // or dairy butter if not vegan)
- 2/3 cup organic cane sugar*
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine – the liquid left behind in a can of cooked chickpeas // or sub 1/4 cup (50 g) pumpkin purée* // amount as original recipe is written)
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour blend*
- 2/3 cup almond flour (not almond meal – the texture and flavor is different)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch or arrowroot
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add softened vegan butter (make sure it’s softened – not melted or cold) to a large mixing bowl and beat or whisk until creamy and smooth – about 1 minute.
- Add sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy and light – about 1 minute. Then add chickpea brine (or other egg substitute*) and vanilla and mix again, scraping down sides as needed.
- Add baking powder and sea salt and blend or whisk to combine. Then add gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, and cornstarch and mix on low until the ingredients are combined. I had to switch to a wooden spoon toward the end. Add almond milk and stir once more.
- The dough should be thick, moldable and a little difficult to mix at this point (see photo). If too soft, continue adding a mixture of gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, and cornstarch until a thick, moldable dough is formed. If too thick, thin with a bit more almond milk.
- Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes*. Once chilled, use a cookie scooper (I like this one) or a Tablespoon to measure out 1 1/2 Tbsp amounts of dough and gently roll into balls – the dough will still be soft so be gentle. Arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheets with 1 inch room between each and press down gently with the palm of your hand to smash slightly.
- Alternatively, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until about 1/4-inch thick and dip cookie cutters in gluten-free flour before pressing into the dough. Use a floured spatula to gently scoop onto baking sheets. This recipe works well with both cut outs and traditional circles!
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies appear fluffy and the edges are slightly beginning to dry out. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a plate to cool completely.
- To make frosting (optional), add softened vegan butter to a mixing bowl and whisk or beat until soft and fluffy – about 1 minute. Then sift in powdered sugar in small amounts and mix. Around the 1-cup mark, add the vanilla extract and whisk. Continue adding powdered sugar until you have spreadable frosting (I used about 2 cups powdered sugar // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). If you prefer a thinner frosting, add a little almond milk to thin. If it becomes too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it becomes too thick, add more almond milk. Add natural food coloring at this time (optional).
- Frost cookies or leave plain! I decorated with some naturally-dyed sugar sprinkles like these. Organic cane sugar as a base should ensure vegan friendliness.
- Storage: Once cooled, store leftover cookies covered at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.
*I tested Miyokos vegan butter and Earth Balance soy-free buttery sticks. Both work, but I found Earth Balance gives them a slightly better texture.
*If you’d like to cut back on sugar, sub 1/3 cup of the sugar with 1 packet (~1/4 tsp) stevia extract- I like Trader Joe’s brand (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). This will make the cookies softer, so you may need to add more gluten-free flour, almond flour, and/or cornstarch to help thicken the dough.
*The chickpea brine substitutes an egg in this recipe. In its place, you can also try subbing 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg replacer, or 1 small chicken egg if not vegan (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). I haven’t tested it with a flax egg or any of the other substitutes and can’t guarantee the results.
*If not gluten-free, sub the almond flour and gluten-free flour blend with unbleached all-purpose flour, but keep the cornstarch – it helps them puff up.
*You can make the cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate up to 2-3 days in advance. Simply let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before scooping and baking. It should be soft and moldable.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without frosting.