Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add coconut flakes to food processor and blend for about 1 minute or a little more, until the coconut flakes start clumping together. When you squeeze some of the coconut in between your fingers, it should stick together like a gritty loose dough (see photo), kind of let wet sand.
Add coconut oil, maple syrup, aquafaba (unwhipped chickpea brine), salt, and vanilla and mix for 20 seconds to combine. Add cornstarch and pulse several times to combine until a wet dough has formed (see photo).
Scoop out into 1 ½ Tbsp mounds (I like using this scoop) and gently transfer onto your parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a little room in between each cookie. They can be gentle, so scooping directly from the bowl and placing on the parchment without any additional handling is ideal.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden brown and bottoms appear golden brown. They should puff up a little while baking, too. Be careful not to burn the undersides.
Let cool on pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a plate or cooling rack to cool completely. For an optional kick of flavor, you could also dip these in dark chocolate (see method here).
These cookies are best enjoyed at room temperature. Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 4-5 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with cornstarch. *In place of aquafaba, you can sub egg white if not vegan. Otherwise, you can experiment with egg replacers or flax eggs. But we haven't tested other variations and can't guarantee the results. *We didn’t test the recipe with arrowroot, but suspect it would work. *Make these cookies even more festive by adding some peppermint extract to the batter and topping with crushed candy canes post-bake right out of the oven. Or, let them cool and use melted dairy-free dark chocolate to coat the bottoms or drizzle the tops (or both), similar to this method.