Vegan Christmas Cookies 101

9 Dec

Participating in a cookie swap this year?  Giving a tin of freshly baked cookies to your loved ones?  Bringing in a plate of cookies to share at work?  For many vegans, the holidays are our chance to show the world that vegan baked goods are delicious and just as good as their non-vegan counterparts and lucky for us veganizing your favourite family recipes is ridiculously easy.  Here are my top tips for sharing the goodness of vegan holiday cookies.

Sparkled Ginger Cookies
Sparkled Ginger Cookies from ‘Vegan with a Vengeance’ that were given to my co-workers today.

1.  Inspiration!

Don’t know where to start?  There are tons of sources of inspiration for holiday cookies such as magazines, cookbooks or maybe even your grandmother’s handwritten recipe cards.  Here are my favourite online resources:

Martha Stewart’s Cookie of the Day delivers a recipe for a mouth-watering cookie to your email inbox each day. For the month of December, it will be a Christmas cookie. I get a lot of inspiration from these, this is where I found the recipe for the Linzer Cookies I baked earlier.

Toronto’s The Star is hosting a very special event, A Cookie a Day Until Christmas, with each day featuring an unusual cookie that look amazing such as Pumpkin Ginger Pillows and Sicilian White Cookies.

Joy of Baking’s Christmas Cookie Recipes has a recipe for every one of your holiday cookie needs and then some. They also provide you with a history and origin of the cookie which is always fun to read and allows you to impress people with your ability to whip out an interesting cookie fact like “Did you know that Peanut Butter Cookies were invented in the 1890s by vegetarian Dr. Kellogg who was looking for a substitute for dairy butter?”.

2.  Bake!

Okay, you may have noticed that the links I gave you under resources were not very vegan.  So before you’re all like ‘hey!  what gives?’, I’m going to tell you that veganizing cookies is all kinds of crazy simple. See:

Butter.  I replace butter with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or Shortening.  Sometimes I’ll use oil, it all depends on the recipe (like if the dough calls to be rolled, I always use EB because I’ve never had any luck rolling out an oil dough).  Just reduce the amount a little bit, Isa wrote in Vegan with a Vengeance that you can replace 1/2 cup butter with 1/3 cup canola oil.

Milk.  A non-dairy milk obviously. 

Eggs.  There are SO many things you can replace eggs with and you’re probably familar with them.  My go-to egg replacer for cookie baking is always 1/4 soy yogurt for one egg, I’m almost always happy with the results.  I’ll also use a flax egg-1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons of water=1 egg (but be careful because in a light coloured cookie, the flax is quite visible). 

Oh and while all this baking goes down, put on the Christmas music!  I happen to be an avid fan of christmas music, here a few of my favourites:

Merry Christmas Baby-The Ramones
Christmas Wrapping-The Waitresses
A Christmas Duel-The Hives & Cyndi Lauper
A Beguiled Christmas Sales-Jason Collett
Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me-Belle and Sebastian
Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time!-Sufjan Stevens

3.  Wrap!

Ok now that you’ve got your cookies all baked and decorated, it’s time to wrap them up.  I usually use tins because they’re cute, reusable and extemely cheap.  But if you want to get your cookies all fancied up check out Martha’s Cookie packaging ideas.

4.  Give!

So now that all the planning, measuring, mixing, baking and wrapping (and eating lots of dough in the process) has been done, give away your cookies to someone you care about!  Show them how delcicious veganism is!  Maybe if you were really generous, you’ll have included a copy of the recipe with your cookies so that they too can whip up a batch of cookies if ever the need arises.  I hope you have fun and your effort is appreciated, I don’t know about you but I certainly have trouble saying no to a gingerbread man this time of year…

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14 Responses to “Vegan Christmas Cookies 101”

  1. Vegan_Noodle December 9, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    Thanks for the tips!! I need to download me some xmas music to listen to while baking…

  2. Deleilan December 9, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    Regarding the substitution of oil for butter, I’m fairly certain Isa wrote that you should replace 1/2 CUP of butter with 1/3 CUP of oil (and not half of the butter with a third of oil).

    I’ll be baking vegan cookies as presents this Christmas, but I’ll be keeping the recipes all to myself! *evil laugh*

  3. Ashley December 9, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    Thanks for catching my typo, Deleilan! :-)

  4. VeggieGirl December 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

    THANKS FOR THE TIPS, GIRL!

  5. Maureen December 9, 2008 at 9:40 pm #

    An excellent guide! I love using whole flax seeds + water as an egg replacement because I love the texture of the seeds in cookies. I’ve never heard of using soy yogurt though, thanks for the idea!

  6. Melisser December 10, 2008 at 5:07 am #

    Such a great post! I need to decide on some Holiday cookies to bake.

  7. mihl December 10, 2008 at 9:17 am #

    These tips are awesome. Thank you Ashley!

  8. Bianca- Vegan Crunk December 10, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    Great tips! I’m definitely making baked goods for gifts this year. Its a great way to save money in these scary, scary times.

  9. CookieGirl December 11, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    The Sparkle Ginger Cookies look and sound delicious! Could you share the recipe? I will ask Santa for Vegan with a Vengeance. Thanks!

  10. Ashley December 11, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    Thanks everyone!

    CookieGirl-I won’t post it here but I found for you here- http://bunnyfoot.blogspot.com/2006/04/ginger-cookies-vegan.html
    Enjoy! :-)

  11. River (Wing-It Vegan) December 15, 2008 at 10:38 pm #

    What a beautiful and artistic shot! Thanks for all the tips and links!

  12. Kelly December 21, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    I love the tips. Thanks!

  13. ruby red vegan December 21, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    That is so interesting about the invention of peanut butter cookies! Yay for Dr. Kellogg — he rocks.

  14. Erin December 22, 2008 at 8:01 pm #

    What a great post! Thanks! :)

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