The whole idea of vegan baking might seem confusing at first, or, at the very least, a little boring—you know, milk and eggs are kind of important in most cookies and cakes, right? Well, this recipe is about to surprise you not only with how simple is it to transform a classic sugar cookie recipe into something vegan-friendly but also just how darn delicious these sweet treats are. Serve them with a freshly brewed cup of coffee for an after-dinner treat. (If you wanted to have them as your morning pick-me-up, though, we wouldn't judge. After all, you can eat these healthy cookies for breakfast.)
Plus, this recipe is crafted in a way that no guest—vegan or otherwise—would ever be able to tell that these sugar cookies are dairy-free, or that they have less fat and calories. And that's exactly what celebrity caterer Andrea Correale, founder and president of Elegant Affairs in NYC, intended when she created these cookies. Though her cookies still have butter and sugar (both of which are vegan, of course), you'll find that unexpected ingredients such as unsweetened applesauce and arrowroot powder really set these cookies apart from the crunchy, overdone versions your aunt always brings over.
Still not convinced? Correale is sharing her recipe below, so you can bake a couple dozen and see for yourself. (And if you're looking for other holiday cookies that won't cause a disaster with your diet, check out these 22 low-calorie holiday cookie recipes.)
Not-So-Sugary Vegan Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter softened
1/2 cup organic cane sugar + extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for rolling dough
1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons nondairy milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
- Add brown sugar, applesauce, and vanilla to bowl. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Mix flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to bowl.
- Sift dry ingredients over butter and sugar mixture, then mix until incorporated.
- Add nondairy milk and mix until soft dough is formed. Cover and freeze dough for 15 minutes.
- Use small ice cream scoop to spoon out chilled dough and roll into balls.
- Arrange cookie dough on clean baking sheet 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Dip bottom of a glass into cane sugar and gently smash dough balls into discs to help cookies bake evenly. Sprinkle lightly with remaining cane sugar.
- Bake on center rack for 10 to 12 minutes or until 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.