Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

I have another sugar cookie recipe on my blog that uses far less fat in it with a cakey texture if that is what you are looking to make. However, if you want a bakery-style, old-fashioned sugar cookie with full flavor and great texture, you simply must try these. I decided to pull out my mom’s recipe and back-track to keep the old richness with the new veganism.

Since we’re all busy this time of the year, I’m going to keep this short and just get you the recipe. Have a wonderful, merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and anything else you celebrate. If you want a frosting recipe, click here.

My new experiment with a cookie stamp.

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, softened
  • 2 T. soy sour cream (or more coconut oil)
  • 2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar) plus more for top of cookies
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 4 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour, or w.w. pastry flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Thoroughly cream margarine, evaporated cane juice, and vanilla.  Add egg replacer powder, stirring thoroughly.  Gradually beat in the milk by hand, or use a mixer and do it all at once.  Continue beating until fluffy and no separation remains.  Stir in salt and baking powder well, then flour immediately afterwards.  Stir until no dry spots remain.  If necessary, add another T. or so of milk.

Roll dough into balls, place on cookie sheets, and flatten with a glass dipped into more of the evaporated cane juice crystals, or a cookie stamp.  (After you have rolled the cookie dough into balls, you may need to rub your hand on the bottom of the glass the first time so that the sugar will stick to it.)  Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Cool slightly and remove to cooling rack.

If you wish to roll cookies out for cut-outs, chill the dough for an hour or more.  Use a metal spatula or dough scraper to gently lift the cookies from the countertop so they keep their shapes.  If you do this, you will not need to flour the countertop at all, which makes a tastier cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let’s face it ~ most people realize that cookies are not health food.  And those of us who are vegan realize that most cookies contain milk, eggs, and butter (or worse, hydrogenated oils.)   But sometimes, the siren song of cookies in the bakery window is just overwhelming.  Despite a desire to eat a whole-plant-food based diet, sometimes the cookie monster inside simply won’t be put off with another piece of fruit for dessert or an imitation cookie (you know the kind ~ the ones even undiscriminating little kids won’t eat.)

Before you succumb to that cookie (or worse yet, a package of store bought ones), hurry home and make these.  They are not CHIP- or Forks-Over-Knives- approved; they contain too much sugar and fat for that.  But they are a far sight healthier than Toll House chocolate chip cookies that most of us grew up eating!

I spent several years perfecting this recipe.  I wanted to cut the fat, do away with the dairy products, and use whole wheat flour.  I had some pretty sad and sorry cookies at the beginning!  You get the benefit of all that trial and error.  The final piece to the puzzle was parchment paper.  I know it’s a pain to use and adds extra expense, but it is worth it.  No more squashed cookies trying to peel them off of the pan with the spatula.  No more stuck-on goo to scrape off before the next ones can be put on the cookie sheet.  And no more washing the pans, either.  If you are careful about keeping the dough off of the sides, you can just throw the paper away, wipe the pans off, and put them back in the cupboard.

I usually have “one extra note” to make about my recipes.  Here is today’s.  When it comes to vanilla in cookies (or anything, for that matter) use a heavy hand.  If the real stuff is too expensive for you to do that, then by all means use imitation.  The taste difference will amaze you.  Confession:  I don’t measure my vanilla – I guesstimate and splash it in.  (I taught my kids to do this, and it got my daughter, K, in trouble one of the years she wasn’t homeschooled.  She was in home ec. making chocolate chip cookies and her teacher spotted her splashing in the vanilla and romped on her for it.  It was too expensive for such a thing and besides that, you are supposed to measure it, don’t ya’ know!!  When it came time for the teacher to taste test all the groups’ cookies [not a bad job to have…], guess which ones got the highest praise?  Ha!  Vanilla for the win!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 c. non-hydrogenated soy margarine, softened (1 stick), such as Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c. light olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 3 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar (you can use 2 ½ c., but it’s better with 3)
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no added water)
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk plain or vanilla soy)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional, but it adds extra nutrition and omega 3 fatty acids)
  • 2 c. chocolate chips (more if you want them bursting at the seams)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 4 1/2 c. King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s ‘white’ whole wheat flour (from spring wheat that is sweeter and not as strong in flavor)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.  This step is non-negotiable.  Without it, I cannot be responsible for how awful your cookies look.

With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl, combine margarine, olive or coconut oil, cane juice, molasses, and vanilla.  Thoroughly stir in egg replacer powder.  Add a third of the non-dairy milk, or so, at a time, beating it in completely after each addition.  Keep whipping it until fluffy and creamy.  Tip the bowl some to make it easier.  (You can toss the milk in all at once, but it tends to cause separation and then you have to work harder to whip it together.)  Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.  Stir in flour until no dry spots remain.  Don’t be afraid to add an extra 1-2 T. non-dairy milk at this point if the dough seems crumbly.  You want the dough to just stick together if you press a clump on a spoon, or between your fingers.  The moisture content of whole wheat flour varies causing slight differences each time.  Just don’t add too much extra milk, or your cookies will be very flat and hard.

Drop by tablespoon onto parchment-covered cookie sheets.  (Or roll into balls for perfectly round cookies.)  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Remove to cookie racks to cool.  If you want smaller cookies dropped by teaspoon, reduce the baking time to 8-10 minutes.

Oatmeal Cookies

Eating cookie dough – I think we all did it growing up!  That is, until Mom learned that raw eggs could contain salmonella and kill us.  Rats.  There went all the fun of “helping” make cookies.  Somehow, though, when her back was turned, I still managed to snitch a taste here and there.  To a little kid’s mind it made no sense whatsoever to one week be allowed to eat the dough and the next to be told it was dangerous.  Once I became a mom, I had to be diligent and depressing and not allow my children to eat it, either when we weren’t yet vegan.  Therefore, it was with great joy that it dawned on me while creating a vegan cookie recipe that there were no eggs in the cookie dough any more.  I could teach my children to eat cookie dough!  (I think I probably created a problem there…ha!)

This recipe probably provides my favorite cookie dough to eat (although chocolate chip is a close second.)  There is something about the chewy oatmeal and the goodies chosen to vary the recipe that make me dip in again and again.  (I guess it might be a little difficult to definitively tell you how many cookies the batch makes!)  🙂

The batch pictured contains a wonderful raisin medley from Trader Joe’s.  It has 3 types of HUGE raisins – white, flame, and regular.  If you are not a raisin fan (like some of my kids – and lo, and behold, my husband!  He refused to eat the cookies when he saw these.  Shocking….simply shocking!  This is the man who is a devourer of cookies…), you can switch them with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (I’ve actually found a dairy- and corn syrup-free kind once!), coconut flakes, etc.  Or combine a whole bunch of things together to make some crazy cookies.

And be forewarned….you may wish you’d  made a double batch when you see how quickly these disappear!  (I guess mine will be around longer since the cookie-monster hubby isn’t involved any more.  But wait…these are my 17-yr. old son, J’s, favorite cookies.  Never mind….they probably are already gone.)

Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) Earth’s Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, softened (these contain no trans fats)
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil (virgin is best) or light olive oil
  • 1 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice
  • 1-2 T. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (white whole wheat is sweetest and lightest)
  • 3 c. oats
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix the first 5 ingredients together until smooth.  Stir in the egg replacer powder.  Stir in soy milk a bit at a time and whip with spoon until fluffier.  Add salt and baking soda into sugar mixture.  Add flour and oats.  Stir thoroughly.

Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  If the cookies seem crumbly after the first pan is baked, press the dough together more before baking.

Makes approximately 42 cookies.  (I tried to estimate just how much dough I snitched to make up the total.)

Variations: Add 1 c. raisins, nuts, chocolate or butterscotch chips, and/or coconut before adding the flour and oats.

Molasses Cookies

I’m going to add a fun recipe today.  Not only because everybody needs some fun in their dietary life, but because I already have a picture taken of these cookies!  (It seems one of my children shared an illness with me and cooking something new to photograph for a post is just a little out of my comfort zone today.)

Molasses cookies are a favorite for my husband and a couple of my sons.  It was vital that I find a way to make a vegan version, even if I’m not fond of molasses cookies.  (I suppose that keeps me from eating many.  I may be on to something here….)  I pulled out my Land O’ Lakes Cookie Collection a few years ago and set to work.  Fortunately, they were already lower in fat than most of the other recipes in their book (but hey, what do you expect – they are selling butter!)  It didn’t take too much tweaking to come up with a solid recipe.  These make a dark, thin cookie with plenty of flavor, and if you like a super crispy cookie, bake them the longer time listed.

There are some important things you should know, just in case you like to tinker with recipes like I do.  (I can’t seem to leave new ones alone – sometimes that’s a good thing, but sometimes it spells disaster!)

~The original recipe called for “light” molasses, but I’ve never seen such a thing.  I thought I could make it lighter another way.  Nope.  #1 – Don’t substitute honey for any of the molasses.

~  Most of my low-fat cookies need one single “magic” ingredient to come off the cookie sheet easily.  However, these won’t spread well or brown correctly if you use it with these.  #2 – Don’t use parchment paper on the cookie sheets.

~ If you are in a hurry, do not make these cookies!  #3 – Do NOT skip the refrigeration step.  You will fail at rolling the balls out and just have to lick cookie schtick off of your palms instead.  Now, if your goal is to just eat cookie dough – well, that’s up to you!  🙂

~ If you like really large molasses cookies you will need to make a change.  #4 – For larger cookies, place them plenty far apart.  These babies spread like crazy!

Molasses Cookies

  • 1 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) Earth’s Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, softened (these contain no trans fats)
  • 1/2 c. unsulfured molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour* or w.w. pastry flour (*This is spring wheat flour that is sweeter and whiter that typical whole wheat flour.  I use King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s brands.)
  • sugar for rolling

In a large bowl, combine evaporated cane juice crystals, “butter,” and molasses until smooth.  Stir in egg replacer powder.  A couple of tablespoons at a time, stir in the non-dairy milk.  This keeps the batter from separating.  Add baking soda and seasonings, beating to mix well.  Next stir in the flour.  Cover and refrigerate until firm – at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350°.  Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls.  (This seems small, but they spread way out.)  Roll in sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch.  Remove immediately.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.