I did a flurry of cooking this weekend, and all of it was delicious! I only tried one new recipe, though: a stripped-down version of a cookie recipe in the new issue of Vegetarian Times. The fun part is that this is a vegan recipe, which simply means that it doesn’t contain any ingredients that are derived from animals. In terms of cookies, this means no eggs, butter, or milk. While I do not follow a vegan diet (technically, I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, which is a fancy way of saying I eat dairy and eggs), I have a THING for vegan cookies. Vegan cookies tend to be soft and cakey, which I really like. The tricky part with vegan cookies is finding a good way to make sure the dough holds together when you combine the wet and the dry ingredients. In the Basic Vegan Sugar Cookies that follow, my guess is that the cornstarch functions as the binder.
These cookies are tasty and adorable. I found them to be soft, cakey, and sweet but not too sweet. They melt in your mouth and make the perfect light, after-dinner dessert. I imagine they would pair well with fresh fruit. And of course you should drink a big mug of your favorite tea while you eat them!
This recipe is very closely adapted from a recipe for Vegan Snickerdoodles in the September 2007 issue of Vegetarian Times.
Basic Vegan Sugar Cookies
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 stick (4 oz. or ½ cup) vegan margarine, softened (I like Earth Balance brand Natural Buttery Sticks)
¾ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup soymilk, vanilla or plain (I used plain)
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2) Stir together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a bowl.
3) In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the margarine to soften it (this step was a bit tricky for me, as most of the margarine got stuck in the beaters. Even if that happens to you, carry on; your cookie dough should be fine because when you add the sugar, the margarine will become unstuck and blend into the sugar). Add the sugar to the margarine and beat to combine well. Add the soymilk and vanilla to the margarine-sugar mixture and beat for another 30 seconds or so to combine until smooth.
4) Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture and beat for about 30 seconds to make a smooth thick batter.
5) Use your hands to shape the batter into 1- to 1.5-inch balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies look a bit dry on top. Try not to overbake them. Cool cookies on sheets for a minute or two and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for at least three days with no loss of flavor or texture.