I tested vegan cookies last week, vegan vanilla cookies to be precise, and I did so with such determination it was as if I was practicing for a Great British Bake Off competition. I made vanilla cookies using vegan butters, both Brooklyn Buttah and Miyoko’s Kitchen Cultured Butter, and with extra virgin olive oil. These trials were ok, more than ok really, but not great, and I found the results were inconsistent. I actually liked the olive oil cookies better than the vegan butter ones. Believe me when I tell you that cutting recipes in half or a quarter when testing is the smart thing to do. I had lots of cookies now to dunk, drizzle with chocolate, and share with my friends who welcome ‘rejects”, but the bottom line for me is that I didn’t like any of them as well as the Vanilla Wafer Cookies in More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally (2006). This dough is fast and easy, no granulated sugar is used, unless you choose to finish with the optional sprinkle, and the dough can be stored in the freezer, even cut out as cookies, until you are ready to bake. So now, 10 years later I have revised the recipe by reducing the vanilla extract, baking the cookies longer, and adding a nut cookie option. Now, if only I could learn to take better photos! These really don’t do the cookies justice but I hope you get the idea.
When I test recipes, I don’t mess around. Making tape and taking photos are your friends. A notebook, too. Here are variations, different shapes, nuts and no nuts, and different baking times. I always check the bottoms of some of the cookies.
How did these taste? My Polish friend Ula doesn’t really like sweets. She tasted one and said, “What?!! You made my grandma’s cookies?!” She took another. I said, “Well I’m glad you like them but I’m sure these are not your grandma’s cookies, or my grandma’s either!” There’s no crisco, and no white sugar.
The dough comes together fast but you must allow time at least 2 hours for the dough to chill in the freezer before rolling and cutting It will not freeze rock hard solid. Keep the dough in your freezer, as long as it’s well wrapped, for up to a month or longer.
Tip: If the dough softens while you are cutting the cookies, freeze briefly and continue.
Vegan Vanilla Cookies
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup arrowroot
- 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons mild tasting extra virgin olive oil or another neutral oil
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, Grade A dark or dark amber
- 1 tablespon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar for sprinkling, optional, or as needed
Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, and salt to the strainer and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Whisk to mix.
Whisk oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl until well combined. Pour into the dry mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until dough is smooth and shiny. The dough is soft.
Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Pat into a disk
Freeze 2 hours, or until the dough is cold enough to roll and cut.
Make the Cookies
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Work with one piece of dough at a time. Unwrap the dough and cover with another piece of wrap. Roll the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Press a cookie cutter into the dough, making the cuts as close together as possible. (If you are making Linzer cookies, press a round piping tip into the center of some.) Press the dough that remains after the cuts together. Roll and cut more cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sugar, if desired.
Use a wide spatula to lift the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, placing them 1/2 inch apart. If the cookies have become too soft to move, refrigerate for about 15 minutes until chilled and firm.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies look dry and slightly puffed and the bottoms are lightly browned. Thinner cookies will be lightly browned around the edges.
Place the baking sheet on a rack and cool for 3 minutes, or until the cookies are firm enough to move. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely before you finish them.
Mix 2 tablespoons nut flour into 3 ounces cookie dough. That’s the formula.
Roll and cut.
Roll into balls, press down to flatten slightly, make center depression.
Roll 1/2 teaspoon pieces dough into logs. Press down lightly to flatten.
Crescents: Roll into rope, shape into crescent. Press down lightly to flatten.
Linzer Cookies: Spread a bit of jam on the bottom of one cookie. Top with one of the cut outs and press lightly.
Sandwich Cookies: Spread ganache or melted chocolate over the bottom of one cookies, press a cookie, bottom down on the filling. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
Modern Art Cookies: Place cookies close together, drizzle with melted chocolate.
Nut, Coconut, Sprinkles Cookies: Dip some of the cookie in melted chocolate and before it sets, into chopped nuts, coconut or spinkles.
Now tell me please, are you a cookie person? I am most definitely and I prefer crunchy, not too sweet cookies. These are irresisitible. Do you have a favorite cookie?