Who on earth says that vegans eat nothing but salads and weird, green juices?
Sure, vegans (obviously) love their fresh veggies and their wheatgrass shots, but on occasion they like to indulge just like everyone else and don’t be fooled.
Vegan desserts are just as yummy as their dairy-laden counterparts, except they’re a whole lot better for you, so how can you lose?
This time of year, the holiday season, is all about cookies for me. Rum cake? Fruit cake? Bah humbug. I’m a cookie freak. In fact, I look forward to holiday cookies all year round and I have a feeling I’m not exactly alone in this. At the same time, I still want to honor my body and feed it well, which means I need to go easy on the sugar, gluten, animal fats and dairy and all that stuff that makes me sluggish and ultimately miserable. That’s where these amazing, vegan, gluten-free Christmas cookies come in handy and the best thing about them is that they are so ridiculously delicious that everyone loves them, vegan or not.
Here’s the original dough recipe:
Best Vegan Cookies Ever
1/2 cup Organic Brown Sugar
2 ¼ c or 280 grams Oat Flour, Gluten-free if you prefer (You can buy ready made oat flour or you can easily make your own by grinding uncooked rolled oats in your blender until they resemble flour. Measure for this recipe AFTER grinding though or you won’t have enough.)
½ tsp Sea Salt
¾ tsp Baking Soda
¼ Cup Coconut oil
¼ Cup Coconut Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Vegan chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix coconut oil with brown sugar and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients. That’s it. It’s that easy. Spoon onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet by the tablespoon, flatten slightly and bake for seven minutes. They may not brown but they’ll be done. Do not over cook them or they will get too dry.
Here’s where it gets even better:
Oatmeal Cookies—leave out the chocolate chips and add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a 1/2 Cup raisins or Craisins (or not if you don’t like dried fruit).
Jam Thumbprints—Use the original dough recipe, leave out the chocolate chips and press an indentation into each dollop of dough before baking. Spoon in a good, organic, seedless raspberry jam and bake as directed. Obviously you can use any kind of jam you like, but I think raspberry tastes the best with this dough.
Coconut Cookies—Same thing, but leave out the chocolate chips and add 1/2 tsp coconut extract, plus 1/2 Cup of shredded, sweetened coconut. If the dough looks too dry after adding the coconut, just add in a splash more of coconut milk to bind it more. Chopped, dried pineapple would be a fantastic addition, as well as some chopped macadamia nuts.
Almond Cookies—Leave out the chocolate chips. Substitute softened vegan margarine for the coconut oil and sub almond milk for the coconut milk. Add 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 cup of toasted, slivered almonds. This is my favorite variation. It tastes like amaretto, which is my favorite and these are delightful dipped into a nice soy or almond milk latte.
Chocolate Chocolate Chippers—Take the original dough recipe and add 2 Tbs of cocoa powder. If this makes your dough too crumbly just add in a splash more of the coconut milk and a spoonful of coconut oil to bind it.
Chocolate Mint Cookies—Use the Chocolate Chocolate Chipper variation above and add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. If you can find vegan mint chocolate chips, use these instead of plain chocolate chips for even more minty goodness.
Rocky Road Cookies—Use the Chocolate Chocolate Chipper variation and add to it 1/2 Cup vegan mini-marshmallows and 1/4 Cup or so (you can eyeball it) chopped walnuts.
Cookie Dough Truffles—Use any of the above variations and roll the dough into small, truffle-sized balls. Do not bake them. Chill on a parchment lined baking sheet and then dip into melted, vegan chocolate chips. Chill again until the chocolate is hardened and store in the fridge. This is my absolute favorite way to eat these cookies. Seriously, you will swoon with delight and since they’re vegan, you never have to worry about salmonella ruining your holiday because there’s no raw eggs in this cookie dough!
Now get to baking and Happy Holidays!
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant journal photo archives