Holiday Sugar Cookies

holiday sugar cookies

holiday sugar cookies

For someone who doesn’t have the patience for making roll-out cookies, I have been creating quite a few of them lately. Perhaps it’s my new fascination with shapes that cut cookies, from adorable cookie cutters to water glasses. Or maybe it’s just the season. Whatever the reason, I was excited to enter the #DecemberBakingChallenge at Handle the Heat and come up with a recipe that added a few of my tweaks.

For making vegan cookies, I used vegan buttery sticks for the butter and chose organic sugar. My egg substitute was non-dairy milk with white vinegar added. For the dryness at high altitude I added extra milk to this egg substitute. I draw the line at spending hours to decorate cookies, so if you feel the same way then use any decorations you can find. For me it was frosting and sparkling sugar and sprinkles, oh my!

Holiday Sugar Cookies adapted from Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies with Icing
5 TBS non-dairy milk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
3 sticks Earth Balance buttery sticks, at cool room temperature
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
icing, food coloring, etc., as desired
Combine non-dairy milk and white vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes to curdle. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat buttery sticks and sugar on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar-milk and vanilla and beat until combined. On low speed, slowly add in flour and baking powder and beat until incorporated. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Place one dough portion between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4” thickness. Repeat with remaining dough. Place sheets of dough, with their parchment paper, on a baking sheet and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheets with fresh parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove dough from fridge and cut into shapes, re-rolling any scraps and cutting more shapes. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets. If dough is too warm, freeze for 15 minutes or until firmed again. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are set and begin to brown. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. When fully cooled, decorate with icing, chocolate chips, colored sparkling sugar, or anything you like.

Until next time, happy baking!

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Gingerbread Cookies with Chocolate – Two Ways

gingerbread cookies with chocolate

gingerbread cookies with chocolate

It was time to choose a cookie to bake for Santa, so I asked my husband what he thought about gingerbread cookies. His reply: “They’re okay, if you can add chocolate to them.” So, my spin on the classic holiday cookie was born. And because I couldn’t decide, I added chocolate to part of the batch before they were baked and some cookies were sandwiched in chocolate after they cooled. They are delicious both ways.

Cookies require only a little adaptation for altitude. I added small amounts of flour and non-dairy milk and used less baking soda. For my taste buds I reduced the cinnamon so the spices wouldn’t overpower the chocolate. These cookies are about the gingerbread, but they are very much about the chocolate. Happy Holidays!

Gingerbread Cookies with Chocolate – Two Ways adapted from Food52
2.75 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup + 1 TBS almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vegan chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until uniform. If adding chocolate chips to dough, do so now. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight.
To bake, preheat oven to 350F. Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll dough out to a scant 1/4” thick. Cut into shapes, with some cookies having centers cut out if making sandwiches. Bake cookies for 12 minutes or, for cookies with chocolate chips, bake for 16 minutes. Let cool. For sandwich cookies, melt chocolate chips over a double boiler. Pair up cookies so each sandwich has a bottom cookie, without the center cut out, and a top cookie with a cutout. Take bottom cookie and flip it upside down so the flat side is facing up. Spoon melted chocolate into center of cookie and place match on top. Allow to cool. Repeat until all cookies have been sandwiched.

Until next time, happy baking!

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

Lately it has been too hot to turn on the oven, but I had to make something patriotic for this week’s American Independence Day. My search came up with a no cook cheesecake with wonderful ripe summer fruit. It sounded like a perfect way to celebrate without heating up the kitchen or myself.

The recipe was already vegan, so that box was checked off. No bake meant no high altitude changes. So, to put my spin on the recipe, I made it a bit healthier by replacing white sugar with dates and agave syrup. I also made it multi-layer and added blueberries for the blue. I know they can look more purple than blue when blended, so I kept the blue holiday theme by arranging blueberries on top in the shape of a star.

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake adapted from Raspberry Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake
2 cups plain, non-dairy yogurt
7 large dates
1.75 cups walnuts
1/4 cup agave syrup
1.5 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup + 10 fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, with extras for garnish
Place yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl. Let drain in fridge for 10 hours or overnight. Discard the strained liquid. Pour boiling water over dates and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and remove pits. Place dates in a food processor with walnuts. Mix until they come together in a sticky ball. Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8” springform pan. Place in refrigerator. In a bowl, stir together strained yogurt, agave, lemon juice and vanilla. Divide yogurt mixture into 3 equal portions and put each portion in its own bowl. Crush 1/2 cup of raspberries and stir into one of the bowls. Leave one bowl as is. Take the final bowl and put its contents in a blender. Blend with 1/2 cup of blueberries.
Slice the 10 raspberries. Remove crust from refrigerator and spoon in raspberry yogurt mixture. Scatter sliced raspberries over the top. Place cake in freezer for 10 minutes to help to keep the layers from blending together. Spoon in the plain layer. Place cake in freezer for 10 minutes. On the top, spoon in blueberry layer. Place remaining blueberries on top of cheesecake in a star pattern. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Until next time, happy non-baking!