I’ve been baking up a vegan cookie storm this holiday season! Maybe it’s just me and my personal qualm with the commercialism and consumerism of Christmas and the holidays, but I’ve decided that baked goods make the perfect present! So, instead of buying expensive and/or useless gifts for people, I’ve been baking all week delicious vegan goodies! Baking presents for people is great for a few reasons (other than the fact that it’s delicious!): 1) it’s relatively inexpensive, 2) you get to put your heart into something homemade for others, and, most importantly, 3) you can open up your (maybe omnivorous) friends to the possibilities of delicious vegan baking! I’ll be darned if you don’t get at least one person asking you for recipes…
Peanut Butter Agave Cookies
This recipe is adapted from the amazing Isa’s Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. If you don’t have this book, pick it up. Some of my favourite recipes come from here! This recipe is great because it is not only deliciously vegan, but also kind of good for you, free of refined sugars, and easily soy-free!
Yield: 2-3 dozen
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 brown rice syrup – if you don’t have any, you can use maple syrup as well
2 tsp molasses (optional-I like the flavor it gives with the peanut butter)
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup chunky salted* peanut butter
2 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk (my favourite is almond!)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract or more vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (add more if your peanut butter isn’t salted*)
Chocolate Chips (optional)
Preheat oven at 325 degrees and line your baking sheet with foil or wax paper. Lining your sheet makes it much easier to bake a large amount of cookies and minimizes cleaning (and who doesn’t love that?).
In a large bowl, mix together the agave, brown rice syrup, oil, peanut butter, milk, flax, and extracts until smooth (about 3 minutes). Sift in the rest of the ingredients, and mix to form a soft gooey dough.
Drop the cookie dough onto the lined sheets by tablespoon-fuls, about 1-2 inches apart. (I like to use a mini-ice cream scoop, it makes the process go much faster. It also helps sometimes if you grease your tablespoon or scoop so that the dough doesn’t stick to the spoon too much.)
Bake for about six minutes. They should look puffy and undercooked. Pull the sheet out and make little crosshatches with a fork. You can then put some chocolate chips in the middle like I did. Put the cookies back in the oven for another 1-2 minutes, or until desired. (I like my cookies soft and underbaked, so I only baked them a little longer.)
Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. (This is where lining really helps; you can just pick up the whole sheet of foil or wax paper and move it to the wire rack and lay down a new sheet.) Eat and enjoy, and if there’s any left, store them in an airtight container. My fellow chef Melanie taught me a neat trick that if you put a slice of bread at the bottom of the container, the cookies stay moist and soft for longer.
Vegan No-Bake Chocolate-Nut Butter Cookies
This recipe is based on a non-vegan recipe I got from my mother’s boyfriend shortly after I went vegan. I converted it to be vegan and have been perfecting it ever since. These are also my roommate Andrew’s favourite cookies. I have to be careful if I ever make them while he’s around, because he will eat them all.
Yield: 2-3 dozen
1/2 cup earth balance vegan butter — you can also use 1/3 cup vegetable oil, but the earth balance gives it a better consistency
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (chocolate almond is delicious in this recipe!)
1 pinch of salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup chunky almond butter (or more peanut butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats–this is a guess, as I never measure the oats. I simply pour until it has the right consistency; it should be moist enough that all of the oats are coated, but not so moist that it can’t hold any shape.
powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add sugar, cocoa, milk, and salt.
Bring to a medium boil, stirring occassionally. Cook 1-2 minutes.
Lower heat and stir in the peanut & almond butter. Add vanilla and stir.
Turn off heat, add oats, and stir. Drop by rounded tablespoon-fuls onto wax paper (it helps if you have this already set up. You need to work fast as the cookies will start to cool and harden).
Allow cookies to cool. To add a more festive touch, sprinkle with powdered sugar!
This is a slightly modified version of a recipe I got from someone a while ago. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who… all I remember is never liking ginger snaps until I had this cookie, and begging for the recipe. If this is your recipe, please claim it so I can give you proper credit! We use a banana in place of eggs in the recipe, and it gives such a fluffy soft texture that is simply wonderful.
3/4 cup earth balance vegan butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup mashed banana (approximately 1/2 banana)
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets.
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add banana and molasses, stir. Stir in flour, baking soda, and spices. I love spices and doubled the amount of the original recipe, but if you are not so much of a fan, you can half the spices.
Drop by tbsp-fuls onto lined sheets. Bake 6-8 minutes or until soft and slightly puffed. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
Variations: Peppermint, Peanut Butter
Okay, so fudge isn’t a cookie, but it is perfect for holiday times, not to mention delicious! It is also very easy to make variations on this recipe, including peppermint and peanut butter (shown above).
6 tbsp earth balance vegan butter
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
pinch cinnamon and cloves (optional)
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
You can use a double-boiler for this, or you can just use a saucepan on low heat. Melt the butter, add milk. Stir in the cocoa powder. Add molasses, vanilla, and spices, if wanted.
For peanut butter fudge, stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter.
For peppermint fudge, add 1-2 tsp mint extract. You can also mix in peppermint candies; for a finer texture, put candies in a food processor or blender (I use my magic bullet), or, for a chunker texture, simply put candies in a heavy duty plastic bag and hit with a hammer (this is also very fun). You can stir the candies into the fudge or sprinkle them on top.
Stir in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
Now you have to work quickly because the fudge will cool very fast after you remove it from the heat. For a single batch, use an 8×4 bread pan. For a double batch (pictured), you can use a larger pan (mine is approximately 8×11). Grease your pan well, and quickly scoop the fudge into the pan, spreading evenly.
Have your decorations ready and work quickly. I used some melted peanut butter for the peanut butter fudge. For the peppermint fudge, I used hammer-crushed peppermint candies and green sugar sprinkles. Put in the fridge and let harden.