Every year, the team heads over to Annmarie and Kevin’s house to make and decorate cookies for our team holiday party. We, of course, consider this one of the most important meetings of the year because it turns out cookie making is an awesome team building exercise.
This year we made a few different cookies including, gingerbread, vegan sugar cookies, coconut macaroons, and gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip. Making and decorating four different types of cookies simultaneously with one oven means that we have to work together to find a balance between time and space management, delegation of tasks, and staying focused on cookie sheet rotation. It’s a challenge that we have a great time rising to and, as per usual, laugh through.
This year, we did have a bit of a run-in when a group of use was painstakingly decorating and we asked another team member to choose her favorite cookie. Friendly competition ensued.
Of course, all of the cookies were equally beautiful and totally delicious but here are a couple of the recipes that were so good they almost didn’t make it to the party.
Vegan Sugar Cookies
Michon may have stolen the show with this vegan sugar cookie recipe from Minimalist Baker. We were all in love with the perfect little dollop cookies that came out (pictured above.) It’s a simple recipe but wow does it turn out some impressively soft and delicious cookies.
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 55 mins
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), softened (to speed softening, see note)
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar + more for topping
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree* (acts as egg substitute | sub with unsweetened applesauce with varied
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + more for rolling into shapes
- 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder (for thickening/binding)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
- Splash non-dairy milk
- Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer.
- Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and beat for 1 minute.
- Mix dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder) into a small bowl.
- Sift over butter and sugar. Mix until incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
- Add almond milk and mix until a soft dough is formed. Switch to a wooden spoon if it gets too thick. If it appears too wet, mix in a bit more flour.
- Cover and freeze dough for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30-45 minutes (up to overnight).
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven.
- Scoop out heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of chilled dough and roll into balls.
- Alternatively, roll out between two pieces of wax paper, lightly flouring the bottom layer, remove top layer, and cut out shapes. (NOTE: For shapes, to ensure they keep their form while baking, freeze them on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking.)
- Arrange cookies on a clean baking sheet 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. If you’ve rolled the dough into balls, dip a glass into cane sugar and gently smash down into a disc to help them cook more evenly.
- Bake on the center rack for 10-12 minutes for (8-10 for cutout shapes), or very slightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let rest on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Prepare frosting in the meantime.
- Wipe/rinse your mixing bowl clean and add softened butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Then add vanilla (optional) and mix once more.
- Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and continue mixing until thick and creamy. Drizzle in a little non-dairy milk to thin. You want this frosting to be pretty thick so it will hold its shape once on the cookies, so only add a little milk and add more powdered sugar if it gets too thin.
- To add natural food coloring, finely grate a raw beet into a clean dish towel and then squeeze it over the frosting and whisk.
- Once cooled, frost cookies and top with sprinkles (optional – vegan ones can be difficult to find). Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to a few days. Freeze for longer-term storage (up to several weeks.)
Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroons
Lisa came through too with these awesome macaroons. She pulled the recipe from Cookus Interruptus and we thought it was the bomb dot com!
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins
- 2 – 2 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup honey or brown rice syrup
- 2 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (baking chocolate)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly oil a glass measuring cup to measure honey or rice syrup (the brown rice syrup will yield a slightly less sweet macaroon). Place sweetener in a pan over low heat until it begins to loosen.
- Add coconut and egg white.
- Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until it begins to collect (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in extracts. Let mixture rest until cool enough to touch.
With moist hands, make small rounded mounds and place them side by side on the cookie sheet (they will not spread.)
- Bake about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool to room temperature on cookie sheet.
- Chop up the chocolate into small pieces. Put 3/4 of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is at about 110 degrees (just barely too hot to touch). Remove from heat. Stir in remaining chocolate. This will temper the chocolate.
- Pour chocolate over the top of each macaroon. Let chocolate set until firm before serving. This will take about 1 hour at room temperature. Refrigeration will hasten this process.
Do you have a favorite cookie recipe for the holidays? Share in the comments!