I was fortunate enough to find a blog in my early vegan days that features what is still my go-to holiday cookie recipe. Sugar cookies that are soft, decadent, and offer the perfect hint of almond that has everyone who tries them telling me they are the best cookies that they have ever tasted. Thanks to this recipe, I've never understood why some people have the impression that baking without eggs or dairy somehow compromises the final product. Does that sound like something you would say? Stop reading now, go make some, fill your lying mouth with cookies and never speak such a thing again.
This was a lucky holiday season where Jonas and I had three opportunities to make perfect vegan sugar cookies, each batch more incredible than the one before it. We spent the first part of December in the Seattle area hanging out with our pal Jules, who is two days younger than Jonas and has also been vegan his entire life. The whole trip was a blast already, but our timing ended up as such that we were able to attend the Seattle Vegan Families holiday cookie swap. Before going to this event I was unaware of what a cookie swap even was, but now that I know I can tell you no holiday season will ever feel complete without one again. If you aren’t sure what a cookie swap is, here’s a breakdown:
Each baker makes one kind of cookie, totaling one dozen for each other baker's family to take home, and a few extra to sample at the party. Our host family made a cookie decorating station that the kids loved, and a recipe booklet so everyone could recreate any cookies they enjoyed. The best part? I went home with a tray of 8 dozen cookies, all unique and vegan!
'Tis the season for colds and flu so as the event got closer people were dropping off and I ended up making about 11 dozen cookies, which is way more than I’ve ever baked at one time and they were smaller and a little crunchier than usual. I still received great feedback on the recipe, securing its position in my forever cookie rotation. My favorite cookies at the party were Mexican wedding cakes and chewy lemon frosties, but there were so many great options! Jonas and Jules got a little bit too used to having a big box of cookies around and even days after I hid them they were still asking for cookies at every meal.
Mexican Wedding Cakes Recipe
3 dozen cookies
- 1 cup vegan butter, chilled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cup flour
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- powdered sugar for coating
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, cream vegan butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and flour and work into butter mixture until a stiff dough has formed. Fold in walnuts. Shape into 1" balls. Bake 2″ apart for 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet; allow to cool for several minutes. When they’re still slightly warm to the touch, roll in powdered sugar. If they’re too hot, the sugar will melt, but if they’re completely cooled, it won’t stick as nicely. Allow to cool fully before storing in an air-tight container. Refrigerate until serving. If desired, roll in powdered sugar again right before
Jonas kept asking to go back to the cookie party so once we were home he chose a few of his friends to invite over to decorate cookies at our house. We baked this chocolate cookie recipe and changed it a bit to add black bean aquafaba and peppermint, then topped it with crushed candy canes we found on clearance at Fred Meyer. We baked another batch of the perfect vegan sugar cookies and cut out a variety of shapes, made a few colors of frosting, and set up a topping bar including sprinkles, candy, and these amazing quinoa gems we found out about from our friends Darcy and Tzivia during the cookie swap. The set-up was pretty simple and the kids had an absolutely amazing time kicking off Christmas weekend!
For our Christmas festivities at home we baked cookies and listened to holiday music while building Jonas’ present, a colorful play kitchen that he was delighted to receive. We took the cookies as a present to Auntie’s house near Seattle and flew to Denver for the family holiday party to see all of Jonas’ cousins. The holiday party is always this beautiful whirlwind of everyone coming together, snowball fights, gift games, and a little bit of talk about God and aliens. I treasure with gratitude that Jonas gets to grow up in this community. We hope that you made wonderful memories with your family this holiday season and would love for you to share your favorite cookie recipes with us!
All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2017