I bake a lot of vegan baked goods for Thistle’s bakeshop. I’m asked a lot about vegan baking substitutions, particularly egg substitutes. I thought I’d share a very simple recipe for vegan sugar cookies, one that we use in the bakery often. I’ve shared this recipe with customers who have asked for help and with Food52 hotliners in need. It only seems fair that I should pass it along to you.
Let me preface this recipe: you cannot always make a substitution. There are some baked goods- like French Madeleines or meringue cookies that rely too heavily on eggs to make a proper substitute. You can certainly make a beautiful pastry in the shape of a madelieine, but it is nigh impossible to achieve the light, fluffy texture without eggs and butter. Eggs are somewhat magical in baking. They can function as a liquid, a fat, a binder and even sometimes as a substitute for flour. To replace eggs, I often use a combination of hot water and ground flax seeds. Like eggs, flax seeds also contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids. They also get nice and goopy when mixed with hot water, a desirable reaction when looking for an egg substitute. Fruit puree will work in some instances, as will a combination of fruit puree and flax or fruit puree and maple syrup. Some also recommend a combination of water, ground flax and nut butter. In these cookies, I have stuck with flax, as it does not interfere with the taste of the cookie in anyway.
Vegan Soft Sugar Cookies
2/3 cup shortening, all-vegtetable, non-hydrogenated. I use spectrum brand. You can use either the “buttery” shortening or the unflavored. I tend to use unflavored, as I find the buttery a bit salty.
2/3 cup room temp Vegan Baking sticks, get Earth Balance
1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice
3 tbspn very hot water
2 teaspoon ground golden flax seed*
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups AP flour
In a small bowl, combine the water, flax seeds, and vanilla. Allow to sit while you are assembling the rest of the ingredients.
Cream the shortening, sugar and the vegan sticks together in an electric mixer on medium speed. I’d cream for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is very fluffy and the sugar granules are no longer visible. Add in the water & flax seed mixture. Cream until combined. It will looked curdled, that is ok.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt together. Turn the mixer off, and add the dry ingredients to the wet all at once. Mix on low speed until it starts to form clumps and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Do not mix beyond this point.
Shape into balls and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 for drop cookies. For roll out, refrigerate for at least four hours. Work quickly while rolling, the dough will become very sticky, very quickly. Depending on size of the roll out, bake for 6-8 minutes at 350.
*This will affect the color of the cookies a little, which is why I recommend golden flax over chia seeds or brown flax. I always ice the cookies, to enhance their appearance. Either with a simple glaze, or with vegan buttercream.