Looking for a little holiday cheer? Try these vegan cookies and maybe make a batch for a neighbor who could use some joy and light.
Usually, by November, I’m just gushing gratitude for all the gifts in my life and bubbly about the whole holiday season. This year, not so much. 2020’s been heavy lifting for all of us. A walk around the neighborhood turned me around, seeing everyone determined to deck the halls and honor the spirit of the season. Twinkling lights are inviting, but the human impulse to rise above and wrest some joy out of a largely joyless year even while wearing masks and social distancing is flat-out inspiring.
Even parted from the people we love, connecting with family holiday traditions brings a little centering and sweetness. What are your holiday traditions? How will the pandemic impact them?
I’m glad to share these vegan cookies from my great-great-great-great grand aunt Minnie (made plant-based by me with help from aquafaba and Miyoko’s vegan butter). Enjoy. And maybe eat something green, too. You know how I worry.
Minnie’s Cookies, Vegan Edition
- 1 pound vegan butter*
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons aquafaba**
- 4-1/2 cups flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- seedless raspberry jam and/or apricot jam for filling cookies
- Using a standing mixer, beat together vegan butter and sugar for a few minutes, until pale, light and fluffy.
- Add aquafaba and vanilla, and gently, slowly mix in flour. Resist the urge to overbeat. Once everything comes together, boom, you’re done.
- Wrap dough well. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours or up to two days.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Or you may lightly oil it.
- Pinch off a walnut-sized piece of dough. Roll into a ball. Place balls 2 inches apart.
- Create a small well at the center of each cookie. They may be called thumbprint cookies, but I bet Minnie’s is the only thumb that was small enough for the job. I use my pinkie finger, or sometimes, the well-washed cap end of a felt-tip pen.
- With patience, add just a dab of jam, enough to fill the indentation, but no more. This is one instance in which being overgenerous does not end well, resulting in sloppy-looking product.
- I suppose you could use other fruit jams, but raspberry and apricot were Minnie’s choice and come on, I can only play around with tradition so much.
- Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies will still be pale and will emerge soft from the oven, but quickly firm up as they cool.
- Once they are good and cool, transfer cookies to a tin or other airtight container. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. They can also be frozen. Let them thaw and come back to room temperature before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if you want.