Updated: Feb 3, 2021
I’ve never been a fan of store bought sugar cookies. Of course they’re great when you’re in a pinch and have an upcoming party. But for me, it’s never quite held up to the taste of homemade sugar cookies.
You know the kind I’m talking about, they’re warm and soft with just the right amount of sugar. Or maybe you like the kind that have crispy edges but the center melts in your mouth.Thats the kind I’m longing for this holiday season and so I decided to make some. Of course, they are allergy-friendly and vegan. I even threw in some dye-free colored sugar crystals.
So let's get started. If you haven't made our other cookie recipes yet, please make sure you read the next part. Know what to do? Feel free to skip ahead.
BEFORE YOU START...
Before you get started, make sure you have all your tools of the trade ready to go. Pull out your cookie cutters, clean off your rolling pin, and clear a space in the kitchen that you can use. I recommend washing your cookie cutters and baking equipment the night before so your items have time to get fully dry before you use them on your cookie dough. Nothing is worse than getting ready to cut out your cookies and finding a huge glob of water come out and ruin everything!
Other items you will want to make sure you have if you don’t already are a standing mixer with paddle attachment, rubber tip flat spatulas, parchment paper, a large mixing bowl, baking sheets, and a rolling pin.
If you’ve never heard of aquafaba before, don’t run away! When you view vegan recipes and it calls for this item you need look no further than a can of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). The liquid from these beans can be used as a substitute for eggs in baking and yields amazing results! If you have extra liquid leftover, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
OK. Time to get down to the nitty gritty!
Use a medium bowl to combine flour, baking powder,and salt. Whisk together until well mixed. Set aside. In a standing mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high until smooth.
Add aquafaba and vanilla to mixture and beat on medium until fluffy, about 2 minutes. If you're not sure what aquafaba is or how to make it, scroll back up to the "Before you start" section. When the mixer is stopped, use your rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl any batter that may not have blended well. Blend again for 1 minute.
Slowly pour in dry ingredients while mixer continues to blend on medium, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Your dough is ready when it is slightly moist, but not sticky or wet. Note: If your dough is too wet, add flour 1/2 cup at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
Using your fingers, roll the dough into one big ball. Divide ball into 2 equal pieces. Roll out one ball of dough ¼ thick on the surface using your rolling pin. Transfer to parchment paper and set aside. Repeat process for the second ball of dough. Place a piece of transfer paper over 1st piece of dough and stack 2nd piece of dough on top. Cover and wrap dough with plastic wrap Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to work with your dough, you can roll it out onto a floured surface. I prefer to put down a piece of parchment paper so that transfers and clean up are easy
Try to roll it out in even strokes on each side but, don't worry if it all goes in different directions. You’re going to be cutting and re-rolling the dough multiple times so perfect is not what we’re going for here. What we are going for is spreading it no more than 1-inch thick. When the cookies rise in the oven, they will puff up a little as they take shape.
Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper and place cut out shapes on baking sheets about 1 inch apart. As you go, re-roll scraps together and roll back out onto floured surface until all dough has been used.
If dough begins to get to sticky, it may be too warm, place in freezer for 15 mins then continue working with dough.
Place your cut out cookies onto a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper and space them about 2-inches apart (think of it as socially distancing your cookies). Place baking sheet in pre-heated oven at 375° and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Dye Free Sugar Crystals
1 cup organic cane sugar
Dye free natural food coloring
1-2 tbsps vegan butter
For this part while you can make food coloring at home, I chose to buy mine from a brand called Chefmasters. Making homemade food coloring is easy, but extremely time consuming so perhaps we’ll cover that another time. For now, we’ll use these and in the photos you see, I specifically worked with green, red, purple, and pink.
In a small bowl, pour 1 cup or sugar. Set aside. Put 2 drops of your food coloring choice in a teaspoon. Add 1 drop of water to this mixture.
The way I do this is to literally turn my faucet on drip and do a quick in and out with my teaspoon. I caution you to make sure you only use one drop. Otherwise you will need to add more food coloring and you run the risk of your coloring being too runny. What happens when your coloring gets too runny? You will end up with a bunch of wet, lumpy sugar crystals.
But if I’m telling you what happens when you have too much water, I guess it’s only fair to mention what happens if you don’t put any water. Will it still work? Yes. But, because you’re using natural coloring and organic sugar, it might get a little sticky and clumpy and you may have difficulty getting the color to fully mix.
To blend the color in, you can use a fork and begin stirring and sifting through the fork prongs. Use the fork to break up any lumps of food coloring you see. Once the color is fully mixed, your crystals are done!
Next, you can take the butter and put it in an oven safe dish (or microwave if you have one). Set the oven to 175°. Once the oven heats up, put the butter in and allow the butter to heat for about 5 minutes but no more than 10.
Remove the butter from the oven and, using your pastry brush spread the butter on top of your cookies. Then immediately sprinkle with sugar crystals. And that's it, you're done; have fun decorating!