So. I’ve been busy…again. More like extremely tired on Monday after all the holiday chaos and didn’t feel like doing much of anything except watching Lily play with her new toys, which she actually did very little of. The child got plenty of new toys- puzzles, dolls, books, Radio Flyer Inchworm among them –yet she preferred to hang on Mommy and/or climb all over the furniture instead. Actually, she did quite enjoy the stickers Grandma got her, although she needed Mommy to peel them off their paper backing so she could make a huge sticker mess with them. At least it kept her busy for a while.
OK, enough venting. Let’s get down to the healthy, animal product-free recipe I was supposed to post on Monday. I made these dairy- and egg-free cookies because my niece is allergic to eggs and one of my BFFs is lactose-intolerant. Plus, I never made a successful batch of vegan cookies and I wanted to give it a go again. The first time around this time, they didn’t turn out so hot; the dough came out really wet and additionally I added food coloring (plant-derived, of course), which made them brown instead of red and pale green instead of dark green. That’s the problem with natural food coloring- it doesn’t last long and it takes a lot of food coloring to get it to the color you want. It worked well with the frosting I made for Lily’s birthday cake earlier this year, but not so much for cookie dough. Oh well, live and learn.
Anyhoo, the second attempt came out much better, although I will admit I am not completely satisfied, only because I wanted them to taste the same as cookies that are made with butter and eggs. I was told that that may not be possible since those flavors simply cannot be replaced with substitutes of margarine and almond milk. Paul liked them and so did my niece, however. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to deliver them to my BFF since she had to work on Christmas when I had originally planned on giving them to her, but I think she will be happy enough just to be able to eat a cookie again (her dairy intolerance is a recent development).
Vegan Sugar Cookies
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup margarine or other dairy-free spread
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl then set aside. In a different bowl, cream the margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and then the almond milk until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the almond milk and margarine mixture until dough is formed. Divide dough in half, then press onto separate plates like thick discs and refrigerate until dough hardens. This dough is extremely soft with the almond milk in it, and I found it best to refrigerate over night. If you have time to make ahead, I recommend doing so, otherwise keep it cold for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees then get the dough out. If you want to cut into shapes, lightly flour a cutting board and roll the dough out to about ¼” thick. Cut your shapes out then transfer them to ungreased cookie sheets or silicone baking mat. I have never had luck with cutting shapes out of cookie dough, and with this dough being softer than usual, I had no luck this time either, but if you want to take a chance and you do have the skills, go ahead! I ended up just rolling the ball into little 1” balls and placing them on the baking sheets, then flattened them into discs and topped them with red sugar sprinkles. Stick in the oven on center rack for 10-12 minutes until golden and lightly browned on edges.
Once the first half of the dough is in, you can bring out the second and get it ready to put in the oven if you had enough baking sheets; otherwise, wait until the first batch is out and cooled, then reuse the same sheets after rinsing. Once all the cookies are made- and you should have about 4 dozen with this recipe –allow them to cool for at least half an hour before decorating if you plan to do so. The blog where I got the recipe I based this off of included an egg-free icing recipe you can try too. Let me know how it goes!
I hope to one day be better at making shapes and decorating cookies and cakes and such. For now, a smidgen of colored sprinkles is what you get out of me.
Food allergies are weird to me since I don’t have any. Actually, I do get queasy from shell fish like clams and mussels, and I am told that counts as an allergic reaction, but my upset stomach is far from life-threatening like some allergic reactions can be. I had a friend who couldn’t even be within a few feet of peanuts or he’d start to get red and swollen-looking, and I had another friend who after taking one bite out of a fallafel wrap for the first time- and being unaware that it contained her nemesis chick peas, had her face blow up like a balloon in a matter of seconds. I often ponder (well, maybe not often) why certain people have food allergies. Why would nature cause this, and why only in certain people and with certain foods? Is it something genetic? Something inherited from our mother’s diet while we were in the womb? To me, it’s just so odd to think that food that is otherwise harmless and nutritious could cause a fatal reaction in someone. Do you have a food allergy or know someone who does? How do you/they deal with it? Is it a severe allergy, or just a mild one?
Note that I used almond milk in this recipe, but you can use any lactose-free alternative, such as soymilk, rice milk or simply lactose-free cow’s milk. I always thought that was weird too, but I’m not going to get into that one right now. Seeing as how this is an allergy specific recipe, it’s possible the person you’d bake them for is allergic to almonds if they have a nut allergy, so make sure you know ahead of time.
Speaking of almond milk, almond milk is awesome. I don’t drink any other kind of milk as long as I have a choice anymore. It tastes so delicious and is really good for you. I fondly remember the first time I tried it and I recall giving quite the reaction of being pleasantly surprised. I had no idea it would taste so rich and creamy, unlike soy and rice milk, which I generally find bland and watery, especially now that I’ve tried almond milk.
Almonds are full of nutrients like manganese, vitamin E, and copper, to name a few. They are especially good at helping to lower your cholesterol for a healthy heart, as all nuts do, but almonds contain an especially high amount of magnesium and vitamin E that aid in doing so. They offer, according to WHFoods.com, “double-barreled protection against diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” They are also good at helping you lose weight with their healthy fats, help prevent gallstones, and provide you with extra energy. Almonds do all this and more, so click a link to read all about the awesomeness of almonds!
As you may have already guessed, these cookies are totally kid and toddler friendly :)