vegan maple spice cookies


It's Thanksgiving week! Which when you're responsible for the cooking of Thanksgiving dinner (all vegan, dessert included, thank you very much) is a week of shopping and prepping and pre-making. Luckily, for my first go I'm only responsible for one other (cute) person other than myself, and Seymour will appropriately be eating turkey out of can.

It will be only the second Thanksgiving in my 28, almost 29, years of existence that I don't spend in New Jersey, which is weird and sad and lots of other things that are hard to explain. So instead of going down that road, here's photo-evidence of the only other Thanksgiving I spent away in blindingly sunny Los Angeles surrounded by a group of friends also too strapped to fly home. Is it just me or are Thanksgiving and Christmas supposed to have a general gray overcast? That may just be my northeast experience chiming in.

And yes, that is a larger than life tub of margarine. Sorry, body. You were only 20, but damn you should have known better.

While I do plan on posting some Thanksgiving recipes (post-holiday, with a time lapse video in the works), right now I'm going to share with you a recipe that I've entered in Earth Balance's 2015 Holiday Bake-Off (vote for me here!) and one that you can make and share with your guests or family this coming Thursday. And yes, they are vegan, but your non-vegan partakers will be none the wiser.

For this recipe, you'll need:

For the cookies:

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (in keeping with the contest: Earth Balance!)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (either dark or amber is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 2 1/2 tablespoons of water)
2 cups of all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out cookies
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the maple glaze:

1 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup (again, either color)
1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Toasted pecans (one for each cookie: whole looks prettiest, but we don't discriminate)

To start, in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat together your butter, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla on medium speed. Once combined, add your flax egg and beat for 30 seconds more.

In a separate large bowl, add your flour, spices, baking powder and salt. Whisk together until evenly combined. Turn your mixer down to a low speed, switch to the paddle attachment and gradually add your flour mixture to your wet ingredients in 1/2 cup increments. Mix until the dough appears uniform. Divide your dough into two discs. Wrap well in plastic and store in the fridge for one hour or up to overnight.

When you're ready to shape your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a clean work surface, dust the counter with flour and roll out your dough (one disc at a time) until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut using your desired cookie cutter shapes. Transfer them to parchment lined baking sheets, about one inch apart from each other, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown at the edges.

Transfer to cooling racks while you make the glaze. Pretty much just whisk everything up in a small bowl. What you're looking for in consistency is thick and smooth (sifting the powdered sugar may help with this) but still spreadable.

When your cookies are nearly all the way cool, you can either dip them face down in the glaze or use a knife (or a combo of both, like I did). Top each cookie with a toasted pecan in the center. And ta-da! The prettiest vegan cookies you've ever seen that no one will know are vegan.

Might make a good take along to a Christmas party, too!

So you dig the maple?