Baking is not one of my favorite activities. It takes a lot of planning, and unlike throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot, if I’m missing just one ingredient then my baking adventure is over before it even got a chance to start.
But! In my on-going quest to eat as environmentally friendly as possible, there is one vice I didn’t have the ability to kick – until now: Cookies. A cookie is my favorite way to end a meal. They’re portable, dunkable, and are available in oh so many varieties of deliciousness! However, I also am on tight money and time budgets, and tracking down fair-trade vanilla extract takes a lot of what I don’t have. So, after considerable trial and error, I’ve found a recipe that requires the bare minimum of perishable ingredients (meaning I can buy a lot at once and it can sit in my pantry until I need it). The only exceptions are the (soy)milk and lemon juice.
These cookies are very light and fluffy and can be a great place to start customizing your own perfect pantry-friendly dessert! I plan on adding ingredients like cocoa powder, instant coffee, citrus zest or dried fruit to this basic cookie recipe in the future.
Vegan Sugar Cookies: (yields 24 large cookies)
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment (or electric hand mixer – sorry, but these cookies just don’t come out the same when they’re not really well whipped), metal spatula, silicone spatula, measuring spoons, solid and liquid measuring cups, cookie sheet, Silpat (or greased parchment paper), large platter or cooling rack, oven
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup vegetable shortening (yeah, I didn’t say they were good for you)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup of milk or soy milk
- The juice from one lemon (at least 1-2 Tbsp)
- Raw sugar (for sprinkling)
- Preheat your oven to 425 F. Use the mixer to cream together the sugar and shortening on medium high. Add the lemon juice to the (soy)milk (this makes a buttermilk substitute that let’s us go totally vegan with this eggless, butterless recipe). Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add the lemon/milk mixture.
- Add the baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon to the mixer. Further reduce the mixer speed to low and add the AP flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the batter reaches a cake-batter like consistency (this batter is very sticky, but should look light almost like a meringue).
- Place your Silpat or greased parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Drop six generous spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time on an upper rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the sheet while still hot and let cool completely before eating.