I got around to baking cookies only this Saturday, a little over a week before Christmas, and I only managed to bake one kind before I ran out of flour. How's that for being unorganized?
The cookie, an almond shortbread, turned out great, however, so at least I had something to feel good about at the end of it all. Starting with a basic recipe, I veganized it with stuff I had on hand. I substituted the 16 tablespoons of butter that the recipe called for with 4 tbsp of zero-trans fat shortening (it has less saturated fat than butter and gives the cookies their yummy, crumbly texture), and 8 tbsp of canola oil which, of course, is heart-healthy.
Instead of the egg, I used two tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons of water to bind the ingredients. While I usually substitute eggs with flax seed powder in more robust sweets, cornstarch was perfect for these delicate cookies.
The end result was a fabulously crumbly, delicious cookie which didn't hurt any animals in its making.
Now, that's my kind of cookie.
2 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) zero-trans-fat vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp of cornstarch mixed well with 2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup almonds, powdered fine in a food processor or spice grinder
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening, canola oil and sugar together until light and white and fluffy
Add the cornstarch-water mixture, baking powder, salt, almond extract and blend well until mixture is smooth.
Add flour and almond powder and mix. The dough will be a bit soft and sticky.
Roll into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place on a greased cookie sheet, one inch apart. Press down slightly to form discs.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking. Place the baking sheet on a rack and let the cookies cool completely before removing them gently with a ladle.
Update: I baked these again for a cookie contest at work, this time as orange thumbprint cookies. When I put them on the cookie sheet, I made a thumbprint impression in the center of each cookie. Once baked, I filled each indentation with a dollop of orange marmalade.
Cookies are one of the easiest treats to veganize. Look at my Vegan Substitutes page above for ideas on substituting eggs in cookies and other baked goods. And for another delicious, almondy cookie, try my vegan Amaretti Cookies.