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6 Vegan Cookies to Celebrate the Holidays

Smart Cookies

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Being vegan does not mean being left out of the office cookie swap. There are so many twists that you can take on scrumptious cookie recipes to make them vegan, oil-free, or just plain old healthier. Coconut sugar is low on the glycemic index, has high levels of micro-nutrients, and is a great sugar alternative; when puréed with nut or seed butter, dates make a mouthwatering caramel; and flaxseed meal mixed with water or applesauce is an excellent way to bind baked goods without eggs. I have yet to meet anyone—vegan or not—who didn’t want to devour all of these holiday cookies.

No-Bake Dark Chocolate Caramel Bites with Sea Salt

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Makes: 18 cookies

Ingredients:

7 ounces dates

1 tablespoon tahini

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Sea salt, for garnish

Directions:

1. Purée dates and tahini in a blender for about a minute, then freeze mixture for 15 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Measure out mixture by the teaspoon, roll, flatten to quarter-size bites, and lay on the prepared sheet.

2. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler, stirring frequently. (If you don’t have a double boiler, place a stainless-steel bowl on top of a pot of boiling water so that the bowl rests in the water but doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, and melt the ingredients in the bowl.) Using a fork, dip cookies into chocolate to lightly coat and return to the cookie sheet.

3. When all cookies are coated, lightly dust with sea salt to taste. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes, then move to the refrigerator. Serve cold, or at room temperature if you prefer them softer, but store in the refrigerator.

Oil-Free Spiced OatmealRaisin Cookies

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Makes: 18 cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 teaspoon flaxseed meal

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup vegan white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine applesauce and flaxseed meal and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a hand mixer, beat applesauce mixture and sugars until fluffy. Mix in vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Gradually add to wet ingredients, mixing well for about 3 minutes. Using a large mixing spoon, stir in oats and raisins until evenly distributed.

4. Drop by heaping tablespoon onto the cookie sheet about 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Makes: 12 to 16 cookies

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup vegan white sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon vegan butterscotch extract

1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 cup spelt flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream coconut oil and both sugars using a hand mixer until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla, butterscotch extract, and egg replacer mixture until light and fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

3. Drop by heaping tablespoon (or up to 1/4 cup if you prefer larger cookies) onto the cookie sheet about 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Place baking sheets on a wire cooling rack for a few minutes, then transfer cookies onto the wire racks to cool completely.

Nutty Pecan Balls

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Makes: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup creamy almond butter (or any other nut butter)

1 cup spelt flour (or almond flour)

3/4 cup coconut oil

3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or vegan white sugar)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegan powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Using a hand mixer, combine all ingredients except powdered sugar in a large bowl until well blended. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into golf-ball sized balls and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. When cool, roll in powdered sugar.

Thumbprint Cookies

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Makes: 18 cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup spelt flour (or almond flour)

Jam of your choice

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, cream coconut oil and sugar. Add vanilla and egg replacer mixture and mix until fluffy. Slowly mix in flour until well blended and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours.

2 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line cookie sheets with wax paper. Working with a teaspoon at a time, roll dough into balls and place on the cookie sheet, making an indent with your thumb in the center of each ball. Fill indents with 1/2 teaspoon (or more if desired) jam. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

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Makes: 18 to 24 cookies

Ingredients:

Cookies:

1 teaspoon unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 teaspoons flaxseed meal

3/4 cup coconut oil

3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Chocolate coating:

2 cups vegan chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Crushed vegan candy canes, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Combine applesauce and flaxseed meal in a bowl, then add coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Blend until smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually add dry ingredients, continuing to blend for another 3 minutes. Drop by the small spoonful onto the cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

2. To make mint-chocolate coating, place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler, stirring frequently until melted. (If you don’t have a double boiler, place a stainless-steel bowl on top of a pot of boiling water so that the bowl rests in the water but doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, and melt the ingredients in the bowl.) Add peppermint extract and stir.

3. Line another cookie sheet with wax paper. Using a fork, dip cookies into chocolate to coat thoroughly, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Place cookies on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with crushed candy canes, and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chocolate is completely dry. Store in the refrigerator.