Vegan Gingerbread Men and Cutout Sugar Cookies

Holiday cookie baking time has arrived! Many of you have probably already made your cookies, but I wanted to share what we made this year. Both of these recipes work well for using cookie cutters because they keep their shape and don’t spread out much while baking.

The gingerbread cookie recipe (aka Moravian Spice Cookies) was given to us by my Aunt, and it’s the recipe we used when I was growing up. The only non-vegan thing in the original recipe is butter, which is easily replaceable with Earth Balance vegan butter. The sugar cookie recipe came from King Arthur’s website. Both of these doughs have to refrigerate overnight, so make sure you plan ahead. The icing recipe originally came from Vegetation, but I found it on simply.food.

Ingredients for Gingerbread Men:
4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup softened vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup light molasses

Directions for Gingerbread Men:

  • Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, cream the brown sugar, vegan butter and molasses.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a wooden spoon and then mix it with your hands until well combined. Form the dough into two or three balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Once the dough is ready to use, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out one of the dough balls between parchment paper or wax paper until it’s between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Dipping the cutters in flour can help the shapes come out of the cutter easier and using a spatula to lift them onto the pan keeps them from breaking. Once your cookie pan is filled place the cookies back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. This keeps the cookies from spreading while baking. Then bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes until very lightly browned. Cool on a rack before moving to a plate.
  • Allow the pan to fully cool before putting more cookies on them. I placed the empty pans in the refrigerator for a few minutes in between batches. Allow the cookies to fully cool before decorating.

Ingredients for Sugar Cookies:

1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup + 2 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer powder mixed with 2 Tbsp water (equivalent to 1 egg)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Directions for Sugar Cookies:

  • Combine the sugar, vegan butter, egg replacer, salt, and extracts and beat until smooth.
  • Add the flour and mix until smooth. It will seem dry, but then should come together. If not, slowly add a tablespoon of water until it pulls together. When I made it, the dough was slightly dry, but it still turned out okay.
  • Divide the dough in two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
  • Once the dough is ready to use, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out one of the dough balls between parchment paper or wax paper until it’s between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Dipping the cutters in flour can help the shapes come out of the cutter easier and using a spatula to lift them onto the pan keeps them from breaking.
  • Once your cookie pan is filled place the cookies back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. This keeps the cookies from spreading while baking. Then bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until very lightly browned. Cool on a rack before moving to a plate.

Ingredients for Vegan Royal Icing:

3 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract

Directions for Vegan Royal Icing:

  • With a hand mixer, beat the water and egg replacer powder.
  • Add the cream of tartar, all three extracts, and 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Beat until smooth. The extracts help mask the flavor of the egg replacer powder and compliment the sugar cookies well.
  • Add in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until well combined. It will be very dry at this point. Add warm water a little at a time (usually about a teaspoon or so at a time) until it is the consistency desired. If you keep it firm, you can use it for icing designs using tips and pastry bags. I decided to water it down a bit more and use it like a glaze to coat the cookies. I am not very talented with icing however, so this was the easy option for me!

Merry Christmas! Mincemeat Recipe with Cup Conversions

Merry Christmas! Since I’ve had a few days off for the holidays, my sister and I had time to try out the mincemeat recipe from the Frugal Feeding blog that I posted a little while back. I realized that all the measurements are in grams. I decided to post the recipe with conversions to cup measurements since I’m guessing most of my readers are in the US. This should make it a little easier for you to try this recipe out!

Ingredients

3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup candied fruit peel
1/3 cup glace (candied) cherries
1 apple – chopped, leave peel on
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice (most similar to pumpkin pie spice in the US)

Directions

  • Finely chop all of the fruit.
  • Place the fruit in a mixing bowl and add the orange zest, lemon juice, sugar, and spices. Mix well. Add the brandy to taste. Use at least 4 tbsp, but you can use more if desired. The alcohol helps the mixture keep longer.
  • Cover the bowl and let it sit for 3 days, stirring each day so the fruit evenly absorbs all the alcohol. You then have mincemeat ready to become a pie! Ours still has one more day to soak, so we’ll be baking it tomorrow!

Holiday Recipe Ideas – Mashed Cauliflower

Everybody loves mashed potatoes, but why not try mixing it up every now and then? How about mashed cauliflower? I’ve been on a cauliflower kick recently. I’m not sure why, but I’m liking the recipes that are coming of it! This would make a perfect side dish for almost any holiday meal.

 

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp vegan butter
1/4 – 1/3 cup of bread crumbs
salt
pepper
garlic powder

Directions

  • Cut or break up the cauliflower into small – medium pieces. Steam the cauliflower until tender and mash-able.
  • Thinly slice the shallots and mince or press the garlic. Saute them in a little bit of olive oil.
  • Drain the water from the pot and put the cauliflower in the pot. Add the vegan butter and let it melt. Mash the cauliflower with a fork. I like to leave it a little bit chunky.
  • Stir in the breadcrumbs, shallots, and garlic. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas – Mom’s Stuffing Recipe

Here’s one more Thanksgiving recipe for you before the holiday, and it’s one of my very favorites. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my mom’s stuffing. This is the recipe my mom makes every year. Other holiday recipes may come and go, but this is one we can’t seem to be without on Thanksgiving.

I guess I lucked out growing up in a house where stuffing was always made from scratch. I don’t actually know if I’ve ever had stuffing from a box, but I know that’s how many people make it. I would definitely recommend making stuffing from scratch, but if you are set on making it from a mix, Whole Foods now sells a Vegan Stuffing Mix. I did buy one, but haven’t tried it out yet. But really, this recipe is so tasty and not very hard to make, so it’s worth the effort! Thanks Mom for sending me the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil plus more if needed
1 large loaf of white sandwich bread
1 carton of vegetable stock
salt
black pepper
dried thyme
dried sage
dried rosemary

Directions:

  • Rip up the loaf of bread into small pieces (roughly 1 inch or so).
  • Heat a very large skillet (cast iron or heavy weight stainless) to medium heat. Pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan (about 3 tbsp). Saute the onion and celery until the onion is slightly golden brown
  • Add half of the bread pieces, about 1/4 tsp salt, several grinds of black pepper, and 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, sage, and rosemary. Pour enough stock evenly over the bread to moisten the it, but not make it soggy (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups to start with). Stir until mixed well.
  • Add remaining bread cubes and mix well. Add more stock, a little at a time, until it is all blended and moist, but again not soggy. The stuffing will be in clumps, not sticky or wet.
  • Continue to brown the stuffing, adding a little more oil if necessary to keep it from sticking to the pan. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom and turn the stuffing to brown it some more. Taste and add more thyme, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper as needed. If it gets too dry, add more stock a little at a time.
  • The stuffing is finished when it’s browned and looks a little drier. You can serve it right away, or if you need to keep it warm, turn it into a casserole dish or baking pan. Cover it with a lid or foil and keep it in the oven to stay warm. If you make it ahead of time you can cool it and refrigerate it until you are ready to reheat. Reheat the stuffing in the oven with the cover or foil on until warm, then take the cover off and let the top brown a bit before serving.
  • If you want, you can use the leftover stock to make a vegan gravy to put on top of the stuffing. Mix a little bit of cornstarch or flour with cold water to dissolve it. Bring the stock to a boil and add the flour/cornstarch and water mixture until it reaches your desired thickness. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a minute or two.
  • Vegan Thanksgiving Idea – Side Dish – Cranberry Citrus Wild Rice

    Here’s another recipe for you to try at Thanksgiving. It’s one that vegans and non-vegans will both enjoy! I came up with this recipe after having something similar at the National Museum of the American Indian. They actually have a pretty good cafe called the Mitsitam Cafe. Mitsitam translates to “Let’s eat!” in the language of the Delaware and Piscataway natives. All the foods in the cafe are indigenous Native American foods from different regions. They even have a cookbook, though it’s not all vegan. If you ever go to the museum, you should stop by the cafe to try it out!

    Cranberry Citrus Wild Rice

    Ingredients

    6 cups of water
    pinch of salt
    1 1/2 cups of uncooked wild rice
    1 orange
    1 lemon
    3 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 green apple
    3/4 cup dried cranberries
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    dash of pumpkin pie spice

    Directions

    • Add a pinch of salt to the water and bring it to a boil. Add wild rice and cook for 45 minutes. All the water should be absorbed, but if there’s still some left you can drain it off. Stir the rice and place it in the fridge to cool down.
    • Zest the orange and the lemon and then juice them both. Add the zest to the juice. Stir in 3 Tbsp of brown sugar until it dissolves. You can use less if you want it less sweet. You can also substitute agave if you want. Set the mixture aside.
    • Chop the green apple into small chunks. You can peel it first if you want, but I don’t. I don’t mind the skin and it adds some color.
    • Once the rice is cool, add the juice and zest mixture, the apple chunks, and the dried cranberries. Add the cinnamon and just a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Stir well so the juice coats the rice and the spices are well distributed.
    • Transfer to a bowl for serving.

    Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas – Turkey Replacements

    With Thanksgiving only a week away it’s time for vegan Thanksgiving recipes! Thanksgiving can be a tricky holiday for vegans. I’m lucky to have a vegan friendly family and most of the food we make for the holiday is vegan. But more traditional Thanksgiving dinners aren’t usually particularly vegan friendly.

    Leading up to the holiday, I’m going to dedicate my next few blog posts to sharing some of my ideas about how to have a vegan Thanksgiving. If you need to bring a dish with you to a family dinner or if your relatives are asking what they can make you for Thanksgiving, try out some of these suggestions. Or, if you’re not vegan, but need to feed a vegan on Thanksgiving, you’ll know just what to make! I’m curious to hear about your Thanksgiving ideas and traditions as well. How do you celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving?

    Okay, let’s start with the Turkey. I don’t think you necessarily have to have a fake meat replacement for the turkey. It’s not my favorite part of the meal, and I wouldn’t miss it. But if you or your family want to have a vegan alternative to turkey, I would suggest the Celebration Roast by Field Roast.

    The Celebration Roast has a layer of vegan roast/meat with stuffing in the middle made with butternut squash, apples, and mushrooms. All you have to do is slice and pan fry it with a little bit of oil so it’s gets a little crispy. They also have Original Field Roast loaves in various flavors, which I haven’t tried, but are essentially the roast without the stuffing. You can pick up Field Roast products at Whole Foods.

    I have also tried Tofurky Thanksgiving roasts, but I don’t think they’re as good as the Field Roast brand. They also have a vegan roast/meat exterior with stuffing in the middle. It’s not as convenient to cook. You have to baste it and it cooks in the oven for 1 hour and 35 minutes thawed, or 2 hours and 35 minutes frozen. I don’t think the taste and texture are as good as the Celebration Roast, and the Celebration Roast only takes 10 minutes at most to slice and cook.

    Try out the Celebration Roast for yourself! It’s a tasty vegan alternative to turkey and not much hassle to prepare. And check back for more vegan Thanksgiving ideas over the next week. Up next is Cranberry Citrus Wild Rice. Yum!