Lately I've been experimenting with vegan baking without using ready-made substitutes for eggs and butter. This recipe is the result of one such experiment, and I couldn't be more pleased with it: these sugar cookies have just the right amount of sweetness and a subtly festive flavor thanks to a sprinkling of nutmeg. Their crisp texture makes them perfect for dunking in a hot drink, or for just enjoying on the side of one. The key to the recipe is using coconut butter, which is made of pureed coconut, for shortening--it imparts a surprisingly buttery taste without either an obvious coconut flavor or the unpleasant oily aftertaste of refined coconut oil, which I've tried in the past.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light amber maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons coconut butter, melted
- 2 1/4 cups einkorn flour*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon sugar + 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for topping
* Einkorn flour is made from an ancient variety of wheat and is naturally moister than all-purpose flour. If you substitute all-purpose flour, you may need to add 1-2 extra tablespoons of almond milk.
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, maple syrup, and melted coconut butter.
3. Add 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking soda, and the salt to the wet mixture and combine. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the almond milk and combine again. Keep alternating 1/2 cup flour and 1 tablespoon of almond milk, finishing with the last 1/4 cup of flour. As the dough gets stiffer, you may need to finish incorporating the flour with your hands.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until it's firm, at least 30 minutes.
5. Sprinkle a clean work surface and a rolling pin with a bit of flour. Place the cookie dough on the floured surface and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and transfer to the prepared baking sheets with a thin spatula. (You can re-roll the dough once or twice to get more cookies from it.)
6. Sprinkle the cookies with the sugar and nutmeg mixture and bake until golden brown around the edges, around 20-25 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes 32 cookies 3" in diameter
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