Monthly Archives: March 2012

Vegan Soft Sugar Cookies

I bake a lot of vegan baked goods for Thistle’s bakeshop.  I’m asked a lot about vegan baking substitutions, particularly egg substitutes. I thought I’d share a very simple recipe for vegan sugar cookies, one that we use in the bakery often. I’ve shared this recipe with customers who have asked for help and with Food52 hotliners in need. It only seems fair that I should pass it along to you.

Vegan Sugar Cookies with Coconut Buttercream Rosettes.

Let me preface this recipe: you cannot always make a substitution. There are some baked goods- like French Madeleines or meringue cookies that rely too heavily on eggs to make a proper substitute. You can certainly make a beautiful pastry in the shape of a madelieine, but it is nigh impossible to achieve the light, fluffy texture without eggs and butter. Eggs are somewhat magical in baking. They can function as a liquid, a fat, a binder and even sometimes as a substitute for flour. To replace eggs, I often use a combination of hot water and ground flax seeds. Like eggs, flax seeds also contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids. They also get nice and goopy when mixed with hot water, a desirable reaction when looking for an egg substitute. Fruit puree will work in some instances, as will a combination of fruit puree and flax or fruit puree and maple syrup.  Some also recommend a combination of water, ground flax and nut butter.  In these cookies, I have stuck with flax, as it does not interfere with the taste of the cookie in anyway.

Vegan Soft Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup shortening, all-vegtetable, non-hydrogenated. I use spectrum brand. You can use either the “buttery” shortening or the unflavored. I tend to use unflavored, as I find the buttery a bit salty.

2/3 cup room temp Vegan Baking sticks, get Earth Balance

1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice

3 tbspn very hot water

2 teaspoon ground golden flax seed*

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4  teaspoon salt

3 1/3 cups AP flour

In a small bowl, combine the water, flax seeds, and vanilla. Allow to sit while you are assembling the rest of the ingredients.

Cream the shortening, sugar and the vegan sticks together in an electric mixer on medium speed. I’d cream for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is very fluffy and the sugar granules are no longer visible. Add in the water & flax seed mixture. Cream until combined. It will looked curdled, that is ok.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt together. Turn the mixer off, and  add the dry ingredients to the wet all at once. Mix on low speed until it starts to form clumps and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Do not mix beyond this point.

Shape into balls and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 for drop cookies. For roll out, refrigerate for at least four hours. Work quickly while rolling, the dough will become very sticky, very quickly. Depending on size of the roll out, bake for 6-8 minutes at 350.

*This will affect the color of the cookies a little, which is why I recommend golden flax over chia seeds or brown flax. I always ice the cookies, to enhance their appearance. Either with a simple glaze, or with vegan buttercream.



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Key Lime & Kumquat Curd

Look at that! We’re all shiny–hot pink and green! Huzzah. How about an awesome new recipe to celebrate. Yes?

You see that cake back there, with the Kumquats? It’s hiding behind the Prickly Pear Margarita cupcakes. Cupcakes are cool, but that cake was special.  A Mango cake with Key Lime/Kumquat Curd and Key Lime Swiss Meringue buttercream. It was epic. And because I love you, I’m sharing the curd recipe. If you don’t have Kumquats or Key Limes, substitute your favorite citrus fruit. I think what makes this recipe special is the pureed rind. It really adds essence to the recipe. A more bitter citrus- like a grapefruit probably wouldn’t work here. But kumquats, which can be eaten whole are perfect.

Kumquat & Key Lime Curd

Copyright Hilary Browning

6 Large Eggs, (organic preferred)

6 Large Egg Yolks (organic preferred)

1 1/2 cups Granulated Cane Sugar (or Fine grain evaporated cane juice)

1/2 cup Kumquat Juice (1 Pint of Kumquats)

1/2 cup  fresh Key Lime Juice (About 9-12 Key Limes)

1/4 cup pureed Kumquat rinds

1 cup butter, cubed

(1) Combine the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a large, heat proof bowl. Set aside.

(2) Decapitate the kumquats, and squeeze out the juice. Don’t try to cut the kumquats in half- instead, cut off a piece at the tip. You’ll have an easier time getting the juice out. Reserve the rinds of the kumquats. Squeeze out the juice from the key limes and combine it with the kumquat juice so that you have 1 cup of juice total.

(3) Place the kumquat rinds in a food processor. Puree the rinds to make a thick pulp. Pick out any seeds.

(4) Add the pulp and juice to the heatproof bowl with the eggs and sugar. Whisk to combine. Bring a saucepan with three inches of water to simmer.  Place the heatproof bowl over the water and cook the mixture for twenty minutes total, or until thickened. I like to whisk vigorously every four or five minutes to prevent the eggs from clumping. Whisking too often will prevent the mixture from thickening properly; whisking too little will give you scrambled eggs. It’s a delicate balance, but I have every confidence that you can do it!

(5) When the mixture is thickened, use a large metal sieve to strain out the kumquat pulp.

(6) Start adding the butter to the strained mixture, a little bit at a time, while whisking vigorously. When all the butter is combined, whisk for one minute more. Pour the prepared curd into jars with seals if you are not going to use it within a day or two. Store in the fridge for up to a week. If you plan on using it within 48 hours,  place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd and place the whole bowl in the fridge. It needs at least 8 hours to chill and firm up before it is ready for use.

**Use the curd to make a killer Kumquat & Key Lime Pie. Or just eat as pudding (which is what I do–I’m naughty, I admit it!). Use it as cake filling, or as a spread for muffins or scones.

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