19 November 2017

Vegan Viands #20: Vegan Brown Sugar Cookies

Yesterday was my mother's birthday; she would have turned 66. Growing up, my dad did 98% of the cooking at our house. He also made pies. But my mom, she was the baker. Cookies, cakes, sweet breads - those were her primary culinary home. I've shared some of the things she was noted for, such as Christmas wreath cookies, chocolate chip zucchini bread, and rhubarb bars.

One year, my mom got a giant recipe book filled with nothing but cookies. I remember her going through the book and exclaiming over the recipes. I think that most of the cookies in the book got made at least once, but one recipe kept returning: brown sugar cookies.

I think what made these cookies a hit was some combination of the crunchy/chewy cookie, the frosting that is reminiscent of the frosting we all put on our birthday cakes, and the group effort necessary to frost the cookies before the frosting set.

Since we were headed to a party last night, I wanted to bring a dish to share. I'm sure that the memories of my mother brought these cookies to mind. Making and sharing them with others was a wonderful way to honor her memory.

Vegan Brown Sugar Cookies
These are based on a recipe in a book I don't have. I'll see if I can find it to cite when I'm next at home.

Cookie Ingredients
1 c. (two sticks) softened vegan butter
1/2 c. backed brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Frosting Ingredients
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. vegan butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
1. In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugars, and vanilla from the cookie ingredients. Cream until very light and fluffy.
2. Add salt and flour, beat on low until a soft dough ball forms.
3. Roll dough on a well-floured surface to approximate 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or glass to cut shapes. Re-roll dough (handling as little as possible) and cut more cookies until dough is used.
4. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
5. After cookies are cool, combine brown sugar and butter for frosting in a medium pot and melt over medium heat, stirring constantly.
6. Add vanilla and soymilk and stir until blended and glossy.
7. Add powdered sugar and stir until well-combined.

Helpful Hints
  • I'm very serious when I say frost quickly and as a team. The cookies are quite buttery, so the frosting doesn't stick to them well. In addition, the frosting sets (solidifies) very quickly, so the more help you have, the better off you'll be. 
  • When you re-roll the cookie dough, you will be tempted to try to knead it a bit to put it back together. Resist that urge! Only press the dough together as needed to keep it together. The more you work with it, the tougher it becomes.
  • Try to keep the second (and maybe third) rolling of the dough to the same thickness as the first roll so that cookies will bake evenly. 
  • The longer you cookie the cookies, the crunchier they become. I like them to be a bit crunchy around the edges but still chewy in the center and 20 minutes is just perfect for that in my oven.
  • It was only in writing this post that I realized I don't have the recipe for my birthday cake frosting on my blog. Next time our birthdays roll around, I'll post it! 
The post "Vegan Brown Sugar Cookies" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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