Sugar Cookie Love Bites
A while ago I snagged myself some of the vegan India Tree natural decorating colours, and since their expiry date is quickly approaching I thought that a batch of cute little pink sugar cookie hearts would be a perfect way to test out the colours and spread a little Valentine’s Day love. Since Valentine’s Day is a week past already, these little cuties can be made any time as a little way of saying “I love you”.
I’ve never been a huge fan of sugar cookies, so I didn’t know why they’re loved so much. Although my mum used to make them for Christmas when I was very young, my only memories of sugar cookies come from those awful, inedible cookies from the bakery at Safeway or the gross mass-produced Danish butter cookies that come in the blue tins. (I mean no offense at all to anyone who happens to like these things – this is just about my tastes in cookies, that’s all.)
Since it seems that there are as many sugar cookie recipes out there as there are chili and hummus recipes, I simply opened up my copy of The Joy of Vegan Baking and played around with Colleen’s sugar cookie recipe to make the cookies how I wanted them to be.
I’m happy to say I am now a lover of sugar cookies. Homemade sugar cookies, that is. With plenty of lemon zest and vanilla extract.
Here’s my recipe for adorably scrumptious little Sugar Cookie Love Bites, adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s “Sugar Cookies” from The Joy of Vegan Baking (2007), pp. 119.
This recipe requires a bit of fridge time to chill the dough, so make sure to give yourself about 1 1/2 hours time (much of it inactive) if you want to make these cookies.
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unbleached cane sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 (generous) teaspoon egg replacer powder + 1 tbsp water, whipped until frothy
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Red vegan food colouring (I used India Tree)
1. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly to combine the ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Use an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
3. Add in the egg replacer, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat on low with the mixer until all the ingredients are fully combined.
4. Add in the flour mixture and beat the dough until half of the flour has been combined. Add the food colouring*, starting with two drops, beating the dough just a little more with each addition of colouring until you’ve reached your desired colour. Then beat the dough until is smooth and all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
5. Flatten the dough into a 1″ thick disk and wrap in plastic, placing it in the fridge to chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
6. When the dough has chilled enough, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (this will help keep your cookies from sticking to the baking sheet).
7. Lightly flour your counter or table and roll out the dough to 1/6″ to 1/4″. Turn the dough around in a circle every roll or two with your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking.
8. Using whatever cookie cutters you like (I used a 1″ heart), cut out the cookies and place them on your baking sheets. If using sugar sprinkles, sprinkle a few pinches of sugar over top of each cookie. (If you don’ care if the sugar falls off the cookies, you can put the sugar on them after they’ve just come out of the oven.)
9. At this point, if you think your cookies need it, place your baking sheets in the fridge to chill a bit so the dough doesn’t spread too much when baking. My cookies were very small and didn’t seem to need this extra step, since they didn’t spread at all in the oven.
10. Place your cookie sheets in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn a light golden colour around the edges.
11. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in gift bags or in an air-tight container.
*Note: Keep in mind that the colour in your cookies will “bake-out” when you cook them. That is, the colour will fade quite a bit. I used 10 drops of colouring to get my cookies a light raspberry-pink colour, and they came out of the oven a shade of baby pink. Depending on the strength of the colouring you choose, it’s best to make your dough a few shades darker than you want your cookies to be so they come out of the oven the colour you’d like them to be.
Makes 60 little hearts (with a 1″ heart-shaped cookie cutter)