Vegan Sugar Cookies

These vegan sugar cookies have the familiar flavor and texture of other classic sugar cookies--crisp edges, a soft center and slight chew--but contain no animal products. A touch of baking powder ensures the cookies puff slightly without spreading too much. Top them with a simple confectioners' sugar glaze and decorate with sprinkles for any holiday or festive occasion throughout the year. By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 25 min (includes chilling and cooling times)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: about 32 cookies
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Ingredients

Vegan Sugar Cookies:

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) vegan butter, such as Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, at room temperature

1/2 cup vegan granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened plain almond milk

2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook's Note)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Vegan Icing and Decorations:

1 cup vegan confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened plain almond milk, plus more as needed

Vegan food coloring and vegan sprinkles, for decorating (see Cook's Note)

Directions

  1. For the vegan sugar cookies: Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the almond milk, then continue to beat until smooth and combined. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then beat on low speed until a dough comes together; it should be similar in texture to Play-Doh. If the dough seems too dry, add the remaining 1 tablespoon almond milk, then stir again until combined.
  2. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and roll it into a smooth and even log that's about 2 inches wide and 8 1/2 inches long. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  
  4. Unwrap the log of dough and trim the ends with a sharp chef's knife. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, then transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the tops and edges are set and the bottoms are just starting to turn golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  5. For the vegan icing: Once the cookies are cool, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and almond milk in a small bowl until a smooth icing forms; it should be thick enough to spread on a cookie without dripping off the sides. If the icing is too thick, add an extra 1 to 2 teaspoons of almond milk until the desired consistency is achieved. Leave the icing plain or tint with food coloring.  
  6. Use a small offset spatula to spread the icing onto the cooled cookies and immediately top with some sprinkles. Return to the wire rack until set, about 15 minutes. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) Not all food coloring and sprinkles are vegan. Look for food coloring that's described as "natural," as that typically means it is derived from plants. Also look for sprinkles with simple ingredients like vegetable oil, cornstarch and soy. Sprinkles made with "confectioners' glaze" are not vegan; this shellac coating is used to glaze sprinkles and other various candies and is derived from sticklac, a resin scraped from the branches of trees left from small insects. Some of our favorite vegan food coloring and sprinkle brands are Fancy Sprinkles, Watkins Food Coloring and Watkins Rainbow Decorating Sugar.

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