Not to humblebrag, but I was deeply surprised when these cookies turned out on the first round. Given what I was going for – a vegan sugar cookie made without butter substitutes or coconut oil, but with a liquid oil instead – it probably should have been trickier. Credit goes entirely to the amazing ingredients you’ll find in the recipe: grapeseed oil, brown rice flour, organic icing sugar, vanilla, and some other helpers. The result is a an oil-based sugar cookie that is as flaky as its butter counterparts, with a tender interior and a slightly browned outer-edge that holds its shape perfectly.
Of course you don’t have to make use of the hibiscus glaze in this recipe (although that hot pink is hard to beat). The sugar cookies themselves are kind of the humble star – so surprisingly flaky for being butter (and butter substitute) free, with a great snap when you break one in two. I imagine they’d do well with added spices, different extracts, different flavoured glazes, although I haven’t experimented too heavily yet. Given how well they hold their shape, they’d take exceptionally well to being cut with your favourite weird cookie cutter and decorated to your heart’s desire (FYI – there is a great breakdown of some Wilton products, including food colours, that are vegan here, and I also like the natural food colouring by India Tree).
If you do make the glaze I’ve posted here, I recommend using organic icing sugar, while also admitting that the organic stuff tends to be far clumpier than conventional, so you may find you have to sift it very well before using it in either the dough or the glaze. Small sacrifices for the greater good (‘the good’ being vegan sugar cookies). I haven’t tried these with gluten-free all purpose flour yet, so can’t speak to whether this recipe can be converted to being celiac-friendly, but if you give it a shot, please let me know 🙂
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- pinch salt
- 2/3 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp (approx) non-dairy milk
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp (approx) strongly brewed hibiscus tea
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients, making sure to break up any lumps in the sugar.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together oil, vanilla, and one tablespoon of the non-dairy milk. Add wet to dry ingredients and stir to combine, adding the additional milk if necessary. Don't overmix the dough - it's texture should be pretty similar to a traditional sugar cookie dough.
- Shape the dough gently into a disc and place between two pieces of wax paper to roll out (this makes it easier to roll without adding extra flour to the dough. Roll to a 1/4" thickness, cut out desired shapes, and transfer to lined sheets. Re-roll the scraps and repeat once (see note).
- Bake at 350F for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies (mine were 2.5" circles and took about 16 minutes). Remove when the edges have just barely started to brown. Let firm up on sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Sift icing sugar to remove any lumps. Add in brewed hibiscus tea a little at a time and stir, adding just enough to get a run-off-the spoon-consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies.
- I was only able to re-roll the scraps once before the dough became too dry and wouldn't hold together easily. If you work quickly you may be able to use more of the scraps than I was able to, but once the dough starts to crumble/not hold shape easily, stop cutting and discard the scraps.