It’s important to remember that eating healthy all the time is not, well, healthy. Life is about balance and about realizing that being healthy is more than just what you are putting in your body. It’s about embracing cheat days, cookie swaps, and holiday celebrations. Holidays are always going to be a health challenge to navigate, which is why the gyms are full come the new year.
I often tell people that I am thankful that I have a gluten allergy and am vegan. It makes it a lot easier to resist the constant flow of holiday baked goods and candies this time of year. That being said, I still like to partake in holiday sweets and this recipe was created so that I can do just that. In fact, I created these for our annual holiday cookie competition at the office. They placed second and everyone was amazed they were vegan and gluten-free. I call that a win! I am sharing this recipe with you so that you too can wow your co-workers, family and friends…or simply keep them all for yourself this holiday season (they freeze well).
Start by unwrapping a few candy canes and place in a plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush them. Set it aside and in a bowl combine all your dry ingredients. Set that aside as well.
In your standup mixer, beat the softened butter, both sugars, the egg replacer mixture and both extracts. Beat until nice and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
Turn the speed down and slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat until it all comes together, again scraping down the sides or bottom to make sure it is all combined.
Finally, mix in the chocolate chips and crushed candy cane.
Using a medium size levered ice cream scooper, scoop out your cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 13-14 minutes until lightly browned. If you are only using one cookie sheet, a good trick to remember is between batches let the first batch cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rake. This lets the pan cool a little as well before you scoop out your last batch.
For our office holiday cookie competition, I decided I needed to step my game up a notch with a mint buttercream sandwich filling. I simply veganized buttercream frosting by using softened Earth Balance stick butter, vegan powdered sugar, unsweetened almond milk, natural food coloring, and a splash of peppermint extract.
Spread the buttercream frosting between two cookies and we have a second place winner!
Even if you are trying to be healthy this holiday season, make sure you allow yourself to splurge and enjoy the festivities. Remember to keep your balance.
Time: One hour
2 3/4 c. gluten-free all purpose flour (Pamela’s or Cup4Cup)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer prepared per directions to make 2 eggs
2 sticks of Earth Balance vegan butter, softened to room temp
3/4 c. vegan brown sugar
1/2 c. vegan white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
3/4 c. vegan chocolate chips
1/4 c. crushed vegan candy canes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, stir to combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a standup mixer with paddle attachment, beat room temp butter and sugars until creamy. Add the liquid egg replacement mixture, vanilla and peppermint extract. Turn speed down and slowly pour in dry ingredients, stopping to scrape down sides and bottom as needed. Should take about a minute. Add chocolate chips and crushed candy cane bits until just combined.
Using medium sized ice cream scooper, scoop cookie dough out and place on parchment paper lined pan. Place into oven and bake 13-14 minutes until lightly brown. Let cool about 10 minutes before removing from sheet for second batch. Place baked cookies on cooling rack to finish cooling.
Makes approximately 30 cookies.