Making cookies for the holidays can be one of those things that takes you down memory lane, creates new traditions, or is simply a way to spend time with loved ones.
While high-sugar diets are hardly recommended, we know it’s important to have balance in life. The occasional treat won’t likely ruin all your other healthy lifestyle choices.
That being said, choosing less inflammatory options like dairy-free are always a good choice. Here are 3 vegan Christmas cookie recipes that will warm your heart and bellies. Oh, and feel free to enjoy with a glass of nut or oat milk!
Ginger Molasses Cookies
An acquired taste for some, the molasses cookie is a warm and rich cookie that isn’t overly sweet. This recipe is inspired by Short Girl, Tall Order.
Fun fact about ginger: This root is full of anti-inflammatory properties and can be helpful in terms of stomach upset, arthritis, and managing some aspects of high blood sugars. To learn more, check out this article (5).
- ½ cup plant-based butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 2 Tbsp cane sugar
- 1 flax egg [1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water, left to sit 5 minutes]
- 2 Tbsp light molasses (very important – see pro tip below)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt (use ½ tsp if using unsalted butter)
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 3 Tbsp cane sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Combine butter, dark brown sugar, and cane sugar to a large mixing bowl. Cream together with until soft and fluffy.
- Add in the flax egg, molasses, and vanilla. Whip together for about 30 seconds.
- Starting with the flour, add the dry ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix everything together until a thick cookie dough forms. The dough will be slightly sticky.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap chill in the refrigerator for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F about 10 minutes before taking dough out of the fridge. Liine a baking tray with parchment paper. Fill a small bowl with 3 Tablespoons of cane sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll small scoops of dough into balls, then coat in cinnamon sugar.
- Place dough balls on baking sheet 2-inches apart. Lightly press down each cookie dough ball using your palm or the back of a spoon.
- Bake the cookies for about 11-13 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Cookies will be cooked through but still have soft centers (If making larger cookies, adjust baking time to between 13-15 minutes).
- Immediately after removing the cookie tray from the oven, gently tap the tray onto the counter. This creates the “wrinkly” cookie look. This will only work if the cookies are warm.
- Afterwards, allow cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes. Once cooled, serve & enjoy!
Pro tip: only use fancy molasses (aka light molasses). Using dark, blackstrap molasses will make your cookies taste bitter.
Gluten-free? Yes, but only if you can find a gluten free 1:1 baking mix. Other flours like almond, coconut, or oat won’t have a 1:1 ratio.
Coffee Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Coffee goes with cookies like joy goes with Christmas. Great for Christmas parties or quiet afternoons, this recipe originally was made by Alana at Sprouts and Krauts.
Fun fact about hazelnuts: Grown predominantly in Turkey, these nuts are a good source of omega-3s, vitamins, and protein. They may help give you a boost of energy, and also contain proanthocyanidins that can help you reduce your risks of developing cancer (7).
- 1 cup plant-based butter, cubed
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup roasted hazelnuts, finely ground
- 1 – 1½ Tbsp instant coffee, finely ground
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- If using a food processor, pulse butter and sugar together until combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. If not, simply stir together until smooth.
- Add flour slowly, followed by ground hazelnuts, ground coffee, and vanilla extract. Mix or pulse until a dough is formed, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough into 20 equal balls on a baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
- If using a cookie stamp, press dough balls down to desired thickness, about ¼” to ½”. If not, gently press until flattened to desired thickness.
- Bake cookies until deep golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes (see pro tip below).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Pro tip: Because you’re using coconut sugar, your cookies will have a darker appearance than your standard shortbread.
Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
It wouldn’t quite be Christmas without something peppermint! This crinkle cookie recipe is inspired by Plant Prosperous.
Fun fact about peppermint: Peppermint leaves have been used for centuries to help treat lots of different health concerns. It can help with stomach issues like IBS when ingested, and if applied topically it can help with headaches, muscle tension, and joint pain (6).
- 1 cup of coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds, ground finely
- 1/3 cup nut, oat, flax or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp peppermint extract or 1/3 tsp peppermint essential oil
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar (to roll cookies in)
- Preheat your oven to 350˚F. While it’s preheating, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine sugar and coconut oil. Mix until smooth. Add flax seeds, non-dairy milk, vanilla, and peppermint. Stir until well blended.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until a soft dough is formed.
- Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out dough one tablespoon at a time, and shape into a ball. Roll the ball in the powdered sugar until coated on all sides.
- Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press the balls gently to create a flatter look.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. Tip: they may look a little undercooked, but they’ll firm up as they cool.
- Cool on the baking sheet for a minimum of 10 minutes. Sprinkle additional powdered sugar just before serving.
Yield: 12 cookies
Pro Tip: You can also use 1/3 tsp of peppermint essential oil, according to British chef Michael Johnson (4)
Baking cookies can be a great way to enjoy the holidays. The best part is, your favorite kinds don’t have to be bad for you, either!
Swapping out refined white and brown sugars for coconut sugar can help you stay on track with your health goals, while switching from all-purpose flour to a gluten-free version can help keep inflammation down in your body.
Note that not all recipes will turn out the same if you make the switch, so blend carefully.
Are these recipes making you hungry? Be sure to share with friends and family this holiday season!
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author