Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegan Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

When we were kids, my mom always made her amazing cream cheese cookies for Easter.  They were sweet with a subtle, tangy bite to them from some cream cheese added to the batter, and great iced or plain.  I thought I would give it a go at a vegan version, and they came out great!  They have great flavor and texture, however, they aren't very "tangy." I'll use a home-cultured cream cheese next time.

Here they are:

Bunnies, flowers and a nice dragonfly. Deelish!

Vegan Fazool’s Easy Cream Cheese Cookies
* denotes a traditional, citrusy cookie option!*

½ C. (one stick, 4 ounces) room temp Vegan Butter
(I used EB, but would love to try Bryanna’s Buttah in this, which is on my to-make list)
½ C. (half a package, 4 ounces) room temp Vegan Cream Cheese
(I used Tofutti, but next time I’m going to use homemade vegan cream cheese for more of a tang, Miyoko has a great one in her book!)
1 C. Organic Sugar (I used TJ’s)
2 tsp best Vanilla Extract*
*or 1 tsp vanilla and ½ tsp lemon or orange extract if you want a traditional, citrusy cookie
*1 tsp citrus zest (organic, please) if you want it lemony, orange-y or limey
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp salt
2 C. Flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole wheat, you can use AP)
1 tsp Baking Powder

Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cutters.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Ready a baking tray with a Silpat or parchment paper (or just grease it lightly).  Take the butter and cream cheese out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to making the recipe so they soften a bit.  I like to cut them up and put them in the mixing bowl to increase the surface area and help them to soften faster (Emory had already done this before the video started). 

Either by hand or using a stand mixer (I love my stand mixer for making cookies, but I don’t love it for yeast dough), cream in the sugar and vanilla extract (and citrus extract if using) until uniform in texture, I used the lowest setting on my stand mixer with a paddle attachment (see video ;-).  Now, add zest (if using) vinegar and salt, and continue mixing to incorporate.  Sift in flour and baking powder.  

Blend until a nice, uniform dough forms.  It’s a lovely, workable dough. 
Deelish dough!

Now, form the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and stash in the freezer for about an hour until it’s thoroughly chilled, or in the fridge for two hours (or up to overnight).  You can keep it frozen for months if you don’t want to use it today, just put the wrapped dough in  a freezer bag for extra protection.  Take it out and put it in the fridge the night before you want to bake it so it can thaw.  You can also keep it refrigerated for up to a few days if you don’t want to cut and bake cookies the same day that you make the dough.
Dough Disk

Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper or use a Roul Pat (I love mine!!) with a piece of parchment on top to prevent the rolling pin from sticking).  Roll out to between ¼ and ½ inch thick (3/8 is the standard thickness for cut-outs).  Use your favorite seasonal cookie cutters (we used Spring/Easter themed ones) and add any fun, edible decorations to the cookies now (or wait to ice them later, though this recipe is sweet enough to leave them plain).  I prefer my cookies with just a few chips or candies pressed in, but icing is also great, particularly on the citrus-y ones.  If the dough starts getting too warm and losing its structure, stash it in the freezer for a few minutes (I just put the whole Roul Pat in the freezer with the rolled out dough on it, covered with a piece of parchment!) and when you take it out it will be nice and firm again for more cutting!

Bake cookies at 350 for 10-14 minutes.  Baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookies and your equipment—darker cookie trays bake hotter and faster than lighter, aluminum ones, for instance.  When cookies are *just* beginning to get golden on the edges, they are done.  Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking tray for about four minutes, then carefully remove them with a spatula to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. 

I made this recipe sweet enough so that the cookies do not need to be iced, however, you can certainly ice them!  You can use any confectioner’s sugar icing recipe that you want and natural food coloring for some pretty spring colors, or ice them white with some more citrus zest mixed into the icing.  Or, do like we did, and just use some chips or candies pressed into the raw dough for decoration.
Bunnies, flowers and chicks, yum!

 Here's the video.  Particularly funny happenings starting around 3:30 min and again between about 6 and 12 min, particularly at 8:58 min marks :-)



  1. Those look beautiful! I love a good tradtional biscuit! What are the drops that they're decorated with?

    1. Thanks, Joey! The darker chocolate chips are Trader Joe's, you can see the vegan chocolate chip tasting post for how they ranked overall! The other colors are just from the bulk bins at Wegmans.