Friday, July 25, 2014

Vegan Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar Cookies

I'm so excited to be heading down to New Jersey to visit with family and friends this weekend!  This is the first of an infinite number of weekends that I am not tied down to work commitments, and it feels absolutely incredible.

One of my friends that I am visiting is someone who I was inseparable from during my middle schools years.  Her and I did everything together, from sleepovers on the weekends to family vacations.  Unfortunately, over time life took us in different directions.  Recently we've reconnected over Facebook and it is incredible how after nearly 10 years of not seeing or speaking to each other we are able to pick up right where we left off!  That's the amazing thing about friendship, not matter how much time passes or how much distance has come between you, that special connection never fades.

My friend was sweet enough to invite me over for dinner at her house, so I thought I'd bring dessert. All of the childhood reminiscing must have sparked something inside my brain, because all I wanted was a Lofthouse style frosted sugar cookie!  You know, those delicious, soft, chewy cookies with frosting that would be at pretty much every barbecue or party. The wheels started turning on how I could create my own egg/dairy free version of this recipe.  After a couple of attempts that were not 100% right (too flat, oddly misshapen) I finally got the perfect Lofthouse style cookie! The taste is pretty spot on and they are perfectly soft and chewy!

Note that these are not at all a healthy substitute for cookies.  Sometimes you just need the real deal!  Everything in moderation, right?!

Also, you will have to refrain from eating all of the cookie dough before it makes it into the oven.  Just sayin'.

Vegan Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies

For the cookies:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 tbsp Earth Balance 
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 stick Earth Balance
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring if desired
splash of almond milk if needed to thin out

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
For the cookies:
1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream Earth Balance until light and fluffy. 
3. Add in powdered sugar and beat on high until well combined and smooth (note: if your mixture looks crumbly keep beating!  It should come together like frosting).  Beat in vanilla.
4.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and almond milk to the sugar/butter mixture, beating until well combined after each addition.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, being careful not to over bake as the cookies will not turn brown.

For the frosting:
1. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the Earth Balance until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time (note: your mixture may be a bit crumbly - don't worry!  Once you add the vanilla it will smooth right out)
3. Beat in the vanilla and food coloring or almond milk.

Be sure to allow the cookies to cool completely on a rack before icing them.  

I spread my icing with a knife, but I think next time I would pipe it on for effect.