Vegan Snickerdoodles

You might not believe this, but when I was in high school, most of my lunches consisted of a huge soft pretzel (extra salt, of course), a frozen coke, and a gigantic snickerdoodle cookie. 

I'm not sure when nutrient-density became the focus of my diet, but it clearly wasn't in high school. I'm sure the cookies they charged us for were nothing more than a ball of frozen dough made from less-than-average ingredients that they dug out of the back of the freezer and baked off just in time for lunch but, in high school, they were the most amazing thing to come out of the cafeteria.  

I don't make snickerdoodles on the regular but I do crave the tangy sweetness of one every now and then. When I first decided to do the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I started brainstorming crazy concoctions to create for my recipe. In the end, I decided to keep it simple and make a vegan version of an old school favorite. 

The original is from the geniuses at America's Test Kitchen in their Baking Illustrated cookbook. Their recipe didn't take too much tweaking to make it vegan. The biggest obstacle was finding a good egg replacer. After trialling a few different egg replacers, I settled on a combination of applesauce and cornstarch. The combination of these two ingredients provided good texture, allowed the flavor of the cookie to shine through, and helped the cookies hold their shape. 

 

These cookies are just as good as their non-vegan counterpart...I promise (the fact that my hubby ate 5 in one night is telling...) ;)

The cookie swap was SO MUCH FUN to be a part of. The giddiness that I experienced upon coming home to a package that I knew was full of cookies from a fellow blogger made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I was matched with Olivia at Vegan Chow Down who sent the most beautifully packaged vegan orange chocolate biscotti (perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon...mmm, mmm, mmm). Jackie sent me vegan peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread (I literally couldn't stop eating them when they arrived). Shannon from Killer Bunnies, Inc. sent me some beautiful and unbelievable tasty raspberry shortbread cookies (this is one of my favorite Christmas cookies so I was geeked when she sent them! #mindreader). You definitely have to check out their recipes. 

Vegan Snickerdoodles

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Adapted from Baking Illustrated

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar 

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

12 tablespoons nondairy margarine (I used Earth Balance)

1/4 cup vegetable shortening 

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar, plus 4 tablespoons for rolling dough

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon cinnamon for rolling dough

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch together in a medium bowl; set aside. 

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, cream the nondairy margarine, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until combined, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the applesauce. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. 

4. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds.

5. Mix the 3 tablespoons sugar for rolling and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Working with a heaping tablespoon of dough each time, roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (I was OCD and used a scale to measure 1 oz portions). Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. 

6. Bake until the edges of the cookies are beginning to set and the centers are soft and puffy, 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack.