by Chef Kendall Huff
Native Foods Cafe
Today is National Sugar Cookie Day!
We have all enjoyed a sugar cookie in our days. Whether it is around the holidays with green and red sprinkles, or on All Hallows Eve shaped like witches and spiders, there are many of shapes, toppings and fun to be had with these cookies. It can even be made into a Sunday morning event with the family... that’s what we did! But now a day, “sugar” comes in lots of forms. We now have soooo many options available to us that are healthy and add different flavors to our cookies. I’m talking about Coconut Nectar, Brown Rice Syrup, Beet Sugar, and Maple Syrup.
Traditionally, sugar cookies are made from sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla and baking soda or powder. As we know, you can scoop them, cut them into fun and wacky shaped and then frost, glaze and decorate with what you want! So lets talk about the “sugar” you can use, instead of organic granulated.
#1- Brown Rice Syrup-
Brown Rice syrup is a sweetener made by culturing cooked brown rice with enzymes (usually from dried barley sprouts) to break down starches. Then the mix is strained. The next step is to reduce the liquid by cooking it until the correct consistency is reached. Once opened, the jar has a shelf life of about a year in a cool, dry place. It is usually is sweetening agent in rice milk.
#2- Coconut Nectar-
When a coconut tree is “tapped”, it produces a naturally sweet sap from the blossoms that is FULL of nutrients. Like vitamin A and C, 17 amino acids and minerals... Hello healthy natural sweeter!
#3- Maple Syrup- (this my fave brand, Shady Maple Farms)
Maple syrup comes from the maple species of trees. When it’s cold, these trees store starches in their trunks and roots right before winter. Those starches are then converted into sugar that will rise in the sap in the spring. In the spring, making holes in the trunks and collecting the sap tap the trees. Heating, to evaporate much of the water, then processes the sap and therefore leaving concentrated syrup.
#4- Beet Sugar-
Beet sugar is a form of sugar that is extracted from the common beet. Around 30% of the world's total sugar supply comes from beets. One of the primary advantages of using beets for sugar is that beets can be cultivated in temperate climates, and they are very hardy. One of the main benefits of beets is that they lower the acidity level in the blood, allowing for better circulation. Compared to sugar cane, which is highly acidic, the sugar beet is a much better source of natural sugars. Beets also have high levels of betaine, which helps with inflammation. Thank you Dwight Schrute!
So here is a basic Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe, Try it out, and then play around with it like I did! Change the powdered sugar and use beet sugar for one recipe and then maple syrup for the next. Remember…if you use a liquid sweetener, you WILL have to adjust your flour in the recipe. But don’t be scared, add a little bit at a time (1/4 cup) and keep track for the next time or the next sweetener you buy!
Basic Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup vegan butter (cold)
¼ cup soy/rice milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2- In a mixer, using a paddle attachment, sift together all dry ingredients.
3- Slowly add in the liquid ingredients.
4- Add pieces of the butter in little by little. Mix until cookie dough forms.
5- On the grease and wax paper lines sheet pan, bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes. Once out of the over, I sprayed them with a little water and sprinkled on some yummies. I did not let them cool, but ate them all immediately! You should do the same.
Native Foods Cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant, vegan sugar cookie, vegan recipe