I’ve been thinking of my own version of The 12 Days of Christmas:
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…“
Vegan Christmas Cookies!
Yep, I’ll take 12 days of vegan christmas cookies over pipers piping and maids a milking. How about you?
I thought so!
These are my 12 top vegan christmas cookies, perfect for gifting, cookie exchanges, or just for you to enjoy. I offer the dietary labels for each, to help you identify cookies that are gluten-free, raw, nut-free, oil-free/plant-strong, and soy-free.
So, let’s pull out our fancy holiday aprons and get baking!
1. “Snifferdoodles” Dietary: soy-free, nut-free
Lightly spiced, but not as spicy as gingerbreads, these snickerdoodle cookies from LTEV are festive and loved by kids and adults alike. They have just the right amount of sweetness, and are very special for gifting. If you love the flavor of anise, try my Biscochitos variation in the recipe.
2. Crazy Brownies Dietary: gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free
As the name suggests… crazy. The ingredients look crazy, but combine into one heckuva brownie! You’ve juts gotta try them. #promise
These brownies are incredible! They are fudgy and dense and sweet. Make them and see whether your family can even GUESS what’s in them! Ingredients (16 brownies)
- 1/2 cup kidney beans
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1/3 cup peeled precooked, and cooled yellow or red potato (see note)
- 2 tablespoons tahini or nut butter see note and nut-free option
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter see note
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips mini are nice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8" × 8" brownie pan with parchment paper. Using a small or mini food processor, puree the beans, dates, potato, tahini, and coconut butter until smooth, and then add the maple syrup and milk and puree again. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, arrowroot, vanilla bean powder, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt to the processor and puree until combined. (If your processor is too small, transfer the date mixture to a bowl, and use a spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.) Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the mixture to the brownie pan, and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 22–24 minutes (brownies will firm with cooling and are more fudgy with less baking, so don’t overbake). Remove, let cool completely, frost if desired, and cut into squares.
• Potato Note: Potatoes add moisture and density when combined with the beans. If you don’t have cooked potato, substitute 1/4 cup of potato starch and increase the milk to 5 tablespoons.
• Nut-Free Option/Tahini Note: I use a good-quality tahini, with a mellow, buttery flavor and smooth texture. If you don’t have nut allergies, try substituting macadamia or almond butter. Another 1 tablespoon of nondairy milk may be needed if the nut butter is quite thick/dense.
• Coconut Butter Note: If you don’t have coconut butter, you can substitute another 11/2 tablespoons of a nut butter like macadamia, almond, or cashew butter—or more tahini.
• Frosting Note: Chocolate Ganache (below), is wickedly good on these brownies!
Ganache for Crazy Brownies
Single Batch: (see note)
- 1/4 cup coconut butter
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 3 - 3 1/2 tbsp nondairy milk see note
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Double Batch: (see note)
- 1/2 cup coconut butter
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 6-7 tablespoons tablespoons nondairy milk see note
- 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut butter, cocoa powder, sea salt, milk, and maple syrup over very low heat (or use a double boiler for better heat control). Whisk through until the coconut butter is melted and all the ingredients are smooth. Transfer to a glass dish to let cool. Refrigerate until completely chilled, then use for spreading between cookies for cookie sandwiches, as a thick frosting for cakes or brownies, or if kept thicker (see note) you can roll into truffles and then dust with cocoa powder, coconut sugar, coconut, etc.
• Milk Note: For a thicker, firmer ganache, use less milk. So, 3 tablespoons for the single batch and 6 tablespoons for the double. For a ganache that will spread a little easier, use the 3 1/2-tablespoon measure for the single batch, 7-tablespoon measure for the double. I prefer plain soy or almond milk in this recipe.
• Serving Suggestion: Make a single batch for a thin layer of ganache to frost Crazy Brownies Double up for a thicker layer (and use extra for scooping mini truffles)!
3. Award-Winning Frosted B-raw-nies Dietary: raw, oil-free, gluten-free, soy-free
These have been popular for years. For good reason. They are easy! Plus gluten-free and raw, sweetened with only dates and pure maple syrup. If you need a nut-free version, I have one in Plant-Powered Families.
Award Winning Frosted B-raw-nies!
Base: 1 cup raw almonds (see note)
- 1/4 cup raw cashews see note
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts see note
- 1 3/4 cups packed pitted medjool dates (see note)
- 1/4 cup dried organic pitted cherries OR more dates, ie can use 2 cups dates in whole – omit almond extract if not using cherries
- 1/3 cup raw cocoa powder or regular cocoa if you prefer
- 1 vanilla bean see note
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp almond extract optional
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or raw agave nectar for pure raw version
- 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder or regular if you prefer
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 cup 1/2 cup coconut butter (not coconut oil) ‐ can substitute raw nut butter
Instructions In a food processor, first add almonds and cashews and process until very fine (the almonds are the hardest, and need to be worked until crumbly). Let them process for a minute or two until quite fine. Then add walnuts, dates and cherries and pulse/process until mixture is quite crumbly, but not yet coming together. Then, add cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract, and pulse through. With a sharp tip knife, slice the vanilla bean down the outer side to open up the bean. Using a blunt (butter) knife, scrape out all the tiny seeds from the bean on both sides, and add them to the processor (or add vanilla extract). Process again, along with the almond extract if using. Process until the mixture comes together. The mixture should be sticky and hold together when pressed with your fingers. You don’t want to overmix (to prevent the nuts from releasing their oils, see note), but the mixture does need to hold and be sticky. If it’s not doing so, add a few drops of water, as your dates might be dry. Once you have a good, sticky mixture that will hold together, remove it from the processor and press into a brownie pan (8” x 8”) lined with parchment paper. Use a small piece of the parchment to help press and flatten the mixture evenly into the pan. Press it firmly to ensure the mixture holds.
For the frosting, in a mini‐food processor, first combine the coconut butter and agave nectar until smooth. Then add the cocoa powder and salt, and pulse through again until just combined. Do not overprocess or the frosting will begin to separate with the heat of the churning and become oily. (If you don’t have a mini‐ processor, you can follow the same steps stirring by hand in a bowl). Smooth frosting over base, and refrigerate for an hour or more until set. Cut into squares and serve! You can also freeze the squares after cutting, and enjoy them out of the freezer!
A combination of ¾ cup almonds and ½ cup cashews also works well, and I have also made these with only almonds and they still work beautifully ‐ you just need to be sure to process the almonds long enough to become fine/powdery before moving on with dates, etc.
You can substitute 1 – 1 ½ tsp of pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds.
If your dates are on the dry side, you can add 1‐2 tbsp of water to the mixture to help assist the pureeing and the mixture easily coming together.
If you process the mixture too long, the heat generated by the food processor will bring the oils out of the nuts. If this happens, the brownies won’t be ruined necessarily, but they will have an oily appearance and be oily to the touch. So, process minimally to begin, rather than over processing the nuts at the outset.
4. Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies Dietary: soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free option
image credit: Roger Bourland
My original version of these cookies might be my most popular cookie recipe ever. Some say it’s the best cookie recipe ever. The quintessential chocolate chip cookie, made healthier and of course, vegan. For those needing a gluten-free version, I have that version (just as delicious!) in eat, drink & be vegan.
Dreena's Famous Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour see note below for wheat-free version
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses
- 1- 1 1/2 tsp tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup organic neutral flavored oil a little generous 1/4 cup
- 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined (do not overmix). Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 8-10 large cookies.
- Savvy Subs: For a wheat-free version, use spelt flour, adding an extra 1/4 cup of flour (for 1 1/4 cups total).
- Ingredients 411: If the batter is heavy and dense when mixing in the wet ingredients, add another 1-2 tsp each of maple syrup and canola oil and work through.
- If This Apron Could Talk: Make a really special dessert treat… ice cream cookie sandwiches! Using two cookies that have been completely cooled in the refrigerator, spread some softened non-dairy ice cream on the underside of one cookie, then place the other cookie on top. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until firm!
5. Chocolate Mint Melties Dietary: nut-free, soy-free
Think of these as your double-chocolate-mint-infused cousin of the Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you enjoy that chocolate-mint combo, you just must make these!
Chocolate Mint Melties
- 1 - 3oz/85g bar mint dark chocolate (see note)
- 1 1/8 cups spelt flour see note
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup unrefined sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp mint extract
- ¼ cup organic neutral-flavored oil a touch generous
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Break off 9 squares from chocolate bar (about 2/ 3 of bar, reserve remaining squares to top cookies) and place in mini-food processor, processing until finely chopped (or chop by hand). Transfer to a bowl and combine with dry ingredients, sifting in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine syrup, agave nectar, vanilla and mint extracts, and oil and stir until well mixed. Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (do not overmix). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet, spacing evenly. Break up or roughly chop reserved chocolate and place on top of each cookie, pressing in a little. Bake for 11 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out). Remove from oven, and let cool for 1 minute (no longer) on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
1) Use a dark chocolate bar that is mint flavored, rather than a mint cream-filled dark chocolate bar. For this recipe, try the Endangered Species brand Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint, or Cocoa Camino's Mint Chocolate Bar (exceptionally good)!
2) If you want to use unbleached all purpose flour instead of spelt, use just 1 cup. If batter seems too dry or thick whichever flour you are using, stir in another 1–2 tsp each of oil and maple syrup.
3) For the holidays, make these cookies festive by sprinkling 1–2 tbsp crushed or chopped candy canes on cookies before baking, and lightly press in.
6. Nicer Krispie Squares Dietary: gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free
No kidding, these look and taste SO much like traditional rice krispie squares. Not just made vegan, but made withOUT vegan marshmallows or margarine. I think these are one of my most inventive cookie recipes ever, and you guys seem to love them as much as I do! There is a nut-free version in PPF, and now also updated in the original post.
7. Hello Vegan Bars Dietary: soy-free, oil-free
These vegan Christmas cookies are insanely good. They are my version of the ‘hello dolly bars’, with a cookie-like crust, caramel middle layer, and topped with chocolate chips, coconut, and chopped nuts. Sweet moreish deliciousness!
Hello Vegan Bars
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk refrigerate can in advance if possible; using only thick cream on top
- 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
- ¾ cup unrefined sugar see note
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups oat flour use certified gf oat flour for gluten-free option
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut look for unsulphured brand
- ¼ tsp rounded sea salt
- 3 tbsp brown rice syrup
- 2 tbsp organic extra-virgin coconut oil at room temperature; solid but soft for measuring
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup pecans broken up or roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- couple pinches sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
First, prepare the caramel topping: In a small saucepan, whisk about half of the milk with the arrowroot. Then add the remaining milk, whisking, and the remaining caramel ingredients. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until it just reaches a boil. Then remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to let cool slightly while preparing the base. (Continue to whisk or stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the caramel. If a skin does start to form, you can whisk it into the mixture, or if fairly thick, simply remove and discard the skin, if you prefer.)
Prepare the base: In a bowl, combine the oat flour, coconut, and salt, then add the brown rice syrup and coconut oil. Mix with your fingers to help work in the syrup and oil. Once the mixture can hold together somewhat when pressed, transfer to the prepared pan. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan. When caramel has cooled slightly (can still be warm, just not hot), pour over the base. Then layer on each of the toppings, sprinkling over the caramel, followed by sprinkling on a couple of pinches of salt. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Let cool slightly and then refrigerate to fully cool before slicing into bars. Makes 16-20 bars.
- If This Apron Could Talk: You can chill the coconut cream if you want, though it isn’t necessary, but may help with some brands to separate the cream from the liquid. If refrigerating, after opening the can, scoop out 1 cup of the thick cream. If not refrigerating, carefully and slowly pour the cream to get your 1-cup measurement. As you pour, you will notice where the cream separates from the watery liquid, so don’t include this liquid.
- Ingredients 411: I use coconut sugar in this recipe, and it gives a beautiful caramel color to the cream. If you don’t have coconut sugar, Sucanat is a good substitute. Or, if using a light-colored un- refined sugar, add a smidgen of molasses (1⁄4 teaspoon or so, not too much as the flavor is strong) to your filling mixture while sim- mering, to help deepen the color.
8. Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites Dietary: soy-free, oil-free, gluten-free option
When you’ve had enough of chocolate (did I just write that?) and want a sweet treat that tastes bright and vibrant and not sugary – these wee bites are just the thing! I think they are lovely for gifting too!
Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites
A delicious tangy, lemony no-bake sweet treat!
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 3/4 cup rolled oats use certified gluten-free for that option
- 1 cup pitted dates I use honey dates
- 1 1/2 - 2 tsp lemon zest can reserve some for coating, if using
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- seeds scraped from one vanilla bean see note; or 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- couple pinches sea salt
- 2 – 3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut as desired
- Optional coating:
- Extra lemon zest about 1/2 tsp; optional
- Few teaspoons each coconut and oats
In a food processor, add the cashews, oats, dates, zest, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, and salt and process. At first it will appear as if nothing is happening, and the mixture is just whirring around crumbly, but soon it will start to become sticky (patience my pretties)! When you see it start to become a little sticky, add the coconut and process again. Continue to process until it forms a ball on the blade. Stop, and then remove the dough. Take small scoops of the dough (about 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp in size) and roll in your hand. Repeat until you have used all of the dough. If using coating, mix ingredients in a small bowl. Toss or roll the balls in the coating if using, and refrigerate. Eat and repeat often!
- To remove the vanilla seeds from the bean pod, slice the bean down the outer side using a sharp tip knife, to open up lengthwise. Press open the sides, and using a blunt (butter) knife, scrape out all the tiny seeds from the bean on both sides, and then add seeds to processor. The pod can be discarded or kept to infuse flavor in other dishes.
- The texture of these bites is somewhat soft, but firms with chilling. For a firmer texture, add another 2 tbsp of rolled oats. These are excellent to pack in school lunches (where nuts are permitted).
9. Raw Chai Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Dietary: soy-free, raw, oil-free, gluten-free
There are some hidden gems in LTEV, and this is one of them. I hope to eventually bring you photos of all the recipes in that book because the photo is what usually inspires us to try the recipe! My thanks to Lisa Pitman for the visual inspiration to try these yummy bars.
Raw Chai Bars
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup raw pecans
- 1/4 tsp sea salt little scant
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- couple pinches ground cardamom
- few pinches ground cloves about 1/16 tsp
- 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped out
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup well packed raw coconut butter (not oil)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw agave nectar
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- couple pinches cinnamon
- Couple pinches sea salt
Line a loaf dish or similarly sized small pan with parchment paper. Place the cashews, dates, and raisins in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts and fruits are crumbly, then add the pecans and the remaining ingredients and process again, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times, until the mixture has come together and becomes sticky (don’t overprocess, as pecans can make mixture too oily if overworked). Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf dish. Press the mixture firmly into the pan (using a small piece of parchment is easiest). Prepare the frosting: Combine all the ingredients in a mini food processor, or mix very well by stirring in a bowl). Smooth the frosting over the base. Refrigerate for an hour or more until set. Cut into bars or squares and serve!
Our list of vegan Christmas cookies must include gingerbread! These Gingerbread Folks from LTEV are not too spicy, and not overly fussy to make. Decorate as simply or elaborately as you like!
- 1 ½ cups + 1 tbsp sifted spelt flour see note
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin coconut oil at room temperature so softened, or can use organic canola oil (see note)
- 1/2 cup unrefined sugar
- 2 tbsp molasses blackstrap or regular cooking molasses
- 2 tbsp non-dairy milk see note
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Simple Gingerbread Icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar see note
- 1½ - 2 tbsp vanilla non-dairy milk 'non-dairy nog' is very nice here!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the coconut oil, sugar, molasses, milk, and maple syrup, beating on medium speed for several minutes until creamy, and stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Mixing at low speed, add the dry mixture about 1⁄2 cup at a time, over about a minute or so. Continue blending until the dough comes together in one or two balls on the paddle, separating cleanly from the inside of the mixing bowl. Transfer to a clean, dry countertop. Roll out the dough to about 1⁄4 inch thick. (If you are having trouble rolling the dough—if it is sticking—sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll your pin on top of the parchment, instead of directly on the dough.) If the dough has become too pliable (this may happen if your room is slightly warm), transfer to the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to firm slightly. Once rolled fairly evenly to 1⁄4 inch thick, use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes. A spatula (offset or regular) will help lift the cookies off your counter and to the prepared baking sheet. Space the cookies at least an inch or so apart. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for at least a couple of minutes. The cookies will firm more as they cool, and even more after they are chilled. Refrigerate the cookies in an airtight container. Decorate as desired, such as with the simple gingerbread icing.
To prepare the icing: In a bowl, mix the sugar with 11⁄2 tablespoons of the milk, until very smooth. Add the extra 1⁄2 tablespoon or so of milk, if needed, to thin mixture to a soft enough consistency that can be squeezed through a piping or resealable plastic bag (snip one corner if using a plastic bag). After decorating the gingerbread, allow the icing to dry on the cookies before stacking.
- Note: I use Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Powdered Sugar, which is powdered sugar made from unrefined cane sugar (rather than icing sugar that is made from white refined sugar). If you cannot find organic powdered sugar, you can easily make your own. To do so, use a blender and combine about 1¼ - 1½ cups of unrefined sugar with 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Blend on a high speed until powdery, scraping down the jug once or twice. The arrowroot or cornstarch may not be needed with a very high-powered blender such as a Vita-mix.
- If This Apron Could Talk: I like the size this batch of dough makes—enough for fifteen or more cookie cutouts. If, however, you prefer to bake in larger quantities, simply double this recipe and bake the cookies in batches. Finish cutting all of your cookies, and then refrigerate the shapes until ready to bake the next batch . . . or refrigerate the dough first and cut out only one batch’s worth at a time as they bake.
- Note: If you are refrigerating the dough for more than 30 to 40 minutes, it will need to soften briefly at room temperature to roll out, as the coconut oil hardens when cooled.
- Ingredients 411: Any nondairy milk can be used, though I like the hint of flavor a soy nog gives to the batter!
11. Vanilla Bean Almond Fudge Dietary: gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free
12. Nanaimo Bars Dietary: soy-free, nut-free option, gluten-free, oil-free
Need I say more? I think the photo captures the decadence of these cookies! This recipe is one of my most pinned, so absolutely give it a try when making vegan Christmas cookies this year!
What are your favorite vegan Christmas cookies? Are you going to try any of these?