Grandma's Sugar Cookies

christmas cookies.jpg

Ah, it's that time of year again! This holiday season I've decided to share our favorite Christmas cookie recipe (from my first cookbook, Radiant Health Inner Wealth). I dedicate this post to my sweet grandma, who passed away a few years ago. I find myself missing her most this time of year. Christmas was "our thing" and we'd make these cookies every week before Christmas, usually with a fire going in the fireplace and some Christmas music on (or movies like A Charlie Brown Christmas or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas playing in the background).

I'd always spend lots of time creating great detail on the cookies, especially when it came to the snowmen, trees, and gingerbread men. Now that I have my own daughter, she does the same thing! (And insists we don't go a year without making these, because "it's our thing, mom.") Funny how we pass down traditions without really trying. 

In fact, this recipe was passed down from my grandma's aunt, who had been like her mother. They used to make the cookies together too, and my great aunt was also a wonderful cook (I still remember her perfect lemon meringue pies!). So, she passed it down to my grandma, who passed it down to me (and I subsequently "veganized" it, although they taste just the same) - and now I am quite confident my daughter will pass it down to her children someday. 

Aren't holiday traditions sweet? 

Grandma's Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies (wet):
1 cup (2 sticks) vegan margarine
2 cups organic sugar
Egg replacer equivalent for 2 eggs (I use Ener-G)
1 cup nondairy sour cream (such as Tofutti)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Sugar Cookies (dry):
5 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon EACH: sea salt and ground nutmeg

Fun Frosting:
½ cup EACH: vegan margarine and nondairy milk (or more if needed)
4 cups organic powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Natural food colorings (found in health food stores), we like Color Kitchen brand

Also Handy for this Recipe:
Sprinkles, assorted (naturally colored if possible)
Rolling pin and cookie cutters

1. To make the cookies: Cream the 1 cup of margarine in a large bowl with electric beaters. Add the sugar and beat it into the margarine until well combined.

2. Whisk the egg replacer mixture (egg replacer powder with the required amount of water) in a small bowl until fluffy, using a wire whisk or fork. The amount you will need varies by brand, so check the box for exact instructions. Add this to the sugar-margarine bowl and combine well using the electric beaters. Set the empty egg replacer bowl aside for the next step.

3. Using the bowl that the egg replacer was in, mix the sour cream with the baking soda. Add that to the main wet mixture and cream with the beaters until well mixed.

4. Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together. Add to the wet mixture and stir well to combine with a spoon.

5. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about a minute.

6. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness, keeping it on the floured area to prevent sticking. Using your cookie cutters, make fun (and/or serious) shapes in the dough. Carefully place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes. Remove gently and allow to cool, preferably on a cooling rack.

7. Repeat step six until all of the dough is used up, dusting the counter with more flour as needed.

8. Continue to allow all (OK, most, let's be real) of the cookies to cool. Next, with electric beaters, whip together the ½ cup margarine and 4 cups powdered sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining frosting ingredients and blend until smooth. At this point, our family’s tradition is to divide the frosting into several small bowls. We then stir a different color into each bowl, using drops of the natural food coloring. Don’t forget to keep a plain bowl so that you have some white frosting as well. Have a blast decorating your cookies!

Makes: far too many cookies (luckily, they make great gifts!); GF (w/ substitution)/Purple (according to the health guidelines in my cookbooks and programs)