Category Archives: aquafaba

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

I am delighted to present this recipe as part of the Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange. This my fourth year participating in this event during which food bloggers post holiday cookies, raise awareness and donate money in support of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We believe in their mission to raise funds for innovative pediatric cancer treatments and research through bake sales and cookie swaps. Many supporters (“Good Cookies”) do this throughout the year, and I am happy to contribute by participating in the Sweetest Season. If you’d like to learn more and/or make a charitable donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, click here. For cookies, keep scrolling!

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

I’ve spent years making different variations on gingerbread cookies, and though I will go to the mattresses for my Maple Spice Stars, I think these Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies are my best to date. They’re sweet and snappy, and if I didn’t outright tell you that they are egg, dairy, and flour-free, you’d never know it. They just taste like Christmas.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

These sweet little cookie people are every bit the soul-warming ginger-spiced cookies we all know and love, just made more accessible. Baking is rarely something I do with only myself in mind and that goes double for the holiday season; it makes perfect sense to have recipes that can feed more of my community in my repertoire. My community happens to include a lot of people who are gluten-free or vegan or both, so these festive treats certainly fit the bill!

Let’s talk process. This dough is simple and straightforward, relying on easy-to-find ingredients like almond flour, vegan butter, and confectioner’s sugar in addition to classic gingerbread fare like molasses, brown sugar, and a bevy of spices. It takes just minutes to mix up and only needs an hourlong chill before it’s ready to roll and cut. You can use any cookie cutter you like, of course, but I am a sucker for classic gingerbread people. So cute!

Baking is business as usual. These little buddies take 12-14 minutes at 325F, with crisper results coming more toward the 14 minute mark. Heads up: keep an eye on them in that last minute so they don’t over-brown. Even if they do get a little overdone though, you can fix them right up with icing. Vegan Royal Icing to be exact!

Where classic royal icing is made with egg whites, the vegan stuff uses my favorite egg replacer ever: aquafaba! Yep, the liquid from a can of chickpeas is the secret to pipeable, reliable egg-free royal icing! Its protein structure allows it to whip up just like egg whites do, making it a perfect 1:1 replacement here.

With the exception of swapping aquafaba for my usual mix of water and meringue powder, this Vegan Royal Icing comes together exactly the same way as my traditional recipe, and is just as delicious! I used the icing as-is for decoration, but feel free to dye it any color you like or to thin it for making flood icing if you’re interested in more intricate designs.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Oh, and for those concerned, this icing doesn’t taste like beans at all—it just tastes like icing.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

And these vegan, gluten-free gingerbread cookies? They just taste like Christmas.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

3 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For decoration:
Vegan Royal Icing (recipe below)
sprinkles of choice

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In a separate medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add dark brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar and beat until fully combined (about 2 minutes). Beat in molasses and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Dough may look rubbly, but should hold together extremely well when pinched.

Divide dough in two. Form each half into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Use confectioner’s sugar to dust a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. A thin offset icing spatula or bench scraper (or similar) will make moving the dough much easier, as will adding more confectioner’s sugar to the surface and rolling pin.

Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes, then use the icing spatula to move them to the prepared pans, keeping them 1.5-2 inches apart. Bake cookies 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 7 minute mark.

Let cookies cool 10 minutes on their pans. Use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking as needed, re-rolling scraps as needed. Let cookie sheets come to room temperature between batches.

Once cookies are all baked and cooled, decorate with Vegan Royal Icing (recipe below) and sprinkles. Let cookies dry at least 8 hours before layering with parchment paper and stacking.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for at least a week.
Vegan Royal Icing
makes more than enough for 1 batch of gingerbread cookies

1/3 cup aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioner's sugar, divided
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Special Equipment:
gel food coloring
piping bags (or plastic sandwich bags)
small round piping tips and couplers
sprinkles

Beat aquafaba and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until doubled in size, about 1 minute. Mix in vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add half of the confectioner's sugar. Mix in corn syrup. Add the remaining half of confectioner's sugar. Scrape down the bowl before beating on medium-low for an additional 30 seconds.

To ice as pictured here, transfer 1/4 of the icing to a piping bag fitted with a coupler and tip. Ice as desired, sprinkling with any sprinkles immediately after piping (the icing hardens very quickly). Let cookies dry in a single layer uncovered for at least 8 hours, or until fully dry, before stacking.

For storage, press plastic wrap to the surface of your container of Vegan Royal Icing, it may be kept covered at room temperature for up to four days or in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Beat with a mixer before using, as it may slowly separate over time. If if needs to be thinned, add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds.

For information on more intricate decorating like outline/fill icing, using multiple colors, etc., click here.

Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}This is just to let you know that if, on the second night of vacation, you make dinner for your friends, clean up, and still have the urge to make Peanut Butter Cookies…well, that’s an urge you should follow. And if you have the urge to make them again when you return home, just go with it. The dough will only take you a minute—it’s a dump & mix situation—and they’ll hit the spot because of course they will. They’re Peanut Butter Cookies!Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Did I mention that they’re vegan and grain-free? Because they are. This recipe is the lightest twist on the classic three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe that’s all over the internet. In case you’ve missed it, you can combine 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1 large egg, scoop & bake, and get some pretty incredible chewy peanut butter cookies out of the deal. If you haven’t, you should give them a try, or go for any of the many variations I’ve made over the years. Or, you know, make this recipe I’m babbling about.Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Here, I’ve kept it pretty traditional. I added a few extra ingredients like brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, some salt and vanilla, but the dough still comes together in moments. In order to keep the cookies vegan, I swapped the egg for an equal volume of aquafaba, otherwise known as chickpea canning liquid. It’s my egg substitute of choice—no, it won’t make your cookies taste beany—but you can use a flax egg or whatever egg substitute you like or just use an actual egg if you’re not trying to make vegan, gluten-free cookies for your vegan, gluten-free friend.Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}I’ve also added a short twenty-minute chill to this recipe, but it’s not strictly necessary and your cookies will work without it. They’ll just be a little thinner than mine. Whatever you do, don’t skip crosshatching the tops of your cookies with a fork. I don’t know where this started or why we do this to peanut butter cookies, but I’m pretty sure it’s the law.Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}What? I don’t make the rules. I just break ‘em. Like finishing these Peanut Butter Cookies off with the easiest chocolate-peanut butter drizzle and some chopped peanuts. Is this necessary? No. But it’s pretty and freaking delicious. And really, when it comes to Peanut Butter Cookies, the “freaking delicious” part is all that matters.Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}
makes 22-24 cookies

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
dash of ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons aquafaba
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For chocolate-peanut butter drizzle & garnish (optional):
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, finely chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, aquafaba and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to beat for one minute, until well-combined. Chill cookie dough for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop cookie dough in 1 tablespoon increments, roll into balls, and place at least 3 inches apart on prepared pans.

Make the crosshatches. Lightly grease the back of a fork. Press the back of the fork into each dough ball, then turn the fork 90 degrees and press again.

Bake cookies 8-10 minutes, until turning golden at the edges. Let cookies cool on their pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with remaining dough, making sure to let baking sheets return to room temperature between batches.

To make the chocolate-peanut butter drizzle, combine chocolate and peanut butter together in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Drizzle over cookies as desired. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired. Drizzle will set over time, but this may be expedited by freezing the finished cookies for 10 or so minutes.

Serve. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Layer cookies with wax paper or parchment.

Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}Peanut Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The last morning on Swan’s Island is usually a bit of a bummer. Sure, we’re still on-island for the day, but the thought of leaving on the following morning’s early ferry is looming. We’ve accepted that this will not be the year that we canoe. The only thing left on our “must” list is to hike around the lighthouse. It’s time to buy the things we’ve been eyeing at the vintage/antiques stores all week. To go say goodbye to the couple that owns the general store—after five summers, we’re on a first name basis. It’s time to take our recycling and garbage to the transfer station.*

*It’s not all fairy princess magic time, even though there is something sort of endearing about the whole process. I wish NYC waste disposal were so adorable.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}But it’s also time for one last good breakfast. Since VJ bought herself a waffle iron a couple of years ago, waffles have been a vacation must for us. She usually takes the helm on that, veganizing a very good gluten-free mix and serving up breakfasts that I am more than happy to eat on the cove-facing patio, but she politely agreed to my request to “mess with the waffle iron” this year.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Initially, she may have regretted this. I had it in my head that my Cornmeal Pancake batter would work just as well in a waffle iron. Truly, I was so sure of this that I was congratulating myself weeks ahead of time for being such a culinary genius and had practically already written the accompanying blog post.

I should probably mention that I had never made a waffle from scratch before.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}You can see where this is going—the first round was akin to cornmeal styrofoam. Turns out, waffle batter generally needs to be thinner than pancake batter, lest the final product be tough, dry and heavy. We ate the waffles anyway (bad waffles are still waffles), but it took two days and neither of us was particularly jazzed about it. Needless to say, I was a little disheartened, and spent a couple of days writing and rewriting the recipe until I was ready to try again on the final morning.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}As I began mixing together dry ingredients and measuring out aquafaba and oil, I started to worry that round two would be disastrous too, but I ladled the batter into the iron anyway. VJ and I had an unspoken agreement that we would eat the results, no matter how awful.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}But we were pleasantly surprised. My adjustments—reducing the cornmeal and doubling the aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid/egg substitute)—had worked, producing lighter, softer waffles with crisp edges and a good corn flavor. We finished them in one sitting. No arduous styrofoam-esque breakfasts here!Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Long story short, in addition to my haul from the vintage stores, this vacation also resulted in my purchase of a waffle maker. I’ve been home for about six days now and have already gotten a good return on my investment: I’ve made this recipe four six more times. You know, just to be sure they’re worthwhile. And also because I like having a freezer full of waffles.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 8-10 4-inch waffles

If you do not want/need these waffles to be vegan, two large eggs may be substituted for the aquafaba.

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
~1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning/cooking liquid)
6 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the waffle iron:
cooking spray

For serving (optional):
salted butter (traditional or vegan)
warmed maple syrup
seasonal fruit

Preheat oven to 200F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Heat waffle iron according to package directions.

Pour vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add just enough almond milk to reach the 1 cup mark. Stir and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together aquafaba, oil, almond milk mixture and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk to combine.

Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour 1/3-1/2 cup (depending on the size of your waffle iron) of the waffle batter into each well of the iron and close the top. Let cook until steam dissipates and the waffles are turning golden at the edges and divots, about 6 minutes.

Transfer cooked waffles to the prepared rack-over-pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Re-grease the waffle iron and cook remaining batter.

Serve waffles with butter, warmed maple syrup, and seasonal fruit, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Leftovers may be layered with parchment, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the toaster.Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cornmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Cashew butter cookies began as a last-minute recipe a couple of years ago, but now they’re one of my favorite things. Every time I finish testing and posting one version, I start formulating another.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}I started dreaming of these Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies when I posted their classic chocolate chip sisters last spring. As with many of my recipes, they were in the back of my mind for months before I ever cracked open a jar of creamy cashew butter and started playing around. But once I did…whoa.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}These thick, puffy, chewy chocolate cookies are so, so good. And vegan. And grain-free. And dead-easy. Just…what?! Give me alllllll the cashew butter cookies!Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}This is a one-bowl, no-mixer, no-chill, cookies-within-30-minutes-of-a-craving recipe. Oh, and should you have some modicum of self-control, these two-bite treats keep incredibly well at room temperature for upwards of a week. In fact, I think they get better as time goes on. The buttery cashew flavor mellows and melds with the cocoa and chocolate chips, and the results are brownie-like and wonderful ❤Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}I find good quality, reasonably-priced cashew butter at Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t happen to live in a spot smack in between two TJ’s, never fear. I haven’t tried it, but I am 96% sure you could make these with well-stirred natural peanut butter. And honestly, I think the only way to improve this recipe would be to add peanut butter.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}
makes about 2 dozen small cookies

1 cup creamy-style cashew butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid) or 1 flax egg*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cashew butter, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Mix in aquafaba (or flax egg) and vanilla. Fold in dairy-free chocolate chips.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and form into balls. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared pans and press down to flatten. Bake 10-11 minutes, until puffy and no longer wet looking. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Top warm cookies with more chocolate chips, if desired. Repeat baking process with any remaining dough.

Let cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep well at room temperature for at least a week.

Note:

To make a flax egg, use a fork to whisk together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons warm water. Let sit for five minutes, until thickened. Continue with recipe as written.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Hello from Swan’s Island!Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}VJ and I got here Saturday afternoon. It was supposed to be us and two more that day, but due to a work snafu, they didn’t join us until yesterday. Thank goodness for our other guest, my sister, EliotBlueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Since it’s just been the two of us these last few days, meals have been simple. As I’ve mentioned many (many, many, many) times, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. I am neither of those things, but it simply doesn’t make sense to make meat or floury baked goods just for me. I made scrambled eggs and ate a piece of avocado toast, but it was all vegan and gluten-free otherwise.

I’m not complaining.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}While everyone else I know was going to work Monday morning, I made this Blueberry Baked Oatmeal for us. Made with gluten-free old-fashioned oats, rice milk,* and aquafaba in place of eggs, it was the perfect way to start the day. And also the next day—it makes enough for six people.

*You could use almond milk or another unsweetened non-dairy milk, but we have a nut-allergic friend here and we’d like not to poison him, you know?Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This oatmeal is super simple to make. With just a few minutes of prep-work and 40 minutes of bake time, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, cinnamon-spiked oatmeal that is positively bursting with blueberries.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}You just need two bowls and a stirring implement to put it together, and you probably have all the ingredients already (with the possible exception of blueberries).Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}VJ and I prefer our oatmeal on the sweet side, so I used 1/2 cup maple syrup here. If you’d like a less-sweet breakfast, you can reduce it to 1/4 cup.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Feel free to add nuts or seeds (toast them with the oats!), or stir in coconut flakes or mashed banana. Everything we eat on Swan’s Island comes from one pre-ferry grocery trip on the mainland, so meals are paired down and simple. I like this oatmeal as-is with an additional drizzle of maple and a pat of butter, but that’s just me.As with many of the recipes on this site, this recipe can be made with many variations. Feel free to take my favorite and make it yours.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 6 servings

2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-grated lemon zest
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
6 tablespoons aquafaba (or 2 large eggs or 2 flax eggs)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (may be reduced to 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh blueberries, divided

For serving:
maple syrup
butter (vegan or regular)
yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or other casserole dish. Set aside.

Place oats on a dry rimmed baking sheet (or other large pan) and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk, aquafaba, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Stir in oat mixture.

Reserve 1/4 cup blueberries for topping. Scatter remaining blueberries in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add oatmeal mixture over the top and spread out as evenly as you can. Dot with remaining blueberries. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is lightly set.

Let oatmeal cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with additional maple syrup, butter, and/or yogurt. Oatmeal is best warm or at room temperature.

Leftover oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}