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1 cup dairy-free butter (Earth Balance), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered confectioners sugar
1 egg replacer (1 TBL Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer whisked with 3 TBL water)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

In a stand mixer, combine dairy-free butter, sugar and powered sugar. Beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl until combined and creamy. Add in prepared egg replacer and vanilla and beat until well mixed. Reduce speed to low and add in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Scrap down sides of bowl and continue to beat until combined. Divide dough and wrap each half in saran wrap (plastic wrap). Freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Flour a flat surface to roll out the dough. Roll out one half of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness, keeping the other in the freezer until ready to use.  Use cookie cutters to cut out dough and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack or parchment paper to cool completely before icing and decorating.

Makes about 4-5 dozen, depending on the size of cookie cutters used.

Decorate to your liking. Use Lemony Icing recipe for a lemon flavor. Or try pre-made dairy-free icings in a variety of colors, or this icing recipe:

Icing:
5 cups powdered sugar
4 TBL water
2 TBL dairy-free butter (Earth Balance), softened
2 TBL light corn syrup
food colors of your choice

In a medium bowl, add all icing ingredients and beat at medium speed until combined. Adjust consistency by adding 1/2 tsp of water at a time. Tint with various colors in separate bowls. Decorate cookies with icing and let stand until hardened, about 6 hours or overnight.

Tips: I like to line my baking sheets with parchment paper for even baking and easy cleanup.

Rather than icing all of the cookies, try sprinkling cut-outs with sanding sugars and gently press into the dough before baking.

Finished cookies keep well in the freezer in an air tight container or zip-lock freezer baggie. They even taste great when frozen.

If you give away as holiday gifts, always use food grade clear wrap bags. Container Store or baking supply shops will sell these.

Make a double batch of dough and keep half frozen for the next holiday. This recipe is great for all holidays.

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Brazil Nuts (raw)
Macadamia Nuts (dry roasted unsalted)
Marcona Almonds (roasted and salted, can use other almonds, but these are my favorite)
Cashew Pieces (roasted and unsalted)
Walnuts (raw pieces)
Pecans (raw and unsalted pieces)
Sunflower Seeds (raw and unsalted)
Pumpkin Seeds (raw and unsalted)

In a medium size bowl, mix together all nuts and seeds, using 1/4 cup each. You can always add in a little more of what you enjoy most. Eat a handful as a snack for a quick protein energy boost.

You can also add in raw pepitas and pistachio nutmeats (dry roasted, unsalted halves & pieces).

Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of nuts and seeds at reasonable prices. I get my pumpkin seeds at Whole Foods.

The Story of Nuts:
Many people avoid nuts because they are high in calories and fat. Nuts are a great source of protein and do contain fat, but this is the type of fat you want in your diet. Nuts provide unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), delivering omega-3. Eating nuts can help lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts provide many vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. They contain fiber, vitamin E, selenium, folic acid, copper, magnesium, boron and the amino acid arginine, which boosts the immune system and lowers elevated blood pressure levels. The plant sterols in nuts help to reduce cholesterol absorption from fatty foods.  Some nuts, like pecans, walnuts and almonds, contain tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin, the happy feel-good hormone, which can help against depression. Here are a few of my favorites:

Almonds – this nut comes in many varieties and can be used in all sorts of recipes. Almonds are probably the most nutritious of nuts, delivering magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin E, zinc, and lots of protein.

Brazil Nuts – a provider of selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals that can attack healthy cells and increase the risk of heart disease and various forms of cancers, like breast, lung, bowel, and prostate. Rich in zinc and magnesium, Brazil Nuts are great for anti-aging.

Cashews – provider of a high iron content, as well as zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and are rich in protein and carbohydrates.

Macadamia Nuts – this nut has the highest level of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) over any other nut, but can lower harmful blood cholesterol.

Pistachios – you can buy the ‘nutmeats’ already removed from the shells, or in a shell, but then you have to work for the nut. Pistachios are high in iron, protein, fiber, and magnesium and make a delicious topping on roasted butternut squash.

Walnuts – this is the only nut high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, so eating these after you consume fatty foods help disperse the saturated fats and lower triglycerides. Saturated fats come from animal protein and dairy products, so cut these out of your diet to be a true vegan.

You can consume from 1-2 oz of nuts per day. It is best to mix so you consume a variety and take advantage of the benefits each nut provides. Always look for nuts that are raw and unsalted. Store nuts in the refrigerator to keep fresh.  

Buy nut butters and seed butters (my favorite is Sunflower Seed Butter Trader Joe’s), but read ingredients to make sure you are buying unsaturated fats (mono and poly). The butters will have the oil separated, so you will need to stir to combine before each use. Some need to be refrigerated, so read the container.

Allergies can be an issue for some, so know what you cannot eat if you do have allergies. An allergy from nuts can result in a skin rash or hoarseness in the throat.

A mix of nuts makes a delicious and satisfying movie-going snack. For sweet and salty, I like to add in a few chocolate chip vegan morsels along with a couple of pretzels broken into pieces. Get creative!

1 1/2 sticks of dairy-free butter (3/4 cups) (Earth Balance)
3 cups sugar
5 oz of Mimic Creme (cream substitute)
1 1/2 packages of chocolate chip morsels (Whole Foods 365 vegan green bag)
1 10 oz container Ricemellow Creme
2 tsp vanilla
walnuts for topping
marshmallows (Dandies air-puffed marshmallows) for topping

Line 9×13 or smaller pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to line the inside sides of the pan. This will make it easy to remove the fudge once chilled.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter, sugar and mimic creme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium so it still boils but not over-boils. Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes while mixture boils and froths.

Remove from heat, add in vanilla, chocolate chip morsels and ricemellow creme.  Mix well until combined. Spread in lined pan and let set for 1 minute. Add marshmallows and walnuts (optional) and gently press into top of fudge. Adding marshmallows and walnuts turns this into rocky road. Freeze or refrigerate for 5-6 hours before removing from the pan and cutting. Once cut, store in airtight container and refrigerate or freeze.

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup Earth Balance, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer 2 TBL replacer whisked with 6 TBL water)
2 cups chocolate chip morsels (Whole Foods Vegan) *I like to add in an extra ¼ cup
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. While on low speed, slowly add egg replacer (already mixed and whisked with water). Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined. On low speed add in chocolate chip morsels and nuts, if using, and combine for approx. 30 seconds. Using a rounded tablespoon, drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. Enjoy with your favorite milk alternative (Rice, Almond or Soy)!

If you live in higher elevation (5200 feet), increase flour to 2 ½ cups and add 2 tsp water with flour. Reduce granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

They keep great in the freezer, just put in a ziplock bag.

1 graham cracker pie crust (Arrowhead Mills free of dairy and honey)
2 TBL dairy-free butter (Earth Balance), melted
1 bag chocolate chip morsels (Whole Foods 365 brand green bag is vegan)
dairy-free sweetened condensed milk (Soymilke condensada de soya)
bag of coconut (I used raw flakes, but you can use what ever coconut you prefer)

Melt dairy-free butter. In a small bowl, turn out graham cracker crust and add melted butter replacement. Mix with hands to combine. Press crust into pan to cover the bottom of the pan (use 1 9×11, or several small tart pans or any dish that you choose). Layer in the following: chocolate chips, drizzle on sweetened condensed dairy-free milk, then coconut. There is no set amount, just layer in to your liking. Repeat the chocolate, milk, coconut layer 3 times. Bake for 25 minutes (tent with aluminum foil if coconut starts to brown too much). Coconut should take on a slightly brown toasted color.

Remove from oven and let cool. Turn out onto a plate and then back onto another plate so it is face up. Cut into small bitesize pieces and enjoy.

Tips: To thin out the condensed milk so it drizzles , place can in a bowl of hot water so most of the can is sitting in the hot water. Let stand for 1 minute, shake well and open.

Order Soymilke sweetened condensed dairy-free milk for this recipe from Pangea The Vegan Store