Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let's Make a Trade: Dairy Edition (with Sugar Cookies)


Hello everyone!

So as I mentioned in my last post, I tend to do a LOT of baking over the holidays.  I’ve already shared my dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, so now let’s talk about dairy-free sugar cookies!

I have to admit that sugar cookies were never my favorite.  I don’t know if it was the lack of chocolate chips or the crumbliness of the cookie that didn’t appeal to me, but as a child, I would always take a chocolate chip cookie over a sugar cookie.  But, after experimenting for a few years with my own recipes, and spinning off of grandma’s recipes, I’ve finally got a sugar cookie that I enjoy, and thankfully, my whole family enjoys!

The thing that I think really makes this recipe great is the use of shortening instead of butter – for both the cookie and the icing.  The shortening will make these cookies VERY light and soft, and will pretty much retain whatever cookie cutter shape you make, rather than having the cookie spread and expand until you can’t recognize its shape.  So all that being said, let’s get to the cookies!

The Allergic Baker’s Sugar Cookies
Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes

-    2 ¾ cup flour (if you need a gluten-free cookie, use white rice flour)
- 1  teaspoon baking soda
-    ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-    1 cup of all vegetable shortening
-    1 egg (for an egg-free cookie, 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon veggie oil + 2 teaspoons baking powder for the 1 egg)

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, combining with a fork.  Mix it as much as you can with a fork, then knead the dough by hand. (Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before doing so!)  From here, you can either scoop the dough in rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet, or you can spread the dough on a clean surface and use your favorite cookie cutters to make fun shapes.  Since we have a few martial artists in my family, I chose to cut out these cookies using ThinkGeek’s Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters.  Let bake for 10-12 minutes, then let cool completely.

Now I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but I love icing.  And I mean LOVE icing.  But, most frosting and icings are made with butter, right?  Well not on this blog! :D Here’s my recipe for dairy-free icing that I used on my ninja sugar cookies!

The Allergic Baker’s Dairy-Free Icing

-          1 ½ cups powdered sugar
-          1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
-          1 tablespoon water

Mix all these together with a fork with vigorous strokes until they’re all combined.  If you want your icing to be thicker (like a buttercream frosting), then add powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you reach the desired thickness.  If the icing seems too thick for your tastes, or if you find that you’re having a hard time getting all the ingredients to combine, add water by the teaspoon until you reach your desired thickness. 

Also, if you want to have chocolate icing WITHOUT the dairy, add Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder by the teaspoonful until your desired level of chocolate-y-ness has been reached!  Now I know alot of allergic families out there may be saying, "Wait - dairy-free CHOCOLATE frosting can be made with Hershey's?"  And the answer is YES.  According to Hershey's customer service, their unsweetened cocoa powder, which can be found easily in the baking aisle of your local grocery, contains no dairy.  Cocoa powder is actually made from cacao beans, and you can find more info about that process here.  But again, Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder has NO DAIRY, so it's safe to add to this icing/frosting recipe to make a chocolate-y treat!
In the case of our ninja sugar cookies, I used the regular icing to cover the cookies, and then chocolate icing to outline/decorate the cookies.  Here’s how they turned out!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and keep kicking-butt in the kitchen! ;)

Happy Baking,
The Allergic Baker

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