Vegan Lemon Ginger Cookies

2.5 dozen regular-sized cookies or 1 dozen extra-large behemoths

Chewy, spicy, citrusy…I’m posting this recipe as back-to-school bliss, perfect for lunch boxes or after-school snacks…or even breakfast.  I am bringing them to my first block Advanced Art and AP Studio students for a sweet treat.

The original recipe was given to  me by my dear friend Allison Price in Nashville, with whom I shared many “study dinners” while we were in graduate school at Vanderbilt preparing for “comps.”   Her contributions were always wholesome and satisfying; homey but with a twist.

I originally veganized this recipe by substituting vegan butter for the dairy butter and Ener-G egg replacer for the egg.  But, I like to limit, whenever possible, my use of what my friend Jo Ann calls “ersatz” ingredients.  So, yesterday, I decided to use 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder for the egg, since 1 egg is equivalent to 1/4 cup liquid and has a little leavening power.  The results were virtually indistinguishable from the original, chock full of spicy, citrusy goodness.

3/4 cup vegan butter (I like Earth Balance), softened

1 cup natural sugar (I like demerera)

1/4 cup molasses

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (approximately 1/4 cup juice; use just 2 tablespoons lemon juice + 2 tablespoons water if you want only a hint of lemon flavor)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup natural sugar

Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  (The mixture will have a little bit of a granular texture because of the coarseness of the natural sugar.)  Beat in molasses, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.   Beat in baking soda, powder, ginger and cinnamon, just until combined.  Then, with the  mixer on low or stirring by hand, incorporate flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until thoroughly combined.  Avoid over-mixing.

Using a small scoop to make regular sized cookies, or an ice cream scoop to make extra-large ones, shape dough into balls, and then roll in remaining 1/4 cup of natural sugar.  Place balls 2-inches apart on lined cookie sheets.  No need to flatten.

Bake regular-sized cookies for 10 minutes or extra-large ones for 20.  Cookies should be set, but slightly soft in the center.  Remove the sheets from the oven to a wire rack.  Now, if you prefer them flatter as I do, press each top gently with a spatula or, if cool enough, with you fingers. Store in airtight containers at room temperature.

Note: Lisa from Sweet as Sugar Cookies stopped by last week and invited me to her “Linky Party” to post a link to my Vegan Ginger-Spice Caramel Pecan Rolls.  So I did, but I also linked to this recipe, another favorite ginger-scented treat.  Though her website isn’t vegan, you will find loads of ideas for sweet things just waiting to be veganized.  I have my eye on a beet mousse!

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