vegan & gluten-free heart cookies with vegan beet frosting
During my last year at Penn State, my friends and I baked and decorated heart cookies to hand deliver to the CATA bus drivers for Valentine’s Day. It was super fun hopping from bus to bus with the only purpose of delivering an edible valentine to the driver. The cookies totally rocked their V day, but I’m not so sure they rocked their bodies. I hope the joy of receiving a heart cookie canceled out their downside: white flour, white sugar, and pink easy squeeze frosting that most likely contained corn syrup, red #40, and hydrogenated soybean oil. These kind of ingredients do not bless any body with health.
When I was a kid, every year my mom used Betty’s sugar cookie recipe to make heart cut outs for Valentine’s Day. Have you noticed that I love to call B.C. “Betty”? The recipe is in her early 1980s orange cookbook I showed you before, but you can find the same one here. Betty makes THE BEST cut out cookies if you want to eat that kind of junk. The almond extract gives it a blue ribbon award for flavor, and the texture of the cookie is unlike any other roll out I have ever known. That may not sound very convincing to you, since I eat archerfriendly now, but I ate a LOT of sugar cookies growing up. The ones other people made for us were terrible in comparison, and not worth the mark they left on the beta cells of my pancreas. If you’re going to eat junk, might as well make sure it’s good tasting junk, instead of poisoning your body with mediocre junk. That’s a waste of beta cell hypertrophy.
Betty would be proud of her healthy, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free replica cookies. They are minimally sweetened with one pureed pear and 6 dried Turkish apricots, but maximally sweetened with stevia. I never hold back on that. The only catch to them is that they are fragile when fresh out of the oven and also at room temperature. They need to be refrigerated for several hours prior to frosting them and should also be stored in the fridge.
The beet frosting makes me wish I could buy these in my local coffee shop, since it adds an eye catching wow factor and wins the prize for most unique. It’s the first time I’ve made it, so the recipe is more of a semi-successful experiment that makes more than you need for the cookies. I wouldn’t have been able to make a smaller batch, since I need a certain amount of volume for my Vitamix to work well. The excess can be re-purposed on top of toast or used as a salad dressing base. I went for the latter with my leftovers, but it didn’t fly with the Wendy’s Eating Husband. He kept saying it left a funny aftertaste on his tongue.
This is a Valentine’s Day treat that can truly bless a body with wellness.
If you’re not gluten-free, or everything free, but you don’t want the sugar in your sugar cookies, you can try making the cookies without the sugar. That’s how I began baking sugarless. You just take it out and see what happens, and each time you make them again, you figure out what you need in place of the sugar and how to adjust the recipe.
I like the reminder of blessing those who may be forgotten on Valentine’s Day. Who’s outside your inner circle that needs a little love on V-Day? How can you bless them with love and wellness?
Sugarless Sugar Cookies
Makes about 60 heart cookies of various sizes
- 2 1/4 cups GF oat flour
- 1 cup ground golden flax seeds
- 1/2 cup white bean flour
- 2 Tablespoons acacia fiber
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered stevia
- 1 cup organic virgin coconut oil
- 3/4 cup pureed pear (with skin)
- 6 organic unsulphured Turkish apricots
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients together, except for the baking soda and cream of tartar. Ensure there are no lumps.
- In a Vitamix or food processor, blend wet ingredients together. Blending will work best with coconut oil that is warm.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Thoroughly mix.
- Add baking soda and cream of tartar into the dough. Thoroughly mix.
- Refrigerate dough for at least two hours. Dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours. Depending on how long dough is refrigerated, it may need to sit at room temperature for a little bit prior to rolling.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Before rolling dough with a rolling pin, work it into a ball with your hands. Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick onto an oat floured working surface, and cut into desired shapes.
- Carefully transfer cookie cut outs to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 375°F for 7-9 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes prior to transfer.
- Cookies are very fragile when hot. After they are cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for at least two hours prior to frosting them. Store frosted cookies in the refrigerator.
Beet Cookie Frosting Experiment
- 1 medium sized cooked beet
- 2 Tablespoons leftover beet cooking water
- 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil, warmed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid stevia extract (less if you’re not a stevia addict)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
Blend in Vitamix or food processor. Frost cookies before storing in refrigerator.