Candy Cane Italian Wedding Cookies
Updated: Dec 19, 2021
Santa's got a brand new bag...of vegan cookies, I mean! These cookies are amazingly light, melt-in-your-mouth, peppermint-y delights. Every single bite of these lovelies made me think (scream!), I heart peppermint ice cream.
Christmas cookies are only a "thing" in my house because my husband doesn't eat sweets, and if he does, it's only cookies (or a specific candy coated chocolate that ensconces a peanut inside). Christmas cookies abound where I live in the Chicagoland region with cookie swaps and generational days of "baking" being the norm. And, it surprised me how pervasive this tradition was when I moved here long ago.
Now, it has become a part of our traditions as well, both veganized AND simplified. I admire my friends and relatives that can make confection masterpieces. I know a lovely lady who makes gourmet bakery style macrons (fully shaped into people, animals, etc). I know another who has a very demanding job, but stays up late, when she can, to bake her traditional masterpieces from old world recipes brought here from the first immigrants and passed down through generations. Yet another, spends an entire day with family making batch after batch of over 20 types of cookies; from complex to simple.
I'm going to tell you a little secret. I don't particularly like cookies (shhhhh....don't tell the others) and so I'm never in the mood to spend a lot of time on these desserts. I make them for my family and I make them "weird" for me = ).
Enter these lovely twisted cookies; easy (food process, scoop and bake), holiday flavored (candy cane!), and vegan. Love it!
Sustainability Spotlight: Simple; just like these cookies. Waste not, want not! The holidays are about indulgence and can be excessive. All the indulgences and excess leads to great piles of waste. Food waste, paper wrapping waste, packaging waste, disposable dishes and silverware waste, etc. As we enter this last week before the celebrations really begin, think about the ways you can commit to reducing that waste. Maybe it's a present that you gift in a reusable bag. Maybe it's a low or zero waste small party for friends and family (reusable everything; it will wash)! Perhaps it is meal planning and using leftovers in a unique way (i.e. - change those leftover potatoes into a topping for a Shepherd's Pie or potato cakes). Anyway you try to reduce the waste that the holidays generate, the better for you, me, the planet and the next generations of Christmas cookie bakers for many years to come!
1 cup vegan butter (cut into pieces to incorporate easier)
2 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 cup almond flour
1.5 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus 3 tbsp for dusting)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup crushed candy canes (or peppermints)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F on convection setting (if you have it)
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (note, you CAN in most places recycle this paper for cookies - just remove any food bits or powdered sugar once cooled and then recycle).
Add all ingredients to the bowl of a large food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
Process (pulse) just until the ingredients are incorporated and a dough ball forms.
Remove bowl from the processor and using a small (1 tbsp ice cream) scoop, scoop out portions of the dough. Use the side of the food processor to "pack" the dough into the scoop and scrape excess cookie dough from the bottom / sides.
Plop each dough ball onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet evenly (I got about 30-35 balls from this recipe).
Slide sheets into the oven onto separate racks of the oven and bake for ~15 minutes (or just until the cookies are golden on the edges of the bottom).
Let cool on sheets for ~2 minutes and dust with more powdered sugar and crushed candy cane (if desired).
Remove cookies from sheets and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Enjoy immediately for best results; can be stored for up to 4 days in an air tight container.
With love and hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie