Perfect for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or really any time you need a treat, these soft frosted vegan red velvet cookies are delightful!
Late last January, I read about a challenge called “Veganuary” where one commits to a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. It’s touted as a good way to stick to healthier eating resolutions and try the vegan way of eating. I’m always up for a challenge, and decided to give it a try in February. Why not? I didn’t make the month – it’s incredibly challenging to eat as a soy-limiting vegan when no one else in the house is doing the same – but I did expand our repertoire a bit. I even convinced the Godfather he’ll eat tofu and like it on occasion. And he discovered exactly how many easy vegan meals I sneak into our diet without him even noticing… because vegetables.
Of course, it’s crazy to think that any “vegan” recipe is automatically healthy. Have you even tried my vegan lemon cake? Not healthy, quite good. These vegan red velvet cookies are also not making the “healthy foods list” anytime soon, but they’re delicious. And with the holidays and cookie season here, this recipe is handy to have on hand if you have friends with special diets – vegan, or with dairy and/or egg allergies. I can’t imagine life without dessert, they shouldn’t have to either!
I do call for red food coloring in my recipe – many commercial colors may contain additives derived from animal products. Look for something like the India Tree dyes or some natural food stores are now selling powdered colors free of animal products. This isn’t something non-vegans typically think about, which is why I’m making a point to mention it here. You can also omit the color altogether. It just won’t be as vibrant as the picture since the traditional “red” color in red velvet happens with the chemical reaction between the chocolate, vinegar, and milk. Don’t skip the vinegar. It’s not red velvet without a bit of vinegar tang. 😉
The frosting on these cookies doesn’t crust, so they aren’t good for stacking. Serve them single layer on a platter, then cover and refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container up to a week if they last that long, because you definitely don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these cookies! Happy baking, darlings!
- 1/2 cup almond milk, or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp neutral-flavored oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- a few drops vegan-friendly red food coloring, optional
- 4 ounces vegan cream cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt, if needed
- Preheat your oven to 375 F, and line 2 sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside
- In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vinegar, set aside for a few minutes to "curdle"
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the dry ingredients.
- Stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then slowly add to the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Add the red food coloring now, if using.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to portion out the cookies on a baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking
- Allow the cookies to cool on the sheets, then use a spatula to remove.
- Make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time!) until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and salt (if using).
- Spread frosting on completely cooled cookies using an offset spatula. Enjoy!