Bring on the Cookies! 4 Delicious Plant-Based Holiday Treats

Snowballs, macaroons, holiday spice, jam dots — we’ve got all the classics covered.
December 3, 2019 Leave your thoughts 4.5 min read

If you’re like us, the holidays just aren’t complete without a big plate of festive, beautiful, addictive cookies. Whether you love to bake and enjoy the fun of spending a long afternoon mixing and decorating, or you’re an avid cookie monster who can’t wait to start nibbling those goodies just as fast as they come out of the oven, holiday treats are a must this season!

We’ve put together a collection of recipes that is sure to satisfy every kind of cookie lover in your family, from sugary-sweet snowballs, to chocolatey macaroons, to traditional holiday spice cookies, to comforting nut-butter jam dots. And with all of these cookies plant-based, you can feel good about celebrating with ingredients that are better for your body and the planet. So go ahead, grab another!

Snowballs

These powdery treats are a play on traditional Russian tea cookies, with a crumbly, buttery cookie rolled in a thick coating of confectioner’s sugar. Chopped pecans and walnuts give these cookies their satisfying, nutty texture, while maple sugar gives them a uniquely rustic flavor. Be prepared to eat these cookies in one bite if you want to avoid a snowfall of powdered sugar on your lap!

Quantity: 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plant-based butter or margarine
  • ½ cup maple sugar or cane sugar
  • 2½ cups unbleached flour
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1-2 tbs unsweetened almond milk
  • Powdered sugar for coating after baking

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients well.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Roll dough into ½-inch balls.

5. Bake for 12 minutes until golden and browning edges.

6. Cool and toss in powdered sugar, fully coating each cookie.

Chocolate Macaroons

This one is for the chocolate lover! Packed with shredded coconut, chopped dates and cocoa powder, these are like decadent holiday-flavored bombs. Beside the rich flavors of chocolate and coconut, we love the texture of these cookies, with a soft, gooey center and crunchy shards of toasted coconut around the edges. Watch out, the aroma of warm chocolate and coconut as these treats bake is sure to lure your family’s cookie taste-testers to your kitchen.

Quantity: 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3½ cups shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1¼ cup cane or coconut sugar
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and chopped small
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup ground oats
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup water

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Put shredded coconut on baking sheet and bake/toast for about 5-10 minutes, watching carefully, until just slightly toasted, when your kitchen aroma will start to smell amazing and you know it’s done.

4. Allow to cool.

5. Place all ingredients except water into food processor. Pulse until combined, then slowly add water until it forms a stiff paste.

6. Using a mini ice cream scooper, scoop out the macaroons and place on parchment paper.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tops get slightly toasted and crunchy.

Holiday Spice Cookies

It doesn’t get much more traditional than these Holiday Spice Cookies. Held together with black strap molasses, and with a spice cabinet’s worth of ingredients including cinnamon, ginger powder, cardamom, nutmeg and clove, these treats bring big flavor. Rolling the cookies in sugar before baking them gives them a sweet, crunchy crust. If members of your family have a gluten sensitivity, you can substitute regular flour for gluten-free flour.

Quantity: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ cup unbleached flour or Bob’s Red Mill 3-to-1 gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbs tapioca flour
  • ¾ cup cane or coconut sugar
  • 1¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp clove
  • pinch of salt (⅛ tsp or less)
  • ½ cup vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ cup black strap molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs unsweetened non dairy milk
  • Coarse sugar for rolling

Instructions:

1. Mix dry and wet ingredients, combine well.

2. Chill dough for 15-30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Roll into 1-inch balls, roll in sugar, place on parchment lined baking sheet, flatten slightly, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Nut-Butter Jam Dots

This nut-butter and jam combination is a favorite with kids of all ages. You can use your favorite nut butter or combination — while peanut butter is a classic, we love the combo of tahini and almond butter — and top it with whatever fruit jam you like best. These treats are sometimes called “Thumbprints,” after the indentation the baker makes in the center of the cookie by pressing it with their thumb. While you can also press them with the back of a spoon, if you’re lucky enough to have kitchen helpers nearby, a thumbprint-and-jam assembly line is the perfect job for small hands!

Quantity: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups ground oats or oat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour or gluten-free flour (we love Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1)
  • 1 cup cane or coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup nut butter or any combination of your favorites, tahini and almond butter is our favorite
  • ⅓ cup agave syrup
  • ⅓ cup sunflower oil or other cooking oil
  • +1 Tablespoon water if needed
  • Your favorite fruit-sweetened jam, we love Crofter’s brand

Instructions:

1. Mix dry and wet ingredients, then combine (If dough seems too stiff, add 1-2 tablespoons of water).

2. Chill dough for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll into 1-inch balls. Flatten and press a small spoon or thumb in the center.

5. Fill with a ½ tsp jam.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

What's Next?

Looking for holiday entrée inspiration? Check out our blog for a menu and get ready to be hungry!

About the Author

Emily Ashba is a celebrity chef and owner of Veganics Catering in Los Angeles, CA. She loves inspiring others to live a more compassionate life and has been developing vegan recipes for over 20 years. Her other passions include singing, laughing, growing herbs and edible flowers. www.veganicscatering.com

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