baking · cooking · Dessert

Back To School Vegan Cookie Baking

With school being 3 weeks away I figured I should start baking up cookies to freeze for lunches. I have fall on the mind, even with it being 84° outside… I was feeling inspired by warmer flavors. On one of the blogs I follow, the topic came up about failures in vegan baking. My secret is taking proven non-vegan recipes and adapting them, particularly those in Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks. Overall I had success with nearly all the recipes adapted this way. My methods?

Don’t mess with the baking powder/baking soda or salt called for. Baking is a science.

If you change the flour from all-purpose to whole wheat, use white whole wheat. It is a better choice in taste and texture, it doesn’t have the heavy feel of whole wheat flour (and not to worry – it is actually whole wheat flour, just a different type!) If you are not used to white whole wheat use half it, half all-purpose flour. Weigh your flour to ensure success as well if you like (I do for cakes/cupcakes).

If milk is called for, use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk – it is creamy tasting and doesn’t have a strong flavor. It adds a lot though to the texture.

The one area where you can get into trouble is also removing out all the fat and using applesauce. You need at least some fat (in my highly opinionated opinion …hah!) Otherwise the cookies will be soft at first and then stale out too quickly. If it calls for butter, use Earth Balance stick or similar. Many recipes can be adapted to use vegetable oil as well. If it says ½ cup butter, use 1 stick. If you want to go the applesauce route, use recipes that are proven for that and work off of them. Cookies don’t have to über healthy – they should be a treat 😉

Find a few recipes that work and go for them!  You can always cut a recipe to ¼, make a small batch and go from there. And don’t forget – most cookies freeze! So bake away and tuck them in your chest freezer for the busy fall months. Your kids (and husbands) will love you!

These recipes were adapted out of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid), 2012 edition. I grew up on the Red Plaid books, back when they used shortening (eek) and have found the adaptations taste nearly the same to me (and to Kirk as well!).

The first recipe was adapted off the Make-It-Mine Oatmeal Cookies. It makes a lot. You need a strong stand mixer if you want the machine to do it all, otherwise if using a hand mixer you will need to work the oats and fruit in by hand. When I do big recipes I use a KitchenAid 5-Quart Glass Bowl instead of the traditional metal bowl and a New Metro Design Beater Blade for 5-Quart KitchenAid Tilt-Head Mixers.

Oatmeal & Fruit Cookies


  • 2 sticks Earth Balance buttery stick or similar
  • 1½ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp water
  • 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup dried cherries


Preheat oven to 350° and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add the flaxseed meal and water to a bowl, let sit for 10 minutes, whisk until thick.

Add the EB to a large stand mixing bowl, beat for 30 seconds to smooth out. Add the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt, beat until combined.

Add in the vanilla and flaxseed “eggs”, beat till smooth.

Add the flour, beat on low till mixed. Add the oats and beat in, then add the dried fruit.

Make 1 Tablespoon balls (a 1 Tablespoon Disher helps), 12 to a sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden (they will appear soft on top). Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 4½ dozen cookies.

These ginger cookies are both snappy/crispy and moist inside. Be careful to not over bake – they should look a little wet on top when you pull them out. On the un-crystalized ginger called for, it is candied ginger that isn’t rolled in sugar on the outside. Use it if you can find it (Trader Joe’s carries it) or buy the easier to find crystalized (candied) ginger). Just don’t buy the small bottles in the spice section – you get price gouged badly! Most bulk herb/spice sections carry it, much cheaper.

Double Ginger Cookies


  • 4½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup un-crystalized ginger, diced (see above)
  • 3 sticks Earth Balance buttery stick or similar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 350°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt together in a bowl, set aside.

Add the EB to a stand mixer bowl, beat till smooth. Add sugar, beat smooth. Add the flaxseed “eggs” and molasses, beat smooth, then add the dry ingredients and candied ginger, beat on low, turning up to high as it mixes.

Make 1 Tablespoon balls (a 1 Tablespoon Disher helps), roll in the ¾ cup sugar, place 12 to a sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden (they will appear soft/puffed up on top). Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 6½ dozen cookies.


14 thoughts on “Back To School Vegan Cookie Baking

  1. Love your advice here, Sarah, about adapting an already proven recipe. I really need to remember that! Especially after I just destroyed vegan quinoa brownies! UGH! Also, I’ve substituted coconut oil for butter, and it works well. Completely agree about needing SOME fat in baked goods. If i want to do applesauce in place of butter, I’ll substitute half coconut oil and half applesauce. Any more than half applesauce and the cookies are mushy. Great post!

  2. You are a sweetheart! I love your response to Erika’s conundrum 😉

    I’ve been surprised by how easy vegan baking has turned out, but then again, I’ve probably lowered my expectations considerably since I’m the girl who bakes primarily with apple sauce. I’ve just learned to like my treats different than they used to be, which is not a bad thing!

  3. You. Are. Awesome. Already been cooking up a storm and had a couple successes- your cookies are now added to the list. Thank you for your fabulous baking breakdown!

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