Long story short: both of my kids have been born with food intolerances. Neither could handle dairy or soy; Livia couldn’t handle eggs or nuts either. Liv is fine with eggs and soy now, but nuts and dairy are a serious no go. Which means that most of the time, she’s not getting any cookies (….totally acceptable for a 14 month old who already has a sweet tooth).
Now here’s my big issue with vegan cookies: they usually end up hard.
My brother has a dairy allergy so I’ve been baking dairy free for thirteen years! Things have come a long way – we have so many more options and it’s a lot easier to make a good dessert that’s vegan and no one is the wiser; this recipe is one of those.
My mom discovered Fleischmann’s when we lived in Kensington, an area in Brooklyn that’s heavily populated by Hasidic Jews. Those of us who are not Jewish may know very little about Jewish laws (what makes food kosher). One of the big rules is the separation of meat and dairy – they can’t be cooked together, and aren’t eaten together at a meal. That means if you’re making chicken kosher you aren’t cooking it in milk, you’re not eating it with buttered rolls, etc. The rules even dictate how much time must pass between meals before transitioning from meat to dairy (so you can’t eat a steak and then have ice cream for dessert a half hour later). Luckily for the rest of us – vegans or those with dairy allergies or intolerances – what this means is that anything labeled Kosher Paerve (or Parve) has NO dairy, has not been on any equipment used for dairy products, has zero cross contamination and is 100% absolutely safe. While there are other vegan brands that you can use for baking, Fleishmann’s has no aftertaste and is my fam’s preferred butter substitute (#notsponsored).
There are so many issues when baking vegan because baking is chemistry and any substitute will change the chemistry of whatever you’re baking. I’ve found that when baking, these are the best subs for whole milk: almond milk, coconut milk and pea protein milk.
Soy has an aftertaste that I can’t get past. Rice, hemp and oat have all *RUINED* recipes on me. You don’t want anything too thin because it’s like substituting water. Canned coconut milk is way too thick and I really don’t suggest it if you’re making substitutes on your own.
There are unsweetened and sweetened versions of all of these milks which is slightly confusing since cows milk is just…regular?
The difference when baking is very slight, but I prefer to use unsweetened if I have it.
This time I was baking not only for Livia (no dairy or nuts) but also for our friend’s toddler who also can’t have nuts, coconut or eggs.
Coconut has been my go-to for the past two years simply because it’s my favorite to drink. However, since Liv stopped breastfeeding I started to give her Bolthouse Farms Plant Protein Milk instead of formula or whole milk so I wanted to try it in a cookie!
I am happy to report that these cookies stays moist for DAYS. They weren’t hard or crunchy out of the oven and Livia loved them.
Vegan Lemon Cookies with Lemon Icing
Adapted, slightly, from Go Dairy Free.
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread or stick (in this case, Fleishmann’s)
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup Bolthouse Farms Original Plant Protein Milk
- 1 egg replacer (I used Namaste Foods egg replacer)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 10 drops of yellow food coloring
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used a little over 1)
You can find the original recipe and the directions, here.