2020 has been quite the year. As I sit here to write and share this recipe I’m shocked at how long it’s been since I’ve published anything in this space. Like most of us, navigating the waters of pandemic life and repeated quarantines hasn’t been easy. Coupled with the new responsibilities of fatherhood and a house move, this has been quite a year, to say the least. And as we head into the holidays, it seems there will be no reprieve for what has been the heaviness of this year. Most of us will spend the holidays away from our loved ones, some us for the first time. So we look to new ways of being connected. Facetime dinners, cooking together or Zoom or Skype, exchanging voice memos throughout the day, and sending each other holiday gifts purchased online. So what does that have to do with Olive Oil Sugar Cookies?
Baking Holiday cookies almost seemed like a moot point, but a little levity and holiday cheer these days can go along way. Even if we’re enjoying them alone with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate by the fire. Or perhaps you want to bake up a few batches and leave care packages on the doorsteps of those you care for. Whatever the reasoning, I feel like now more than ever, fuss-free simple recipes can go a long way. Enter these Olive Oil Sugar Cookies. This holiday season I’ve been baking using Becel Unsalted Baking Sticks. Note this isn’t a sponsored post, I’ve simply been enjoying baking with new products I find in the local supermarket. These sticks after perfect for baking seeing as they are premeasured and packaged, completely plant-based as well as gluten-free, making your baking quick and easy. Of course, you can replace this with any non-dairy margarine or butter style spread, but I’ve found keeping a box of these sticks on hand in the fridge extremely convenient.
The addition of olive oil adds subtle aromatics cutting the sweetness of the cookie and making these cookies delicate and light, but still perfectly buttery and delicious. The eggs are found in traditional sugar cookie recipes are replaced somewhat brilliantly with water, surprisingly enough. The water provides the right amount of moisture and hydration for the dough, while it binds with the gluten in the flour creating a simple binding agent. Meaning these cookies are made from super simple ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. No need for masks and emergency store runs. The cookies get their festive holiday suits by being rolled in nonpareils (small round sprinkles) in holiday colors, however, if you want to keep these on the simpler side they’re also delicious and equally adorable rolled in granulated sugar.
This is a simple one-bowl recipe. In fact, all you need is a bowl and spatula to mix these up. The olive oil added to the margarine makes the sugar effortless to cream, and the leavening agents are added directly to the creamed sugar to ensure they are fully incorporated before stirring in the sugar. They come together in a snap and clean up is just as quick.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup vegan butter or margarine (such as Becel Baking Sticks)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup nonpareils or sugar
- Preheat oven to 350“F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium bowl cream together the vegan margarine, olive oil, and sugar.
- Add the water and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Beat in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt until completely incorporated.
- Stir in the flour until just combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as required. Being careful not to overmix the dough.
- Using a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoon capacity), scoop out mounds of dough and place them on the prepared baking sheets.
- Roll each mound of dough into a ball (roughly 1 inch in diameter) between the palms of your hands. Roll lightly in nonpareils or sugar and place on the baking sheets spacing the cookies at least two inches apart. Don't worry if there are bald spots on the balls that aren't covered in nonpareils, it's part of their rustic charm.
- Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for 12 minutes until puffed and lightly golden underneath. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a baking sheet to cool completely.
- Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.