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Soft Cutout Cookies

Pre-vegan (and way pre-healthy eating!), I loved those big, iced smiley face cookies you can get at Eat 'n Park. They're soft and sweet and evil. I think the icing is actually just crack and powdered sugar. Of course it's been ages since I've had one - I haven't been there since high school, long before I went vegan and couldn't eat there even if I wanted to. Which I really don't, anymore. My tastes have definitely changed, but I still love the thought of those cookies. So when I found this recipe in my "Recipes To Try" bookmark folder, I figured I'd give it a shot.

With only one egg, it was a snap to veganize. I made two half-batches, because of confusion regarding how many cookies the recipe would yield. It states 4-5 dozen depending on cookie cutter size, but I used a large (but not huge) round cutter and only got 14 cookies from half the recipe. So I made half again to get a total of 28. I guess my cookie cutter is bigger than I thought. The difference in color is due to an ill-fated attempt to make pink cookies by coloring the dough with cherry juice. What I neglected to consider is that lovely red cherry juice turns quite quickly to a dull purple, thus leaving me with somewhat greyish cookies. They're not the prettiest things ever, but they still taste good. The second batch obviously didn't get colored at all.

These cookies aren't much by themselves - soft, but somewhat bland. It's the icing that makes them. I just used powdered sugar and a bit of vanilla soymilk, which was super sweet by itself but set off the cookies perfectly. They deifnitely satisfied my Eat 'n Park cookie cravings.

Soft Cutout Cookies
Recipe veganized from this recipe by Nic of bakingsheet

2 3/4 cups ap flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, very soft
1/2 cup soymilk, with 1/2 Tbsp vinegar mixed in (this mimics buttermilk)
2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 3 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and margarine. Beat in soured soymilk, egg replacer, and extracts. With the mixer on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture, mixing until no flour remains.

Divide dough into two pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and use a floured cookie cutter to make desired shapes. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Reroll remaing dough, chilling for a few minutes if it becomes too warm to handle easily. Repeat with second piece of dough.

Bake for 6-8 minutes at 375F, until the edges are slightly firm to the touch but cookies are not browned (The bottom of the cookies will be light brown). Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Makes 2 dozen or more, depending on cookie cutter size.

Simple Confectioner's Sugar Icing

Mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with soymilk until it's thin but spreadable. Add food coloring if you want. Ice cookies as desired.

This mix makes enough to ice 28 large, round cookies.

hooray for sugar cookies! Sometimes, all you want is a little plain vanilla sweetness. :)

I know what you mean about scary white-flour-lard-sugar cookies -- they sell those at some supermarkets here. I'm so scared of them! I used to eat them, and they'd make my teeth hurt. Obviously not the healthiest option. ;-)

How funny! - I, too, remember many late night Eat-n-Park Smiley Face cookies indulgences from way back in my high school days! I loved those things so much that my mom would actually bring some with her whenever she came to visit me for years after I moved away from home ... and then came veganism and those cookies went the way of the Dodo :-)

Another coincidence: I also tried to use cherry juice to dye a food product pink last week (cake, in my case). I had to use food coloring to mask the purple grayness of the cake! Your cookies, however, look very nice.

catherine - I love plain vanilla stuff. I love more complex things as well, but you're right, sometimes simple is just what you want. Sweet and uncomplicated. I usually use whole wheat pastry flour when I bake, but since these were mostly for someone else I decided to throw caution to the wind and use unbleached all-purpose. Next time I'm going to try them with the WW flour, though.

gail - Aren't they good? They're addictive. Sometimes my best friend and I would just go and get a bag of cookies. So terrible, but so delicious! You should give these a try, they're very similar. A bit softer, maybe, but that would be easily remedied by rolling the dough thinner or baking them longer. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was fooled by cherry juice! It doesn't work very well at all. Beet juice is the way to go for coloring things pink.

These are so pretty. They look like they would be perfect for easter.

beautiful icing job! :)

megan - I thought that, too. Especially iced with blue, yellow, and green.

melissa - Thanks!

Way to get me craving cookies! <3
These are so, so pretty. I love when an old favorite veganized is still such a treat. Rugelach cookies do that for me, sigh.

thanks for this recipe--i'm trying to veganize my baking recipes and this sounds great.

jess - Aw, thanks! The icing was pretty basic, so I'm glad they turned out well. I think I had rugelach once, pre-vegan. They were good.

lisa - I hope they work out for you if you try the recipe! It was a pretty painless veganization.

I don't know what an Eat n' Park is but those cookies sure do look good.

Those cookies are so cute with the icing swirls. No more sweets this week for me, but maybe I will give them a try next week.

Looking at them reminded me of shortbread cookies and for some reason I just wanted to add instant coffee and a dash of kahlua to the recipe.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Mmmm, cookies. I am trying very hard not to bake too often, but these will go in the "someday" file. Do let us know how the whole wheat version comes out.

grace - Eat 'n Park is a family-style chain restaurant. I'm not sure how widespread it is. The food is your typical chain restaurant stuff, boring and heavy on the meat and cheese. But the cookies were good. :) And these are too, so I consider the homage a success.

jody - I'm not crazy for coffee, but for some reason I do love Kahlua. I think a Kahlua version would be delicious. Maybe cinnamon in the dough and Kahlua in the icing? Yum!

shananigans - I'm trying not to bake, either, but these were for a special occasion. And they're actually not too bad for you, as far as cookies go. Of course that changes if you eat 5 in a row, which is a distinct possibility. I think I'll probably make half a batch with wheat flour next week, so I'll definitely post about it then.

I think I may have mentioned before how much of a chocolate fiend I am. I also really like vanilla. Those cookies do look very cute.

I love vanilla as well. Even more than chocolate when it comes to baked goods, actually. :)

oooh, so pretty! i love them, and the icing is adorable.

Thanks! Pink makes everything tastier.

They look great! I'm thrilled to know that the recipe turned out good when vegan-ized. And I think I have to agree with that crack-in-the-icing theory...

It's true, the Eat 'n Park cookie is evil. :) The recipe veganized perfectly - they tastes great. It's definitely a keeper. I love your blog, by the way! You always post such yummy-looking things.

Aww, thanks!

YUM!!!

Way to veganize.

I'm a fan of vanilla as well, fyi. I actually prefer it over chocolate...

I've got to try those cookies! I use to love that cookies too!

kleo - Me too! I used to adore the vanilla-flavored Tootsie rolls, pre-vegan. They were so much better than the regular ones.

webly - I'm glad I'm not the only one who fell under the spell of the smiley cookie. :) You'll definitely like these.

Amanda, I'm a Swarthmore alum and vegan. I'm cooking in Oakland, CA and I have full faith in your recipes. These cookies are on the frustrating side, being essentially frozen batter cut and laid out on cookie sheets. More respect for you.

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delicious! I died the cookie dough with a little pink dye paste for Easter. I was short a few ingredients so I used maple syrup for the vanilla extract and lemon extract for the almond and cream of tarter instead of the white vinegar. At first the dough looked a little too much like bread dough but they were very tasty. I used organic powder sugar for the icing and dyed it purple. yum!

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