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Vegan Candy Cane Cookies

These festive Candy Cane Cookies are as cute as they are tasty! Vegan, but also buttery, pepperminty, and sparkly. Kids will love them!

Candy cane-shaped cookies on a baking sheet next to colored sugar with text overlay "Vegan Candy Cane Cookies"

I have to be honest, I’d not had a proper candy cane cookie before I made the first batch of these. At least, not that I can remember! So when a reader (and friend) asked me for a vegan version, I knew what they looked like, but checked them out a bit. Since they’re really just a shortbread cookie, that’s in my wheelhouse!

Image collage of making vegan cookie dough in a food processor

BUT, the first batch ended up blob-tastic. Not ideal, for sure, and thankfully they were still very much edible, so I gave them all to Corey. The next batch, with a little trouble-shooting, ended up great! I decided to add a little subtle flair to the adorable cookies with some colored sugar, and now they’re my new favorite holiday cookie? (No shade to the hazelnut thumbprints)

Image collage of measuring and cutting cookie segments, and assembling them into candy cane cookies

Now, the trickiest part of making these is rolling the two doughs together, while simultaneously having a good cookie texture/shape after baking. Too stiff of a dough and it cracks a lot when twisting, too soft and it’s easy to twist but you get a blob. That being said, I think I found a good balance with this recipe!

Image collage of brushing cookies with milk and adding red sprinkles

Substitutions & Tips:

  • Flaxseed – this is for binding, like an egg, so if you’re out use some chia seeds instead.
  • Vegan butter – If you don’t have any butter on hand, refined coconut oil or vegetable shortening will work.
  • Peppermint extract – easily found at your local grocer and great in coffee or even fudge!
  • Red food coloring – you can use a naturally-derived food coloring for this, but I feel the red ones are the colors that perform poorly. I used a gel food coloring for this, but no matter what you use, judge by how it looks!
  • Colored sugar – now this I did buy naturally colored from Whole Foods, but pretty much any colored sugar should be vegan, and work. And really, you can leave it off, I just like the sparkle it adds!
  • Chill time – do not neglect or skip this! The two brief chill times for the cookie dough both help the consistency of the dough and the shape of the cookie. Believe me, I hate waiting, but this gets you the best end-product!
Candy cane-shaped cookies on a baking sheet next to colored sugar and pastry brush

In non-cookie-related news, I have a giveaway coming up for Christmas and y’all are going to love it! I’ll be sharing a poignant recipe from my first cookbook and giving a bundle of all three of my cookbooks to one lucky winner. Woohoo!

Close up of cookies shaped and striped like candy canes on a baking sheet

Vegan Candy Cane Cookies

Yield: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Chill Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 56 minutes

These festive Candy Cane Cookies are as cute as they are tasty! Vegan, but also buttery, pepperminty, and sparkly. Kids will love them!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
  • 7 tablespoons (109 g) unsalted vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup (116 g) sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) non-dairy milk, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (198 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, or to preference
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) red colored sugar

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine water and flaxseed, stir, and set aside to thicken. Place butter, sugar, 1 teaspoon non-dairy milk, vanilla, and peppermint extracts in a food processor equipped with s-blade, and puree until smooth and whipped. Add flax “egg” and process again until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, pulsing until a large dough ball is formed.
  2. Divide dough in half (using a scale is helpful), placing 1/2 in a bowl with the food coloring. Use a spoon to incorporate the coloring into the dough, once mostly mixed I found it easier to use your hand to finish it. Place both doughs in bowls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. After chilling, clear your work surface, break a chunk of the “white” dough off and roll it into a rope shape, approximately 3/8-inch thick. Cut the rope into 4-inch segments and set them aside. Repeat with remaining dough, then do the same with the red dough. (better in this order as to not discolor the white dough).
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and once all pieces are cut, you should have 20 pieces in each color. Pair them together, and to form a candy cane, pinch the ropes together side-by-side, while also gently twisting them. It’s okay if they crack a little. Do this down the length of the rope segment, then place on a flat surface and gently roll with hands to smooth it out. Coax it into a candy cane shape and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pairs of segments.
  5. Once done forming cookies, refrigerate them for 10 minutes, meanwhile preheating your oven to 400F (200C). Once chilled, bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. One at a time, brush the cookies (while a little warm) with remaining milk, and sprinkle sugar over the red stripes. Let cookies cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Notes

    • Flaxseed - this is for binding, like an egg, so if you're out use some chia seeds instead.
    • Vegan butter - If you don't have any butter on hand, refined coconut oil or vegetable shortening will work.
    • Red food coloring - you can use a naturally-derived food coloring for this, but I feel the red ones are the colors that perform poorly. I used a gel food coloring for this, but no matter what you use, judge by how it looks!
    • Chill time - do not neglect or skip this! The two brief chill times for the cookie dough both help the consistency of the dough and the shape of the cookie. Believe me, I hate waiting, but this gets you the best end-product!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 97Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

The nutrition information is calculated by a plug-in, and isn't always accurate. Please calculate your own with the products that you use, as it will be different for everyone.

Did you make this recipe?

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Making a cookie platter?

Here are a few other recipes that work great on a platter or in little boxes to give to friends! Some are cookies, and there are a couple of extra bites that are easy-to-make and sooo delicious.

Candy cane-shaped cookies on a baking sheet next to colored sugar and pastry brush

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Jenny

Monday 28th of December 2020

Yum!!!!! These sound delicious and look so cute! I want to make them even though it's December 28th- candy canes are okay through New Years, right???

Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack!

Monday 28th of December 2020

I think candy cane cookies are good anytime you want them! lol!

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