*OK, so we couldn’t actually get a hold of Santa (he’s a little busy right now—we get it), but if we had to guess his favorite things about this time of year, we’re pretty sure that vegan holiday-themed desserts would be at the top of his list.
One of the best things about going vegan is that you can still enjoy your favorite sweet treats by simply replacing animal ingredients (like milk, butter, and eggs) with vegan alternatives (like soy or almond milk, nondairy butter, and applesauce).
So, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or are just in the mood for sweets, these easy holiday recipes are just as delicious as their nonvegan versions and are super-easy to make (with your parents’ help!). Big bonus: They don’t require any animal suffering.
Chocolate-Dipped Holiday Cookies
Prep time: 10 to 15 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Servings: Approximately 20 to 25 cookies
1 cup vegan buttery spread (try Earth Balance brand)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 drops peppermint extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1 cup melted vegan chocolate chips (try Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips), optional
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegan buttery spread and sugars. Add the applesauce and mix well, then beat in the vanilla and peppermint.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add one cup at a time to the sugar mixture, then stir in the crushed candy canes.
Scoop about 2 tablespoonfuls of the dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Place on wire racks to cool.
Dip in melted chocolate and top with crushed candy canes, if desired.
Vegan Gingerbread for Candy Houses
Prep time: 60 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
1/3 cup vegan margarine (try Earth Balance brand)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup unsulphured molasses
1 cup water
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
Mix the vegan margarine, brown sugar, molasses, and 1/2 cup of the water together in a large bowl until creamy.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix well, adding enough water to produce a sticky dough (about 1/2 cup).
Divide the dough into four equal balls.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line some baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Flatten one of the dough balls between two pieces of parchment paper with a rolling pin to about 1/2-inch thick.
Cut the dough into 4 squares with a knife (these will be the walls of your gingerbread house). Using a spatula, transfer to a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the surface is firm.
Roll out the remaining dough to 1/4-inch thick and cut out your roof pieces (the thinner dough will make the roof pieces lighter). Cut out any other decorations you may want. (For our house, we cut out a big tree and a bear. You can also cut out a porch roof like we did in the example. Be creative!) Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the surface is firm. (If your baked shapes don’t turn out the way you wanted them to, you can just eat them.)
When each batch of gingerbread is finished baking, transfer the pieces from the cookie sheet to the counter to cool down. Don’t start decorating until the pieces are completely cooled off because the candy and icing will melt.
Holiday Hat Pies
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 13 mins
1 tube vegan crescent rolls
1 can pie filling
Holiday toppings of your choosing (our favorites include Duncan Hines icing, fresh fruit, or Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Pre-heat the oven to 37ºF.
Open the crescent roll tube, and lay each of the rolls out flat on a greased baking sheet.
Place a heaping spoonful of pie filling in the middle of four of the crescents, and use the remaining four rolls as tops, sealing them with a fork around the perimeter.
Put them in the oven for about 13 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Then, remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
Once they’ve cooled, decorate them, and then dig into your pocket-sized pie treat!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Servings: 24 cupcakes