Did I tell you yet that Woodrow started Montessori in September? I know I mentioned it on Instagram along with an adorable and all-important “first day of school” photo, but I don’t think I’ve said more than yet.
As you may remember, we tried daycare on for size last year just after his 2nd birthday but he didn’t take to it. Quite the opposite really – he cried all day, every day, until I came back. He just wasn’t ready yet. But during the summer, Mark and I discussed trying again, this time with a part-time program at our neighbourhood Montessori School. There was a lot of talk in the lead up with Woodrow, but we were pretty nervous about it. Actually, scratch that – I were feeling nervous about it – Mark was perfectly confident in the decision and in W’s readiness.
When that first day arrived, it was all smiles and excitement around here in preparation (just check out the excitement in Woodrow’s face in his first first day of school photo! However, upon arrival and the realization that no, Mama wouldn’t be staying too, there were tears. A lot of tears. But he stayed and got through it. There were more tears, this time of relief, when I picked him up 3 hours later. But he went back the next day. And the next. And the next.
Now here we are, 8 weeks in and he LOVES his “new school”. The learning-rich classroom, his wonderful and caring teachers, his little friends and his amazing sense of independence… it’s been a huge success.
In preparation for their little Halloween celebration, Woodrow’s teacher asked if I could bring some vegan cookies in to decorate for the 6 little ones who are either vegan or have dairy allergies. (By the way, there’s another vegan kiddo in his class!) I was more than happy to help and so Woodrow and I baked up these awesome little cutouts.
With only 7 ingredients and one bowl, these cookies are only 30 minutes from being in your tummy. (A little longer if you want to wait for the frosting to set though!) They’re chocolatey, with a subtle hint of orange, and not too sweet, but a treat to eat, especially with a little vegan royal icing!
One Bowl Vegan Chocolate Sugar Cookies
makes 16-18 cookies
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp orange or clementine juice
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder or cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Vegan Royal Icing
2 tbsp aquafaba* (aka chickpea brine – see more below method)
1 3/4 cup vegan powdered sugar
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, then mix in the juice.
2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt to the bowl and mix well to combine. The cookie dough should be thick, pull away from the sides of the bowl and easy to pack into a ball without sticking too much to your hands. If needed, add a tablespoon or two more flour. Wrap the dough in plastic and pop in the freezer for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare an area to roll the dough out with a sprinkling of flour. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Preheat the oven to 350f.
4. Remove the cookie dough from the freezer and roll out on prepared surface to 1/4″ thickness and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and transfer to baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with second baking sheet. Enjoy as is, or decorate with royal icing.
5. To make the royal icing, place the aquafaba and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Turn the mixer on the lowest setting until sugar is fully incorporated (to avoid the sugar from getting everywhere), then increase speed to high and whisk for 5-6 minutes, until the mixture is thick and shiny. Transfer to a small ziplock bag (which you can later then snip the corner off of) and transfer to the fridge until ready to use.
6. Once the cookies are completely cooled, use the royal icing to decorate (hopefully with more skill than me). Let set for 30-40 minutes and then transfer to an airtight container until ready to serve. To be safe, test one of the iced cookies first before layering them all up, lest you risk smooshing not-yet-set cookies.
Royal icing adapted from The Blenderist.
*Notes: If you’ve never heard of aquafaba (the water drained from a can of chickpeas), it took the vegan internet by storm back in the spring. Google it, and you’ll find a TON of awesome recipes for everything from marshmallow fluff to swiss meringue buttercream, to French macarons. Seriously, it’s amazing stuff and acts just like egg whites in many applications. I’ve only played around with it a little, but have many other things I’m dreaming up…