Healthy vegan sugar cookies that are actually low in added sugar but taste amazing!
This is one of my favorite recipes that I have posted so far.
It is also probably the recipe that took the longest to perfect. I have been working on this recipe for months, going through what felt like hundreds of trials.
But it was all worth it! These sugar cookies are so addicting you'll have to hide it from yourself to stop you from eating them all.
Or at least I had to...😂
These healthy sugar cookies are low in added sugar, have no butter, contain plenty of fiber, and are vegan!
The secret in making these low in added sugar is the dates.
Medjool dates are the way to go here. Regular dates don't have the same rich, caramel-like, sweet flavor that medjool dates do.
They're called nature's candy for a reason!
Medjool dates will replace most of the sugar that would be in a traditional sugar cookie recipe by making it sweet, but it won't have the same sugar-flavor.
That's why we're putting a small amount of sugar here--but don't worry! We're using pure cane sugar, so it is unrefined and is better for you than regular sugar, while still keeping the same flavor.
The medjool dates and cane sugar make a perfect combination with just the right amount of sweetness. Just because it's healthy doesn't mean we have to skimp on flavor!😉
So now we have the sweet flavor from the dates and sugar, but we still need to enhance that flavor. The two flavor-enhancers I used here are vanilla extract and salt.
It won't make your cookies salty or really vanilla-y, rather it will bring out the flavors of the cookies!
In addition to the flavor, another important component to making the perfect sugar cookie is the texture.
All sugar cookies need something to keep them moist so that they're not dry and crumbly.
I always try to cut down on saturated fat in my recipes, so we're not using butter here.
Instead, I chose to use avocado oil, unsweetened applesauce, and plain nonfat greek yogurt!
Avocado oil is a healthy fat that is primarily made up of unsaturated fats. It has a similar nutritional profile to olive oil, but with a more neutral taste. It is also better to use than canola or vegetable oil because it is not processed with chemicals and does not contain GMOs.
Unsweetened applesauce is very healthy as it comes straight from the apple! It is also naturally sweet, moist, and fat free, making it perfect for these healthy cookies!
Finally, plain nonfat greek yogurt. Make sure to use plain because flavored varieties contain high amounts of sugar. I like to use nonfat to keep things light. I find that greek yogurt is better than regular yogurt because of its thick consistency. Bonus: greek yogurt has a lot of protein!🎉
The binders are the second component for achieving perfect texture. Without them, the batter would be a big wet mess!
First off, the flax egg. I originally put in a regular egg, but this way is healthier (and makes it vegan!), and I achieved the exact same results!
A flax egg is simply made from flax meal and water. Flax meal is the ground-up form of flax seeds, which contain many nutritious qualities.
Flax seeds are one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential for the human body. It also contains high amounts of fiber and protein!
In addition to the flax egg, I used 3 different types of flour. Each different type is important and contributes in its own way!
The first is almond flour. Almond flour is unrefined and low-carb, as it is literally ground up almonds. The result is less wheat-y and dry than if only regular flour was used. Make sure to get blanched so that it has a finer texture.
Then I use white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour has a milder taste than regular whole wheat with the same health benefits. Whole wheat flour has a lot of fiber, making it healthier than regular white. However, too much whole wheat flour will make it taste very wheat-y and not as soft. The almond flour helps with this, and so does the third type of flour:
All purpose flour! Yes, it is refined, but we're only using a very small amount here. A little bit goes a long way! A small amount of all purpose flour will keep the cookies soft and with a texture similar to a regular cookie.
Now you have all the secrets to making the perfect healthy vegan sugar cookie!
If you decide to make this recipe, post a picture and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram--I'd love to see it!❤️
Healthy Vegan Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups medjool dates pitted
- boiling water
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup all purpose flour plus more for rolling dough
- In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the dates and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This will soften them.
- In a small bowl, combine the flax meal with 2 tablespoons of water to create a "flax egg." Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- In a medium or large food processor, process the soaked dates with a few tablespoons of "date water" (the water that was used to soak the dates in). Scrape the sides as needed. Keep processing until it forms a smooth paste. Add in the avocado oil, applesauce, yogurt, flax egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla and process until smooth.
- If your food processor is full at this point, transfer to a large mixing bowl and use a whisk. Otherwise, continue in the food processor. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, almond flour, whole wheat flour, and all purpose flour until a thick batter is formed.
- Transfer the batter to a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour (separating in to 2 wraps makes it easier).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface (all purpose flour). It may be a bit sticky, so keep rolling the dough in flour until it doesn't stick to your working surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough so that it is about ⅛ inch thick. Cut out with cookie cutters or the top of a cup. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with more cane sugar (optional).
- Bake for 9 minutes (or more if you like them crispier) and cool on a cooling rack (or eat right away). Enjoy!