The lofthouse soft sugar cookies bring back so much nostalgia for me. I feel like growing up they were at every monumental event or celebration. Spring parties? The blue and yellow cookies were there. Halloween dances? The orange and black cookies were there. Or if you just wanted to opt for the classic the pink cookies had your back.
The funny thing is, if I'm being honest I've never enjoyed the classic cookies. There was something about them that just seemed fake to me? BUT I did like how they looked and there's really nothing better than a soft cookie with icing. So that is why I knew I had to recreate the iconic cookie but using my favourite ingredients to make a cookie that not only looks adorable but also tastes AMAZING. If you don't believe me these cookies were gone in two days they are THAT good.
Note only are these cookies exactly like the classic soft lofthouse style vegan cookies ( but better in my humble opinion) they are also healthy-ISH!
How are these gluten free sugar cookies healthy-ish?
If you've been making my recipes for a while you probably know my philosophy when it comes to food by now. If you don't- it's simple! I love taking your favourite classic recipes and altering them slightly to increase their nutritional value. I do this by using flours with more fibre or healthy fats, or by findings ways to add more protein or reduce the sugar in recipes- ALL while keeping the same great taste (or making it better 😉 ).
The nutrition breakdown
For these gluten free vegan sugar cookies I took a classic cookie we all know (and sometimes love lol) and just upped the ingredients a bit! I used almond and coconut flour to make the cookies great for all the gluten-free individuals out there. Decreased the sugar by adding a few tablespoons of honey, and replaced half of the butter with applesauce! What does that leave us with? A PERFECTLY moist, slightly sweet cookie (my mouth is watering just thinking about them again).
So by making those small simple changes the cookies are now gluten free, lower sugar and filled with healthy fats and fibre! PLUS they taste better than the real thing if you ask me!
What ingredients do I need for these vegan soft sugar cookies?
The dry ingredients:
Almond Flour - One of my favourite gluten free flours to bake with! I love the texture almond flour gives in sugar cookies it turns regular cookies into little pillows of soft delicious-ness. I know almond flour can be expensive we get ours at Costco and I believe the exact same one is also on Amazon- this is the almond flour I use! It comes in a large bag that I find lasts us a long time!
Coconut Flour- I love the combination of coconut and almond flour in these gluten free vegan sugar cookies. Almond flour gives recipes the perfect amount of moistness while coconut flour helps keep everything together. Note that a little coconut flour goes a long way so the ½ a cup in this recipe helps absorb all the additional moisture and bind the dough. That is why I do not recommend leaving this out! This is the coconut flour I use! I don't use it a TON so I find this little bag lasts me a good amount of time.
** Flour note- I know every time I bake with gluten free flours I always get asked if you can substitute with regular flour. I have tried baking these with 2 cups of gluten free all purpose flour and they turned out but they weren't quite as moist!
The wet ingredients
Maple syrup- For a touch of natural sweetness! A few tablespoons of maple syrup helps bring out a rich flavour and I find it makes these cookies taste PERFECT (if you ar enot vegan you can also substitute this with honey)!
Sugar- You can't have sugar cookies without a bit of sugar! I have not personally tried to substitute classic white sugar with anything else so I'm not sure how it would turn out. I really think these are perfect as is.
Vegan Butter- I found classic "butter" gave the best sugar cookie flavour in these. My personal favourite plant based butter is from Becel! If you are not vegan- normal butter works too! I have not personally tested these using coconut oil or any other alternatives!
Flax Egg- All you need is one flax egg! To make a flax egg combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of warm water, stir and allow that to sit for about 5 minutes! I have also tested these using one large egg for a non vegan option.
Almond Extract- I personally LOVE almond extract especially in cookies the flavour is just SO perfect (it's especially great in sugar cookies, and anything "birthday cake" flavoured). Keep in mind that a tiny bit goes a long way so this little bottle will last you at least a year. If you really don't like it or want to omit it feel free to just add a bit more vanilla extract.
Vanilla Extract- The age old question was always "do I get natural or artificial vanilla?" I personally use artificial. I heard on a podcast once that if you are baking something the type and quality of vanilla makes absolutely zero difference which led me to start buying the biggest vanilla I could find for the cheapest price (it's this one if you want to know).
For the topping:
Icing Sugar- Icing sugar/ powdered sugar, whatever you personally call it it's the super fine sugar that's used to make icing! If you are vegan- make sure you use a vegan organic sugar option!
Sprinkles- Feel free to use whatever sprinkles your heart desires.
Frequently asked questions
I have tested this recipe with all purpose flour (I use two cups instead of the almond and coconut flour)- I wasn't 100% happy with the results they were slightly more dense than I like but they still taste good so if you really want to you can!
Before icing- You can easily store these cookies in an airtight container on the counter
Once iced- I recommend storing these cookies in the fridge in an airtight container
A flax egg is a vegan egg substitute commonly used in many plant based and vegan recipes! One of the main purposes of an egg in baking is to act as a binder and help hold things together. By combining: 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of warm water (and allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes) the flaxseed will expand, and absorb th water creating a gel-like consistency similar to an egg!
YES! If you are not vegan you can 100% use a normal egg.
Nope! I used icing because I love the look of these and found the pink icing perfect for spring ( plus they add the perfect amount of sweetness). However if you would rather not add icing or you have your own icing you like to use feel free to use it!
Another great option I love to do with sugar cookies is roll in some sprinkles into the dough- this is great especially if you aren't planning on icing them. It still adds a pop of colour (and cute-ness) but without the hassle of frosting!
More gluten free cookie recipes!
If you loved these gluten free vegan sugar cookies you NEED to try some of my other favorite cookie recipes:
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make these don't forget to tag me on Instagram @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Gluten Free & Vegan Sugar Cookies
- ¼ cup vegan butter softened
- ¼ cup applesauce unsweetened
- ½ cup sugar (ensure sugar is organic and vegan if desired)
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 flax egg (combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoon warm water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2.5 cups almond flour (not almond meal!)
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegan butter softened
- ¾ cup icing sugar (organic and vegan if desired)
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon beetroot powder (can sub with a few drops of any food colouring)
- Coloured sprinkles of choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in vegan butter, applesauce, sugar, maple syrup, flax egg, vanilla and almond extract. Process for 30 seconds-1 minute until well combined.
- Next, add in almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until a dough forms.
- Use your hands to roll the dough into golf ball sized balls (about 1.5 tablespoon per cookie). Place on prepared cookie sheet then flatten each dough ball (until about ¼-1/2 inch thick) with the bottom of a glass. Tip- flour the bottom of the glass between cookies to ensure it doesn't stick!
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely.
- To make the frosting- beat together all ingredients (butter, icing sugar, vanilla and colouring) on high until smooth. Frost each cookie and sprinkle with coloured sprinkles.