Valentine's Day is just around the corner and one of the best ways to celebrate the romantic holiday is by baking heart-shaped cookies with loving words, phrases, and conversations to communicate your appreciation. But really, there is nothing sweeter than gifting your loved one, best friend, or even yourself these delicious, customized, festive homemade treats.

This recipe is healthier than the traditional or store-bought version (made with dairy and eggs) because it's completely vegan and gluten-free, yet tastes just as rich. Instead of using regular ingredients, these heart cookies call for dairy-free butter, flaxseed as an egg replacement, almond flour, and vegan royal icing–all of which you can find in your local grocery store or purchase online.

This year we urge you to stay in to stay healthy and get creative with your holiday surprises and planning at home. Spend the day or night before choosing recipes you want to make for dinner Sunday night, then start baking and decorating each cookie with words that express your feelings. Feel free to add heart-shaped sprinkles, confetti, or even chocolate chips to the cookies. If you plan to give these treats to a loved one, wrap each cookie in clear bags and tie them with a red ribbon to make the surprise even more special.

Prep: 5, plus 30 minutes for chilling

Bake: 12

Vegan Conversation Heart Cookies

Serves 16

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar*
    • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed with 1/3 cup water (set for 5 minutes)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, omit if nut-free)
    • 1 cup almond flour*
    • 1 cup oat flour
    • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • Vegan Royal Icing

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  2. Once the sugar is slightly dissolved into the vegan butter, add in the flaxseed “eggs,” vanilla extract, and almond extract if desired. Beat again until incorporated.
  3. Sift in the almond flour, oat flour, arrowroot powder, and baking powder, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flour into the creamed butter. This will take about 3-4 minutes to fully incorporate.
  4. Once the dough is made, form the dough into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Once chilled, lightly flour a clean surface as well as a rolling pin. Place the dough onto the floured surface. If the dough is not at all soft (i.e. it’s hard to touch), allow the dough to soften for 10 minutes. Then roll the dough out to be about 1/4″ thick.
  6. Use your desired cookie cutters and cut the cookie shapes into the dough. Remove any scraps and use a thin spatula to transfer the sugar cookies to the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining dough, then chill the cookie sheet in the freezer for while the oven preheats.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the oven is fully preheated, place the cookie sheet into the oven and bake the cookies for 7 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to turn lightly golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to fully cool before making the vegan royal icing.
  9. Make the royal icing according to the post instructions.
  10. Divide the royal icing into separate bowls if using vegan food coloring and add in the colors. Be sure to cover any bowl of icing that you’re not using with a damp paper towel. This prevents the royal icing from hardening. Mix the colors, and place the icing into a piping bag with a tip. Decorate the cookies as desired.
  11. Allow the cookies to sit for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
  12. Store the cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Recommended Vegan Food Colors:

Powders: Sunfood, BareOrganics

Liquid: Nomeca (used in photo), Go Supernatural, WholeFoods365, Americolor