These festive cookies are perfect to have around for the holidays and they would make a pretty sweet gift to give too! Make them for someone you love or bring a bunch to a cookie swap. They're sure to be a hit!
Check out the step by step video here or keep scrolling for the recipe!
** makes 22 to 24 sandwich cookies
chocolate cookie ingredients
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 C vegan butter (softened to room temp)
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C nondairy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
A note about vegan butter vs margarine. I use a vegan butter product that is the same texture as real butter. So when refrigerated it's cold and solid. You want to let this soften in the mixing bowl on the counter to room temperature. It can have a slight chill in the centre still but it should whip easily with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer without much help. Margarine on the other hand is always soft even when refrigerated. You can use this instead but there is a different technique to forming the cookies, as I will outline below!
First, sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork or whisk to combine well.
In a separate mixing bowl cream the butter with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until whipped and smooth. Add in the sugar and continue whipping for 30 seconds to 1 minute until well combined and fluffy. Add the vanilla and gradually add the nondairy milk while continuing to whip the mixture together until combined.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon. Once mostly combined I find it easiest to combine the dough with your hands until a smooth ball is formed.
Split the dough into 2 equal portions and place each portion into a piece of plastic wrap. Roll it out with your hands between the plastic to form a log approximately 2" wide. Try to flatten the ends as best as you can so you have a cylinder shape. Wrap up the 2 logs in the plastic wrap and tightly secure the ends. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until firm.
If you used margarine you will have quite a soft dough in comparison. Split it into 2 portions and wrap it in wax paper or plastic wrap and flatten to a thick disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. For this version you will then roll out the dough with a rolling pin between the wax paper or plastic wrap until it's about 1/4" thick . Don't roll it out onto a floured surface as the excess flour will affect the cookie dough. Then cut out 2" to 2 1/2" cookies with a round cookie cutter. Place the cut out cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets.
For the butter version, remove the logs from the fridge and unwrap them. Using a sharp knife cut rounds 1/4" thick. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 5 to 6 minutes in an oven preheated to 350°F. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
peppermint frosting ingredients:
2 C powdered sugar
1 tbsp vegan butter, softened to room temp (or use margarine)
3 tbsp warm water
5 drops of food grade peppermint essential oil (or 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract)
2 candy canes
Sift half the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl that contains the butter. Using a hand mixer or in a stand mixer beat the sugar and butter together until combined. While continuing to beat with the mixer gradually add a bit of the warm water and then more sifted powdered sugar until it's all well incorporated and you have a smooth and spreadable, but still slightly stiff frosting. It shouldn't be dripping! Then stir in the peppermint oil or extract with a spatula. Depending on the peppermint oil you're using just start with 2 drops and add more if necessary.
You can crush the candy cane a few different ways. In a heavy duty ziploc bag and bash it with a rolling pin, with a mortar and pestle or I prefer to pulse them in a coffee grinder. You want small pieces, but not completely pulverized to dust. Pour the candy pieces into a small bowl.
To assemble the sandwich cookies, spread 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of frosting onto the bottom of a cookie with a small icing spatula.
Place another cookie on top and lightly press so there is some frosting coming out the sides. Then sprinkle crushed candy canes all along the sides of the sandwich, letting the pieces stick to the frosting and the excess fall back into the bowl.
You may find the frosting starting to dry out once you get through half the cookies. To fix this just add a couple drops of water and stir it up again to keep it smooth. You could also make the cookies with just one chocolate cookie, spread some frosting on top just out to the edges and sprinkle the entire thing with crushed candy cane.
Allow the cookies to dry at room temperature before storing between layers of parchment paper in a container. Store at room temperature for a few days. Or for longer storage, you can freeze these cookies and thaw them at room temperature before serving them at holidays parties and potlucks!