These are traditional Italian cookies normally served at Christmas, but they're are just too cute to leave for the holidays. Why not make them any time of the year... like a kids birthday party or a baby shower! Because anything with funfetti rainbow sprinkles is tops!
We would've never thought to make a vegan version of these cookies if it weren't for a series we took part in on Kin Community's YouTube channel called Dinner Exchange. This recipe was developed by a hot for foodie named Joe Rap and he took his grandma's old family recipe and made it vegan for us to try. Go watch Dinner Exchange now to learn all about his story!
** makes 110 to 120 small cookies
4 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 C (2 sticks or 8 oz) vegan butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 C granulated sugar
3 egg substitutes (we used Neat Egg but you could replace with ground flax)
* 1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg (let thicken for 10 minutes)
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
2 C or 16 oz vegan ricotta (we used Tofutti brand)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 C powdered sugar
1 to 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract OR more lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl combine flour with baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
In another large bowl cream butter with sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft and fluffy. Then add vanilla or almond extract and gradually add the egg substitute in portions while continuing to beat the mixture together. If using a stand mixer you can continue to mix in the ricotta and zest on low speed until well combined or use a spatula to fold it into the mixture by hand.
Then gradually add portions of the flour mixture and fold it into the batter until you have a soft and smooth ball of dough.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and roll 3/4-inch round balls of dough. Space slightly apart on the sheets. Do not flatten. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for 10 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely on a wire before icing.
Combine the powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of non-dairy milk until smooth. Gradually add extra teaspoons of milk until you get a smooth and oozing icing. The icing should move slightly on the cookie but not drip a lot down the sides.
Dip the tops of each cookie into the icing allowing excess to drip off. Place face up on the baking sheets and add rainbow sprinkles. Let the cookies sit out to dry the icing. Store in containers between layers of parchment paper at room temperature with a loose fitting lid or wrapped loosely with plastic wrap. Some air can get in. If you seal the containers air tight for storage that may make the icing sugar become moist and absorb into the cookies.
Do not freeze this cookie dough. Rather freeze finished cookies once they're completely dry and layer them between parchment paper. Keep for up to 2 months. Thaw batches to room temperature before serving.
Thanks so much to Joe, his mom Anna, and of course his grandma for letting us share this family recipe!
NOTE: grandma's original recipe included anise extract in replace of almond or vanilla but that flavour isn't our favourite! You can substitute as you like.