Thanksgiving really is the best flavor. I can’t think of anything so purely comforting than the smell and taste of sage, rosemary, onion, cranberry, and bread, bread, bread. Not even chocolate. (Chocolate, you know I love you, but it’s…a different kind of love.) Chances are, I’m associating this flavor with the family get-togethers of my childhood, four-day weekends, and confabbing with my brother on the toughest task of the year: The Christmas Wishlist.
Since I was on my own this Thanksgiving (Tom’s still in Nepal, and I do not fly for holidays), I was under zero pressure to put together any sort of respectable feast. So I made these cookies instead.
The headline on The Huffington Post’s article was “Thanksgiving Stuffing Cookies Are About to Blow Your Mind.” Normally, I read this type of hype as more like, “We tried these and they were pretty OK, but we really want you to click on this link.” But come on, “Thanksgiving Stuffing Cookies,” that’s like a hypnobeam, MDMA, and a siren song all ganging up on me. I didn’t stand a chance.
New York’s Downtown Cookie Co offered up their recipe exclusively to HuffPo, and was (duh) very not vegan. But it was very easy to veganize (and cut down on the sugar a wee bit and up the cinnamon, because cinnamon). And these cookies were amazing from start to finish: The uncooked dough was delicious, the smell coming from the oven as they baked was a sweet, herby hug, and the finished product was subtle yet full-bodied. There’s definitely a savory lean to them, but the brown sugar–heavy cookie base really does make them accessible.
I’ve only made the one batch, and I think the only thing I would do differently next time would be to watch my cooking time more closely. The recipe said 10 minutes, but I let them go until they browned up a bit, more like 15 minutes, so they were a little crispy the next day—not a problem for me in the least, but I’d just like to experiment a bit. I was confident enough in them that I brought some to Janessa, who was volunteering at the Tofurky Trot with me, and she gushed a bit more than her normally gushy baseline, so I’ll take that as a good sign. And I might mix things up by pulsing the stuffing in a food processor to break it down a little, for more uniform cookies…because the ones in my photo (again, while delicious and delightful) looked nothing like the ones in the HuffPo photo.
So here’s my veganized version of the Downtown Cookie Co’s stuffing cookie. Note: I made the full amount and came up with 2½ dozen 2.5-ish-inch cookies. This is a lot of cookie dough; I used my biggest mixing bowl and had a hard time mixing at the end without flinging bits over the side.
- 1 c original Earth Balance (I use the tub, because I have no other use for the way-greasy sticks.)
- 1 c brown sugar
- ¼ c white sugar
- 6 T water, plus 2 T ground flaxseed, whisked together and set aside for a few minutes to get all goopy
- 1 t vanilla
- 1¾ c AP flour
- ¼ t baking powder
- ¼ t salt
- ½ t cinnamon
- 2½ c dry Arrowhead Mills savory stuffing mix, with any giant bread chunks removed (I got mine at Food Fight! but I’ve seen it at Whole Foods.)
- 1 c dried sweetened cranberries
Normal cookie instructions apply. Get the flax mixture started in its own little bowl so it has time to come together. Mix your dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the EB and sugars, then beat in the flax and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients until it all comes together uniformly. The stuffing mix will be a combination of small bread chunks and crumbs, with just a few too-big chunks. While you’re mixing, if some of them just seem ridiculous or not wanting to play with the rest of the dough, I highly recommend you pluck them out and eat them immediately.
Drop 2-tablespoonish dollops of dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and smoosh them a bit to round them out. Bake in a 350° for around 12-ish minutes. If you overcook, they’ll just be crispier than chewy.