Vegan Brown Sugar Cookies
These vegan brown sugar cookies are sweet, soft and can be cut out into any shape you like. They taste delicious paired with some cream cheese frosting!
I think that brown sugar cookies are supposed to be the soft, chewy type of cookies. The ones with the crinkly tops like you get at the bakeries. At least, that’s what I saw online when I was searching for them. But I have plenty of those cookie recipes on my blog already!
Since I made my vegan sugar cookies a few years ago, I have been wondering what they would taste like if I made them with brown sugar instead of white. The same soft, melt-in-your-mouth, iced cookie, just with this simple sugar swap.
I am happy to report that they are just as delicious! And the great thing is that you can still roll and cut them into whatever shape you like, just like regular sugar cookies.
Because they have a warm, caramelly flavour to them, I decided to top these cookies with cream cheese frosting instead of royal icing. It adds an extra layer of indulgence and I think the flavour combination is amazing.
Ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Brown sugar. Of course, this is the main ingredient for these cookies! I recommend using light soft brown sugar, unless you really like the intense, rich flavour that dark brown sugar gives. Is sugar vegan?
- Dairy-free margarine. Use the soft spread for this recipe, not the one that comes in a block. I like to use Vitalite.
- Cinnamon. This adds extra sweetness and flavour, and goes really well with the caramelly flavour that comes from brown sugar. You can substitute it for 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead if you like.
- Plain flour. This is also known as all-purpose flour. This gives the cookies their structure.
- Baking soda. This helps the cookies to rise slightly without making them overly cakey. It helps to produce light, soft cookies with a slight crunch.
- Soy milk. Because these are eggless cookies, I used soy milk to add moisture and help the cookie dough stick together. You can use any other dairy-free milk you like but I recommend soy milk for best results.
- Cream cheese frosting. You can either make dairy-free cream cheese frosting yourself or you can use a store-bought one for ease. If I’m in a rush and don’t have time to make it from scratch, I’ll typically use Betty Crocker’s cream cheese frosting.
How to make vegan brown sugar cookies
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you are using a fan or convection oven). Line a large tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together 150g of dairy-free margarine, 150g of soft light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Next, add 290g of plain flour, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of soy milk to the bowl. Stir until it starts to stick together then use your hands to press it together into a ball of dough. If the dough is too dry, you can add some more soy milk and if it’s too wet, add a little more flour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the cookie dough out to around 1/2 an inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. I used round and star-shaped cookie cutters.
Alternatively, you can roll small pieces of the dough into balls with your hands then flatten them to 1/2-inch thick.
Place your cookies on the lined baking tray and freeze for 15 minutes. This will help them to hold their shape as they bake.
Bake your cookies for 10-15 minutes. Larger cookies will take longer than smaller ones. You’ll know they are ready when they are slightly firm at the edges and have small cracks all over the surface.
I used a 2.5-inch star cutter and a 3-inch fluted round cutter for my cookies. The 2.5-inch ones took 10 minutes to bake and the 3-inch ones took closer to 15.
Let the cookies cool completely on the tray before removing them.
Once the cookies are cool, prepare your dairy-free cream cheese frosting by mixing together 60g of vegan cream cheese, 30g of vegan margarine, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 225g of icing sugar.
Whisk until thick and creamy. If your frosting is too thick, you can add a splash of dairy-free milk to help loosen it. If it’s too runny, pop it in the fridge for an hour or two to help it set.
You could also add more icing sugar to help thicken the frosting but I find this typically makes it way too sweet. If you use Violife cream cheese like I did and ensure your kitchen is not too hot, you should be able to avoid runny frosting!
Transfer your frosting into a piping bag with a small or medium round nozzle and pipe some onto each cookie. Let the frosting set before enjoying.
Alternatively, you can use vegan royal icing to decorate your cookies.
This can happen depending on the specific brands of margarine and milk you use to make your cookies. If the dough is too wet, just add some more flour until you get a nice ball of cookie dough that doesn’t stick to your hands. If it’s too dry or crumbly, add small amounts of extra soy milk until it comes together.
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Un-iced cookies will last for a few days longer.
Yes. You can freeze them with or without the cream cheese frosting. Just pop them into an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.
Alternatively, place the cookies on a lined baking tray and freeze for 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-proof bag and return them to the freezer. You could also wrap them tightly in foil.
To defrost, place the cookies on a wire rack or plate and let them sit out at room temperature for an hour or two until thawed. Do not refreeze.
I hope you enjoy these eggless brown sugar cookies! If you make them at home, please let me know how you get on by leaving a rating and/or comment below. Happy baking! xo
Vegan Brown Sugar Cookies
Soft cut-out cookies made with brown sugar.
- 150 g Vegan margarine
- 150 g Soft light brown sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (sub for vanilla extract)
- 290 g Plain flour
- ½ Teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda/baking soda (do not sub for baking powder)
- 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened soy milk
Cream cheese frosting*
- 60 g Vegan cream cheese
- 30 g Vegan margarine
- 225 g Icing sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C for fan ovens) and line a large tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Add the flour, baking soda and soy milk. Stir until everything starts to stick together then use your hands to press it all into a ball of dough. If dough is too wet, add more flour. If dough is too dry, add more soy milk.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to around ½-inch thick. Cut out your cookie shapes, rerolling leftover pieces until it's all used up.
Place the cookies onto your lined tray and freeze for 15 minutes. This will help them hold shape as they bake.
Remove the cookies from the freezer and immediately bake for around 10-15 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookies but you'll know they're done when they are slightly firm at the edges and have small cracks all over the tops. Allow them to cool completely on the tray.
Cream cheese frosting
Mix the cream cheese, margarine and vanilla together in a medium-sized bowl.
Add the icing sugar, a little at a time. Whisk until thick and creamy. If it's too thick, add a splash of soy milk. If it's too runny, place it in the fridge for an hour or two to allow it to firm up.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with a small or medium round nozzle and pipe some onto each cookie. Allow the frosting to set before serving the cookies.
- *Frosting can be substituted for vegan royal icing or a ready-made vegan-friendly cream cheese frosting such as Betty Crocker’s.
- Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.