Handmade Holidays: Vegan Cookie Mix

Creative Commons photo from Flickr user jessicafm
The weather is getting colder, and we have a handmade holiday on our minds! Handmade gifts have heart, are better for the environment, and, if you opt to buy, it supports independent artists! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be posting about recycled gifts you can make yourself and great handmade finds for sale.

A mason jar full of cookie mix is a pretty traditional handmade Christmas gift. This project gives the idea a green face lift using a delicious vegan cookie recipe. Cutting back on eggs and dairy can help folks lower their carbon footprints by avoiding these animal products. The recipe in this project is based on my favorite chocolate chip cookies: Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. These things are foolproof, and no one ever suspects that they’re vegan. It’s a great way to help folks see that vegan baking can have delicious results!
Here’s what you need to make one gift jar:

  • quart-sized mason jar
  • 2c flour
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • generous 1/2c dried cranberries
  • 1c sugar
  • generous 1/2c vegan dark chocolate chips
  • hole punch
  • gift tag big enough for the recipe and directions
  • yarn, ribbon, string, or twine

You’ll want to decorate the jar before you start, so that it stays pretty much upright after it’s packed. Too much jostling will mix up the dry ingredients and you’ll lose those pretty layers of ingredients! Decorate however you like – maybe wrap the jar with a handmade label?

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pour this into the bottom of the mason jar and tap the jar on the counter until everything is level. It’s important to get things packed in nicely, so you maintain the colorful layers! Add the dried cranberries, pressing them gently. Pour in the sugar, using your wooden spoon to smooth the top out a bit. Top the jar off with chocolate chips. If there’s any extra room in the jar, you can add more chocolate chips. No one has ever complained about chocolate chip cookies being too chocolatey! Close off the top of the mason jar.

Make your recipe card. You get bonus points here for using reclaimed paper or cardboard. A paper grocery bag or old cereal box works great! Punch a hole in the corner, so you can tie it to the bag, and write on your recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients from this jar in a large bowl, stirring well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine: 1/2c vegetable oil and 1t vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until there are no lumps remaining. If the dough seems dry, add the water one teaspoon at a time until it forms a nice ball.
  5. Drop 2 tablespoons at a time onto a baking sheet, flattening each ball of dough slightly, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are golden brown.
  6. Yield: about 24 cookies

Use your ribbon, twine, or yarn to attach the recipe to the jar, and you’re ready to gift! If you’re trying to be a bit thriftier this year, you can even cut the recipe in half and make cute little pint-sized jars of mix!

[Image Credit: Jessica Merz on Flickr under a Creative Commons license]

24 thoughts on “Handmade Holidays: Vegan Cookie Mix”

  1. I made these, but I made them for Pint jars so I halved the recipe. I found that I needed to double the amount of water, because when I halved the recipe and added the oil and water the batter was waaaay too dry. I don’t know if that would be the case if I did not halve the recipe. That said, these are delicious and I am making them for all of my family for Christmas.

    1. Thanks for the tip – I only have pint sized jars and was about to (sadly) give up on this recipe until I saw your comment!

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  3. Very excited I found this! I’m planning on making cookie mix in jars for Christmas presents this year, and I had a dilemma because one of my best friends is Indian (doesn’t eat eggs.) I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a recipe in a jar for her.

  4. We just made a batch to test your cookie recipe with poor results.

    1/2 cup oil is a lot for cookies. If I were to make these again, I’d try 1/3 cup as the mixture was too oily. I also had to add additional water as the mixture was too dry. 6 Tbsp water in total. You could probably do this recipe using 1/3 cup oil and 1/3 cup water for best results.

    The cookies didn’t bake in 11 minutes, so I added another 3 minutes. And another 3 minutes. And another 3 minutes. 20 minutes altogether, and the cookies were still not thoroughly “baked” in the center. The cookies taste good, but my partner pointed out it was because we were eating sugar and fat.

    1. They should be very soft when you pull them out of the oven, since they firm up a lot when they cool. We’re they soft when they cooled after 20 min of baking? I’ve never left them in the oven for more than 11 min.

      Nice tip on using less oil and more water! I don’t tend to go for healthy when I’m making desserts. They are cookies. Sugar and fat come with the territory.

      1. I had the exact same experience as Jhames. I used 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup apple sauce and it was very dry. I added 1/4 water. The dough was super sticky. After 20 minutes they did not looked cooked. They were slightly hard on the outside but still white. The inside wasn’t cooked right. So sad, I had planned on giving these as gifts!

        1. So strange! I’ve been using this recipe for years without a problem, though I usually do all oil – no applesauce. 1/4 cup water sounds like too much – I’d add it a teaspoon or so at a time until the dough feels right, but it’s OK if the dough feels slighly fall-aparty. If you made the dough too wet by adding too much water, that would explain why they didn’t cook up. I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you!

          1. Thanks, Becky!

            I tried it again staying exactly to the recipe. The dough was very dry and crumbly, but I was able to form balls. After 12 minutes they were cooked, but didn’t look so (did not turn a nice golden brown like the picture). They taste fine, but taste more like a sugar cookie than chocolate chip.

            I think I think you’d need to give very specific directions (like to expect crumbly dough, they won’t spread out, and that they won’t turn golden brown) to anyone making this, as they aren’t fool proof! I’d be a little nervous giving this to a non-vegan, as they don’t cook like a non-vegan cookie. It’s hard though because most good recipes call for Earth Balance, which you can’t put in a jar πŸ˜‰

            1. Oooh those are some great points, and maybe the trouble is that I’m so used to making vegan cookies – especially ones based on this recipe – that I’m used to how the dough turns out. I like the idea of giving those extra tips in the directions!

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  6. These turned out great! The Happy Vegan recipe is my favorite, and I always wanted to turn it into a gift but wasn’t sure how it would turn out – thank you for putting this together! The original recipe calls for mixing the oil, water, and sugar before adding them to the dry ingredients, and I think that’s why this version seems so dry. Rather than adding water, I suggest mixing the dough by hand if needed after mixing with a spoon to fully mix the ingredients. I suspect the extra water is what made them not bake in 12 min. ~ they turned out fine for me in that time. The only change I made was doubling the chocolate chips and leaving out the cranberries. Thanks for the great idea ~ this is what everyone’s getting for Christmas:)

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  11. I was verging on 3/4 cup of chips with my extra space and still had room so I added pecans. I hope the recipient loves them. I was very happy to find a vegan cookie in a jar recipe, thank you!

  12. Vegetarians vary in their feelings regarding these ingredients, however. For example, while some vegetarians may be unaware of animal-derived rennet’s role in the usual production of cheese and may therefore unknowingly consume the product,[‘^;”

    Have a good day

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