Over the weekend, I always get antsy for some sweet treats… so what could be better than making a vegan version of the famed Pepperidge Farm Verona Cookie? I decided to experiment with different types of jams and preserves in conjunction with using the Sugar Cookie Recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, with great results… in my opinion at least. Read on and let ME know what YOU thought of it! Commentees will be treated to unlimited Verona Cookies, I promise ;)
Here is the recipe… I do implore you to purchase this lovely book though. It has supplied me with plenty of vegan goodies that’ve won the hearts (and tummies!) of vegan and non-vegan compadres alike!
Sugar Cookies Base:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (112g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, room temperature (I usually use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for this)
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg Replacer (equivalent of 1 egg)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Strawberry, Raspberry, Marmalade Jam for filling (whatever flavor you prefer)
In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.
With an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy for 3-4 mins. I prefer simply using a wooden spoon to mix it together, but it is entirely to your preference (gotta build those arm muscles!).
Add the egg replacer, water and vanilla extract and beat until you have a smooth dough. Finally, add the flour mixture. My dough looked very crumbly, probably because of the colder weather… but once you mold it together with your hands, it should turn out fine, don’t fear!
Wrap the shaped dough in plastic and store in the fridge for an hour, until firm enough to roll.
After the dough is firm enough, you can then begin to shape your cookies!
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pieces of the dough in your hands, forming a ball, before flattening into a circle.
The dough will be a bit delicate if you make it too thin, so make sure it is thick, but not too thick, when you come around to shaping it. Experiment with what thickness works best for you. If the dough is too thick, the cookie will not bake evenly and as a result will be very dense and unappetizing.
After you have flattened the dough to your liking, maintaining the circle shape, it is time to create the “frame” in which to put the jelly.
Here comes the hard part: making the frame is probably the most labor-intensive step in the cookie creation.
The sides of the flattened circle are quite brittle and prone to breaking off, and in order to counteract that, you must apply even pressure when creating the frame.
Fold the outer edges towards the middle, at first disregarding the breakage. After you have the broken pieces of the edges along the outside of the circle, you can then push/mold them together to form the frame.
It’s the easiest way to make the edges stick. With repeated attempts, you’ll become more familiar with the nature of the dough, and it will be easier for you.
Remember to keep the cookie shape as uniform as possible, as this will result in a more evenly baked cookie.
This step is very labor-intensive, and if you want to abandon making the Verona Cookie (believe me, I was tempted to!), you may wish to simply make sugar cookies with the dough alone.
The completed frame should look something like this:
Now for the fun part. Adding the jelly is very easy, just make sure you don’t add too much, as this will make the cookie very bulky, which, again, is not ideal for even baking.
Keep the “frame” part of the cookie as clean as possible.
You can also experiment with fun shapes like I did here:
After you have filled the frames to your heart’s content, arrange them on your baking sheet and pop ’em in the oven for 20 mins or so at 350 degrees. I made sure to put the cookies that turned out bigger towards the back of the oven.
Be careful not to overbake, as the jam burns quite easily. Leave them out to cool for about a half hour… else they will crumble!! You have been warned!
Once they are nice and cooled, grab a hefty cup o’Silk and eat those hard-won cookies! :)