Thanksgiving Dessert - Vegan and Untraditionally Traditional!

When Kel and I were younger my mom was always in charge of bringing the desserts to any family function because she is the most amazing baker. Pies, cakes, cookies - you name it and she could conquer it.  She would make an old family recipe for sugar cut out cookies with frosting and they were the most delicious things I have ever eaten.  It was fun to bake with her because we could pick out any shape from endless amounts of cookie cutters and use fun frostings and sprinkles.  As a child I was oblivious and decided I didn’t like pie so when Thanksgiving came around my mom would always ask me what I wanted for dessert.  Granted she still made all sorts of pies for everyone else but she always made sure my sister and I got to pick out something special to have.  And without fail every year I would say cut out cookies.  So we made Christmas cookies on Thanksgiving and it became a family tradition.  At first the rest of the family thought it was silly but after one taste they weren’t too opposed to cookies and pie at Thanksgiving.  When we started eating gluten free and vegan my moms secret cookie recipe was forever changed.  We couldn’t seem to master the soft doughy cookie with sugared frosting that I loved so much.  Gluten free flours would make the cookie too crispy or not airy enough.  So for a few years we didn’t have Christmas cookies at Thanksgiving but this year I’m bringing it back! Even if the cookies taste a little bit different I am willing to adjust my expectations because I love a good frosted cut out cookie.  It’s my go to favorite dessert (that, and chocolate because, chocolate!)  

Vegan Gluten Free Sugar Cut Outs

1/3 cup vegan butter, room temperature (I use Miyoko’s brand)

1 cup natural sugar 

1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax, 3 tbsp water - mix and let rest ten minutes)

1/4 cup applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (a blend of different gluten free flours is best, you can buy it mixed or mix your own)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

granulated sugar for decorating

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar until they become a fluffy mixture.

  2. Add in the flax egg, applesauce, and vanilla. Beat until all ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.

  3. In a separate bowl mix baking powder, salt, and flour mixture. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture slowly until well combined. 

  4. Roll the dough into a ball and cover with a plate or plastic wrap.  Let chill in the fridge for 2 hours.  The longer you let it chill the better your cookies will come out - do not rush this step. 

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pull the dough out of the fridge and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Lay parchment paper out on your counter top and cover lightly with flour.  (Parchment paper is optional, it just makes for an easier cleanup.) Roll dough out to 1/4 inch and cut out with whatever shape cookie cutters you want! Add granulated sugar to the tops before baking if you prefer or leave plain for frosting after baking.  Bake cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets for 15-18 minutes until cookies are golden on the edges.  

  6. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before frosting and decorating.


Vegan Creamy Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup oat milk

1/3 cup vegan butter

Just whip all ingredients in a standing mixer until you have the consistency you want.  Add more milk for a thinner frosting or try adding some maple syrup for a maple sugar cookie!


Although we have our traditions for the holiday season, I’m never opposed to trying something different.  This year Kel asked if we could have lemon scones and coffee with coconut whipped cream. A very specific and odd request I thought.  So I put Kel in charge of picking out the coffee, I added coconut whipped cream to the shopping list, and I found my way to Pinterest to find a lemon scone recipe.  I didn’t have the time to create my own lemon scone recipe for this holiday so I will link the one I am going to use here. While lemon scones don’t exactly scream Thanksgiving to me I was excited to try them! I love scones and anything that has a sweet glaze on it so adding lemon scones to the dessert menu was perfectly fine with me.  

**So I made these scones twice because the first time I thought I had messed up.  I accidentally used baking soda instead of the actual recipe recommendation of baking powder but they turned out delicious. So I remade them with the baking powder and they were not very good.  I also did not chop and freeze my butter like she recommended because the Miyoko’s vegan butter is pretty solid when you first take it out of the fridge. So follow the recipe at your discretion - I don’t know why mine came out this way!


Yes, we are having pie on Thanksgiving so do not worry! My dad requested apple pie so my mom is pitching in and making her famous apple pie crisp which is bound to be delicious.  I’m not going to leave the recipe for that one here but check out Instagram for some delicious looking pictures tomorrow on Thanksgiving! I’m also going to try to post on the story as I’m cooking so you can check that out too! I’d really love to make a chocolate almond butter pie this holiday season because that sounds delicious so if you’re looking for a pie recipe stay tuned for a pie blog post or a post on Instagram (@thenineteensixty).  I’ll have to craft one up that satisfies my cravings!

Tell us what desserts you’re splurging on this Thanksgiving in the comments below! Happy Thanksgiving friends - I’m so grateful for each and every one of you. 

-J