Anyone who says vegan baked goods can't be delicious is just plain wrong. Sure, you might not be able to pull off a chocolate souffle using flax seeds and bananas, but if you embrace the sorts of recipes that vegan ingredients can easily be adapted to, you'll find yourself with delicious, moral pastries.
While I'm not vegan, I am vegetarian, so I can appreciate the difficulties in mimicking some of the classics using finicky substitutes. Luckily, shortbread does not use eggs, which means you can bake some fantastic vegan shortbread without sacrificing its typical properties.
This shortbread is a fantastic cookie to eat with afternoon tea (duh). I might have even nibbled on some for breakfast this morning.
Chocolate Chip Chai Spice ShortbreadAdapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chanda Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
1/2c nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/2c butter substitute (I love Earth Balance)
3/4c powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1c all purpose flour
1c whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Generous pinch each of ground coriander and ground black pepper
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag of chai tea leaves (approximately 1tsp)
4 oz of dark chocolate, finely chopped or healing 1/2c of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using electric beaters in a large bowl, cream together the shortening and butter substitute until smooth. Fold in the powdered sugar and vanilla, then cream again until smooth and creamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, pepper, baking soda, salt, and tea. Fold half of this mixture into the creamed shortening mixture to moisten all ingredients. Fold in the remaining flour until a dense dough forms. Knead in chocolate pieces.
Divide the dough and form two logs. Chill for 30 minutes or so to reduce crumbliness issues. With a thin, sharp knife, carefully slice logs into 1/2 inch slices. Transfer slices to making sheets, placing each slide about 2 inches apart. Bake shortbread for 12 to 14 minutes until slightly puffed yet firm and the edges are turning golder. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before using a spatula to transfer them to cooling racks.