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Gingerbread cookies made for vegans are traditional spiced cookies made from ingredients that are not derived from animals. Gingerbread and gingerbread cookies can be made from a variety of recipes, and the same holds true for vegan versions of these popular treats. When making vegan gingerbread cookies, a cook will typically substitute a vegetable oil, shortening, or margarine for butter. In recipes that call for eggs, the cook will use a vegan egg replacement that may be homemade or purchased from a commercial manufacturer. Some vegan cooks may also use vegan sugar while baking these cookies.
Veganism is a dietary and ethical philosophy that rejects consumption of animal ingredients. While vegetarians traditionally eschew meat, vegans also refrain from eating eggs or dairy products. In addition, some vegans also refuse to eat honey or foods that have been processed using animal products, such as sugar that has been granulated using animal bones. As many baked goods, including gingerbread cookies, rely on eggs and dairy products for flavor and texture, producing vegan gingerbread cookies can be a challenge for inexperienced cooks. Given the interest in vegan cooking in recent years, however, there are now several recipes for vegan gingerbread cookies available online and in cookbooks.
Gingerbread cookies can be prepared in a variety of ways. Some are thick and slightly chilly, while others can be made both thin and crisp. The cookies can be made in a variety of shapes, including circles, gingerbread men, and other festive shapes, particularly around the winter holidays. Another popular use of gingerbread cookie dough is in the construction of gingerbread houses. As each recipe uses different portions of flours, sugars, and liquids, it is important for the vegan cook to pay attention when substituting vegan ingredients for butter and eggs.
In many cases, making a vegan substitution for fat in a baking recipe is not particularly difficult. Various vegetable shortenings and margarines are on the market and can be used as substitutes for butter. Some recipes for vegan gingerbread cookies do not require the use of any type of solid fat or shortening and instead rely on liquid vegetable oils. Egg substitutes are another matter. Some vegans blend ground flaxseed with water to make a gel that can be used as an egg substitute. There are also commercially prepared vegan egg substitutes on the market that can be used in baking recipes, and these typically can be found at major supermarkets or health food stores.