These vegan, gluten-free cookies are delicious year-round but especially yummy during the festive season.  Both recipes are from Jae Steele, a registered holistic nutritionist, author of two vegan cookbooks and a past karma yogi at the Ashram.

The Sugar Plum Fairy cookies are “spicy and sweet, these thumbprint cookies are a real treat,” says Jae. “Forget what you’ve heard about vegan or gluten-free cookies, these have a delightful texture — both light and crisp.”  Jae calls xanthan gum “the prized assistant in gluten-free baking recipes” since it helps to bind and improve texture. Look for it in the organic/natural food section of supermarkets or at bulk stores (although it’s usually sold in a bag).

“And the little yellow amaranth seeds in the Constellation Cookies look like stars in a dark chocolate galaxy. Amaranth is a beautiful plant that grows happily in Africa, Asia, and South America, but it will grow in our bioregion (southern Canada), too!”


Constellation Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups light spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (fair trade)
  • 2 tbsp amaranth
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 scant cup softened non-hydrogenated coconut oil or sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup organic/fair trade sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetended if store-bought)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips


Cooking Instruction
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper or a light coating of oil.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, amaranth, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Cream together the oil and sugar in another bowl, preferably with an electric mixer, for about 1 minute.  Beat in the applesauce and vanilla.
  3. Add creeemy mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix just until all the flour is incorporated.  Add the chocolate and mix to evenly disperse throughout the dough.
  4. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place them on the baking sheets.  Press each ball gently to flatten, to about 1/2 in (1 cm) thickness.  Bake for about 15 minutes, just until crusty on top but still soft.
  5. Eat’em warm or let cool completely on the baking sheet before storing an airtight container.

Makes about 30 cookies.


About the Author

jae-author-picjae steele is a registered holistic nutritionist, the author of two vegan cookbooks, Get It Ripe and Ripe from around Hereand has been a karma yogi at Yasodhara Ashram.

Learn more about jae.



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Sugar Plum Fairy Cookies
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4  cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plum jam, blended if chunky
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar for dusting (optional)


Cooking Instruction
  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Whisk up dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add wet ingredients, and mix until all flour is absorbed.  Scoop by tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Make an indent with your thumb in centre of each cookie.
  3. Fill the dent in each cookie with about 1/2 tsp jam.
  4. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating trays after 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  If desired, dust with icing sugar using fine mesh strainer.  Enjoy and feel blessed.

Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

Makes 36 cookies.