Holiday cookie recipe: Vegan almond sables

A little coconut oil, almond meal, sugar, flour and cacao nibs are the basis for these tender cookies, rich with a sable's signature "sandy" texture. Just one bite, and you might never guess these cookies are dairy-free. They also happen to be vegan. Perfect for everyone, including your health-conscious friends.

VEGAN ALMOND SABLES

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling times | Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Note: Sugar is often processed using animal bone char, which is unacceptable to many vegans. This recipe calls for vegan sugar (animal-free processing), which is generally available at health food markets, as well as online.

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup almond meal
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) flour
1/2 cup cacao nibs

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. By hand, stir in the almond meal and flour until thoroughly incorporated. Use your hands if needed to knead the ingredients, still in the bowl, together to form a uniform dough. Stir or knead in the cacao nibs.

3. Form the dough into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter, and roll in a sheet of plastic wrap (the dough will be crumbly, and the plastic wrap will keep each cookie in place as it is sliced). If the dough is too soft to slice, refrigerate the log to firm it up, 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log, still in the plastic wrap to support the dough, crosswise into slices one-fourth-inch thick. Remove any pieces of plastic wrap and space the slices 11/2 to 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Tip: Rotate the log one quarter-turn in between slices to keep the round shape of the cookies as they are sliced.

5. Bake the cookies until set and very lightly colored, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through for even baking.

6. Place the baking sheets on a rack and cool the cookies completely before removing.

Each of 18 servings: Calories 177; Protein 2 grams; Carbohydrates 11 grams; Fiber 2 grams; Fat 14 grams; Saturated fat 10 grams; Cholesterol 0; Sugar 4 grams; Sodium 33 mg.

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