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"Cream Cheese" Cookies with Chocolate Icing

What you need: 

Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan butter-flavored shortening
(for sweeter cookies, use regular shortening instead)
1 cup sugar
8 ounces vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract Icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (I use almond)
1 tablespoon butter-flavored shortening, softened

What you do: 

1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside. Begin with the cookies by combining flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; mix and set aside.
2. In a larger bowl, beat shortening, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
3. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, allowing for easier handling. Roll chilled dough into 1 1/2" balls and place 1-2" apart on prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cookie comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
5. For the icing, combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add shortening and almond milk, stirring until smooth. Place approximately 1 teaspoon icing on top of each cooled cookie and allow to drip over the sides. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, allowing the icing to harden slightly.
Source of recipe: Cream cheese in a cookie? Yes, please! This recipe was inspired by an Italian cookie that I used to make before I went vegan. It called for ricotta cheese, so instead of using that, I thought, “Why not use cream cheese?” These cookies are versatile as they can be made buttery or sweet.

Preparation Time: 
30-45 minutes, Cooking time: 18-20 minutes
Cooking Time: 
18-20 minutes
Servings: 
30
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

I sooo want to try these.  Two things I'd like to try to change and I don't want to destroy these tasty looking treats.  I would like to make my own vegan cream cheese (same concept as my raw vegan creamcheese filling... soaked raw cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil and maple syrup).  Secondly, I want to make them gluten free, do you suppose they'd stay together?

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