Gluten Free Vegan Animal Crackers

I have been meaning to share this recipe for a while as my family loves them. I try to make them at least once a month, but I have started making bigger batches and freezing them (not quite as good, but pretty close).

These are relatively simple, but time consuming as you do have to cut out each animal cracker individually. I find that the dough is a tad bit sticky, so it takes a bit of work to get your extra flour for rolling and prevent sticking to your cookie cutters.

I use little cutouts that I got off of amazon that are actually meant for fruit, veggies and cookies. Super little and super cute. You can use whatever shapes you want, I love making them in shapes my daughter recognizes like bunny ears or fish etc, but circles work just as good. I like them small as they are great for little fingers (a little bit bigger than my thumbnail is my go to).

I have used several different flour mixes and I have found the one on the link the best: Gluten Free Baking Mix.

Gluten Free Vegan Animal Crackers

  • Servings: 200 small crackers, 90 standard animal crackers
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Ingredients
1 1/3 C Gluten Free Baking Mix flour
1/8 tsp baking soda (1)
1/4 tsp salt (2)
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 C vegan butter, room temp. (I use miyokos butter) (3)
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce, room temp.
1/3 C cane sugar
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2 Tbsp warm water (thickened for 5 minutes) (I use golden flaxseed meal so it isn’t visible in my baking)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (4)
3/8 tsp apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice (1)

Directions
1. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg), set aside.
2. In a large bowl vigorously whip the butter with the back of your fork until fluffy (2 minutes). Add the applesauce and sugar. Fluff until well mixed (another minute). Add the flax “egg”, vanilla and apple cider vinegar/lemon juice and whisk until blended in.
3. Add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients as you stir to make a nice cookie dough
4. Divide into 3 balls and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour (I wrap each ball individually in saran wrap to prevent drying out).
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
6. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out one ball of dough until 1/4″ thick. Using mini animal cookie cutters cut out your cookies.
7. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges begin to lightly brown.
8. Allow to cool on a wire rack, enjoy. Will store in an airtight container for up to 1 week on the counter. Freeze in airtight container for longer lasting crackers, take out prior to enjoying.

Notes
(1) Baking soda & apple cider vinegar: This is a substitute for 1/2 tsp baking powder.
Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(2) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(3) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted). Many of vegan butter have corn derivatives.
(4) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

I used to try to find recipes online by searching for recipes with gluten free, dairy free etc. in the heading. My husband had a great idea, why not just find a regular recipe because we know that it works, and adapt it with my gluten free flour mixes.

I placated him only to discover that most of the time it actually works really well and tastes delicious!

This is a recipe I found online and thought sounded delicious and had to make. I have had people begging me for them since I made them in March for my birthday. I also made them for my brother’s wedding reception and had several people exclaim that it was the best cupcake they have ever had.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients
Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour (used my GF all purpose flour mix)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (1)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (2)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil) (3)
  • 3/4 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 large egg (I use Bob’s Red Mill Vegan Egg Replacer or a flaxseed egg to make it egg free) (4)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (to make dairy free use per 1 cup milk alternative, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel Frosting

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (6)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (I use Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar) (8)
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (see above)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cream, as needed (I have never needed any additional cream, if you do and need dairy free, you could use coconut cream)

Instructions
Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with muffin papers. (I like to use silicone cups as who knows what is in the paper)
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract (about 1 minute). Carefully beat in buttermilk.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture about 1/2 at a time, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, carefully beat in the boiling water.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full (It is super sticky, I find using an ice cream scoop with trigger release the best due to how sticky it is)
  7. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the tops feel slightly firm to the touch, toothpick comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Add the sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Heat the sugar while whisking constantly.
  3. Eventually, after whisking gently, the mixture will become smooth and dark amber in colour. Be careful and whisk constantly or else your caramel can burn.
  4. Carefully whisk in the chopped butter until it is fully melted (it will bubble up).
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream.
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract & salt. Set aside to cool (I store it in jars in the fridge)

Caramel Frosting

  1. In a large bowl beat the butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  2. Beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar, starting with mixer on low, increased to medium to incorporated.
  3. Mix in 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (you will not need all that you made). It must be 100% cooled before adding it to the frosting.
  4. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with 1 Tbsp of cream until the desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
  5. Frost the cupcakes using a knife or a piping bag (I used a 1M tip). Optionally, drizzle each cupcake with more salted caramel sauce. (If you are using the MELT butter your icing will be SUPER soft. Ice and put immediately into a fridge and only remove right before serving)

Recipe Notes
(1) Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be.
(2) Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(3) Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. I usually use grapeseed oil. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful.
(4) Some egg replacers contain corn, Bob’s Red Mill Vegan Egg Replacer is a good option, but you can also use flaxseed meal and make an egg if you need to be egg free as we do.
(5) Vanilla is made with alcohol, usually corn based, so many make their own safe vanilla. I haven’t done this yet as I need to get some vanilla beans. I’ll post how to make it when I do, just know, without homemade vanilla, this likely isn’t truly corn free.
(6) Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELT, Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter).
(7) When looking at canned coconut milk or cream be sure to check for gums. The one I buy is gum free as corn is used to make all the “gum” ingredients such as guar gum.
(8) Powdered sugar/icing sugar contains cornstarch to prevent clumping. I buy Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar as they use tapioca starch instead. It is possible to make your own.
(9) Store your cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge (if you use any dairy alternative butters the icing tends to be softer so needs to be stored in the fridge). Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen and thawed as desired and leftover frosting can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

One thing you always need to make sure is that all ingredients you are using are safe for everyone you want to eat it. Check for “may contain” ingredients or “processed in safe facility as”. Best bet, if you are making for someone else, check with them what brands they recommend that they know are safe for them to eat.

I hope that you can enjoy these as much as we do. I definitely find that these are better the second day when made gluten free.

Let me know if you made these and how they turned out!