Vegan Shoo-Fly Christmas Cookies

Shoo-fly? Here's how this cookie came to be. My hubby and I were watching Pushing Daisies on DVD--a great "canceled" TV show (the great ones always go away). If you are unfamiliar with this show--let me just tell you that the main character is a pie maker, the second character is a beekeeper (I once had bees, but they flew the coup and left their hive), and third, a burly male detective who just so happens to knit. So all parts of this fits into my life quite nicely--pies, bees, knitting. During one episode, a Shoo-fly pie made an appearance. My husband looked at me and said, Did they say 'shoo-fly?' What the heck is shoo-fly? Well, I just smiled and got busy the next day making some shoo-fly of my own as a surprise!

As you know by now, I am willing to try nearly every recipe there is and make it vegan. Lucky for me, this cookie was in one of my heirloom cookbooks that belonged to my mother: Cooking from Quilt Country by Marcia Adams. I think the title of this book says it all. (And we aren't talking California cuisine here folks)--it is all foods straight from the heartland of America! Yum! Amish and Mennonite kitchens mostly--from the folks who are the salt of the earth and who know the value of good food and passing along wonderful recipes. My mother instilled in me the appreciation of the Amish--when, on many of our visits to their towns, she'd almost always remind me how grateful I should be that we have electricity and cars. . . and I was.

The origins of the shoo-fly comes to us from Pennsylvania. It is a soft gingerbread that is cooked in a pastry crust. The cookie shell itself is made with a "hot water" pie crust. I had never made a crust using boiling water. I will from now on--such an easy and wonderful crust! The gingerbread layers are made from a molasses syrup base layered with a crumb mixture in between. From a holiday perspective, this cookie takes top honors as it combines the best of the seasonings for this time of year. I added my own twist to this recipe--increasing the seasonings for the crumb base and increasing the amount of molasses for good measure. Oh, and no butter, but Earth Balance Butter and Shortening Sticks. You will surprise folks with this as it is a terrific, little-known cookie. I had one mishap in my making of this cookie. I added 1 cup of Earth Balance--the recipe called for 3/4 cup. I didn't make the catch until I had made my layers and placed it in the oven for about five minutes. Being a woman of iron will and all--I just mixed up another 1/4 cup of flour with the same amount of brown sugar and swilred it in the already beginning to heat cookie. I crossed my fingers and re-set the timer. All's well that ends well--it was just fine!

Boiling Water Pie Crust

2 sticks (or 1 cup) of Earth Balance Shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup boiling water

Take the shortening and chop it into pieces and let it set in a bowl for about 20 minutes--to bring to room temperature. Next, add salt. Take a fork or other mixing device and mush up the shortening really well after it has softened. Pour the boiling water over it and mix with hand blender to combine. Allow mixture to sit and come to room temperature--about 15 or so minutes. Add the flour and form mixture into a ball. It will come together quickly. Set this in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Now, move on to prepping the filling.

Vegan Shoo-Fly Christmas Cookies

1 batch boiling water pie crust
1/4 plus 1/8 cup molasses
1/8 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
Crumb Top
1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) Earth Balance Butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly oil an glass 9 x 13 baking dish. Pyrex would work well. Roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap--to about the size of the baking dish and then some. Place the dough into the baking dish, then flatten it out so that it comes up the sides and reaches the top. Crimp the top edges to keep the crust from creeping down during baking--it is not a huge deal if it does creep down a bit, but just try to not let it happen. Mix the crumb mixture in a food processor. Next, in a bowl, add the syrups, baking soda and boiling water. Mix well. Now, pour 1/2 cup of the wet liquid into the pie shell, then sprinkle about a third of the crumb mixture over this. Repeat two more times. Place in oven and bake for about 35 minutes. The top will begin to be a bit golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut the cookies into 1" pieces and place in an air tight container and set in the fridge. *I think these cookies are best served a little cool vs. at room temperature.


  1. Girl, these look like mini-pies! (that is a good thing, if you're wondering!)

  2. LOL! They DO look like mini pies--I love them!
    Is that name "shoo-fly" not a hoot?!

  3. I LOVED Pushing Daisies! ABC cancels all the good shows.
    These cookies look amazing!

  4. Thank goodness!--there are others like us out there--his other show, Dead Like Me--is just as great as PD! It's gone, too. These cookies/mini pies are sooo good--my husband thinks they taste like a pumpkin brownie--not sure I agree, but he loves anything with a kick of spice--and you can improvise in that area with these. I was thrilled with how they turned out!

  5. Heck YES! This looks super yummy! And it's so true. All the good shows get cancelled. Boo.


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