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These vegan cinnamon twist cookies are the ultimate Christmas treat! They’re made with just 8 simple ingredients and baked into a soft and decadent pastry cookie. You won’t be able to resist enjoying more than one!
The Origin of Cinnamon Twist Cookies
Cinnamon twist cookies were a classic recipe in my (Chris) family growing up. My parents baked up a storm every holiday season, and these Cinnamon Twist Christmas Cookies were always in the mix.
The origins of these cookies lead back to Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine. You may know these cookies as “scuffles” or “cinnamon sugar rolls.” They’re made primarily from a simple pastry dough with a simple cinnamon sugar filling. Depending on the variation you come across, they may be made into thin cinnamon twists, like our version, or rolled into more of a crescent shape.
Either way, these cinnamon twist cookies are absolutely delicious and absolutely worth a try!
Growing up, my parents baked up a storm every holiday season, and these Cinnamon Twist Christmas Cookies were always in the mix. Made with a simple blend of butter, cream cheese, and flour, the dough was super simple to veganize. I definitely recommend using Kite Hill cream cheese or making your own! We have a recipe for our cream cheese linked in the recipe card below. The pastry dough is light and flaky with a delicate buttery flavor. Inside is a layer of cinnamon, sugar, and nuts. I know this is probably obvious, but the flavor combination is pretty damn epic!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Walnuts: In addition to being filled with cinnamon sugar, these cookies are filled with finely ground walnuts for an added crunch. If needed or desired, finely ground pecans or hazelnuts would be a good substitute.
- Sugar: For this recipe, you’ll need brown sugar and cane sugar. Coconut sugar can work in place of brown sugar, but we would not recommend substituting the granulated sugars with liquid sugar. This will not work or stick to the pastry dough. To make sure your cookies are vegan, use organic sugars. Conventional sugars are often made using nonvegan processing methods.
- Cinnamon: Equally as important to the sugar, cinnamon gives these twist cookies their classic, warm cinnamon flavor.
- Vegan cream cheese: Cream cheese is added to the pastry dough for additional fat and softness. We like to use Kite Hill, but another brand of vegan cream cheese will likely work, too!
- Vegan butter: We used Earth Balance butter sticks but have also had great success baking with Country Crock vegan butter sticks. Opt for your favorite vegan butter sticks (salted or unsalted).
- All-purpose flour: We have only tested these cinnamon twist cookies using all-purpose flour and have not tested a gluten-free version. If you’d like to experiment with this, we’d recommend substituting the flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. From experience, a single gluten-free flour like almond flour would require extensive testing and measurement adjustments.
- Almond milk: Any unsweetened plant-based milk will do. Use what you have!
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Baking sheet
- Food processor
- Mixing bowls
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
- Pizza cutter or kitchen knife
How to Make Vegan Cinnamon Twist Cookies
- Make the cinnamon sugar filling. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl along with the cane sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Cream the vegan cream cheese and butter. In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add in the flour. Gradually add the all-purpose flour until it forms a smooth dough. If the dough is too soft, add a little more flour.
- Chill for 15 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a reusable vegan wrap, or a clean tea towel, then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill.
- Roll the dough. Flour a clean work surface, then roll out the dough into a 15”x12” rectangle, about ½” inch thick. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the dough with the almond milk, then liberally sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar filling.
- Cut into strips. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into 1-inch strips. Then cut the strips horizontally into 2 to 2 ½-inch strips in length.
- Gently twist each strip. One at a time, gently twist the dough into a spiral shape. Lay each cinnamon twist cookie on a lined baking sheet. The cookies won’t expand so feel free to lay them close together.
- Bake. Place the cookies into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. When ready, the cinnamon twist cookies will be lightly golden!
When you think of cookies, you typically think of dessert, but these vegan cinnamon twist cookies can also be served for breakfast or an afternoon treat with a cup of tea. Enjoy warm or room temperature, as desired. They’re a great cookie to pack for a friend in a cookie gift box or dunking in a glass of Almond Milk, too!
These cookies will store best in an airtight container for up to 4 days. We have not tested freezing these cookies, but we bet it would work well. Let us know if you give it a try!
More Vegan Cookie Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Cinnamon Roll Cookies (Vegan)
- Vegan Ube Sugar Cookies
- Ginger Molasses Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
- Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies (8-Ingredients)
- Peppermint Meltaway Cookies
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!