Gluten Free Vegan “Watermelon” Cookie Pizza with Lemonade Dip
Let’s make this short and sweet! Sadly, it’s almost August which means summer is closing out faster than we like. School starts here on Long Island on September 1st, so the kids go back before Labor Day. We’re soaking up every possible second and I wanted to make a fun, easy and SAFE dessert everyone will love and what absolutely screams SUMMER more than watermelon and lemonade?! ☀️🏖🍉🍋
This cookie pizza is nothing more than my icebox cookie recipe tinted with some food coloring to give it the watermelon look and the addition of delicious lemonade icing dip. The cookie is baked on a 12” pizza pan so it serves a lot-this is definitely a BBQ crowd pleaser. If you don’t have a pizza pan you can free form it on the back of sheet pan.
As always, my recipes are customizable to your safe needs and this baby is free of A LOT! So my friends ENJOY the rest of summer (if the kiddos aren’t already back at school yet 👎), be safe and remember life is short so eat dessert first…safely!💙👩🏻🍳
**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**
Ingredients and Substitutions
Butter/Regular Butter/Shortening – One of the beauties of this recipe is that I tested with all (Casey can have BAKED dairy) individually and as combos and it all works. You will have slightly different effects for each. For the easiest dough to work with, a combination of butter, safe or vegan, with safe shortening, is the way to go. I use Spectrum palm shortening but Crisco is also safe for us and works great. All butter or vegan butter lends the best taste, but it is a bit more temperamental because it is more unstable to warmth. Remember, your refrigerator is your best friend! Just keep chill the dough if necessary and you’ll be fine!
As far as the lemonade dip, whatever safe butter/shortening you use is your choice.
Flour – As always, I use gluten free flour, specifically King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure blend. If your gluten free blend does not have xanthan gum added, then add ¼ tsp. per cup of flour. Remember all blends are different with different weights and densities so, if possible, use a scale to measure 140 grams per 1 cup of flour and the same goes when using plain all-purpose flour for this recipe. Don’t scoop flour from the bag no matter which type of flour you use if you are using a measuring cup! Spoon flour into the cup to the top, shake, and level off with a knife. I used this recipe forever using regular all-purpose wheat flour and was pleased to see how easily I was able to swap it out for gluten free.
Egg/Egg Replacer – Luckily the amount of egg in the dough recipe is very minimal and applesauce is an easy substitute. I don’t recommend a chia egg, flax egg or even Ener-g here, the egg is used for texture and fat in the dough and those will not provide that. If eggs aren’t an issue, then you’re all set.
Sugar – A combination of granulated and confectioner’s (powdered) sugar are used in the dough, and it really is necessary to use both. Granulated helps with keeping the cookie crisp and confectioner’s sugar helps to absorb extra moisture and keep it tender. If you manage a corn allergy, Wholesome brand makes a great corn free confectioner’s sugar
For the dip, confectioner’s sugar is what is used. If you manage a corn allergy, Wholesome brand makes a great corn free confectioner’s sugar.
Chocolate Chips – I always use my favorite non-dairy Pascha chocolate chips in recipes, and it comes into play here to be the watermelon “seeds”. I’ve also used Simply Nestle Top 8 Free chips safely. Whatever is safe for you, go ahead!
Food Coloring – I use McCormick and AmeriColor food gels and coloring safely. I trust McCormick labeling and AmeriColor has very good allergen information on their site. Natural dyes don’t always work for us as Casey is allergic to some fruits and vegetables.
**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs.**
Gluten Free Vegan “Watermelon” Cookie Pizza with Lemonade Dip
Author: Katie Martino Lopez
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes for the cookie pizza; 5 minutes for the icing
BakeTime: about 25-30 minutes, depending on thickness
Total Time: (without cooling time) about 1 hour
Yield: Sliced- 12-48, depending on how large the cookie pieces are cut
- 8 oz. (2 sticks) regular/safe butter or a combination of 4 oz. each safe butter and shortening, slightly softened
- ½ c. (4 oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 c. (4 oz.) confectioner’s sugar, sifted if there are hard lumps
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 egg or ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups (12 oz./375 g.) gluten free flour blend or all-purpose flour (weight in grams will give the most accurate measurement)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ c. safe chocolate chips
Lemonade Icing Dip
- ½ c. safe butter, vegan butter or shortening
- 2 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted after measuring
- 2 tsp. lemon extract or fresh lemon juice or to taste
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and very lightly grease a pizza pan. If you do not have a pan, flip a sheet pan over and have a piece of parchment ready.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate chips. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, cream the safe butter/shortening with the granulated and confectioner’s sugar and salt. Use the paddle attachment and scrape down often. Don’t let the fat get too soft!
- Add either the egg or applesauce and vanilla to the butter mixture. Scrape down again.
- On low speed add the flour mixture. Stop and scrape down at least once, making sure it’s all incorporated from the bottom and sides. If your safe butter/shortening has become too soft, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes but no more or it will be difficult to work with.
- To tint the cookie dough – Remove 2/3 of the dough to one bowl and 1/3 dough to another. To the larger amount, add a combination of pink and red food coloring to make the watermelon flesh color. To the smaller amount add green to make the rind. Note: Gel colors will require less to tint, and the color will get darker as it sits and bakes.
- On the pizza pan, pat the 2/3 pink dough as evenly flat as you can (it will be thick), leaving about a 2” border to the edge of the pan. Now break off even pieces of the 1/3 green and pat evenly against the pink around almost to the edge of the pan to make the rind. See picture for reference. It should be just to the edge of the pizza pan. If using the back of a sheet pan, freeform the circle on parchment paper and gently transfer to the back of the pan. For the green rind, I lightly brushed the surface with water and sprinkled on green sanding sugar.
- Immediate bake for 25-30 minutes. Don’t overbake or it will get very hard. Cool 10 minutes on a rack, then while still warm cut into the number of pieces you’d like. You can cut into traditional pie wedges to make 12, 16, or cut in ¼’s and then cut each ¼ horizontally to make more pieces. It’s important to cut while warm because the cookie pizza will break when cooled.
- Prepare the lemonade icing dip while cookie cools – Either with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, start on low speed to blend the confectioner’s sugar, safe butter, and salt. Increase speed to medium and add extracts. If it’s too thick, DRIZZLE safe milk in until the consistency is thick enough for holding its shape for dipping. Lightly tint yellow to look like the color of lemonade. If it is not lemon-y enough, more extract/lemon juice can be added but remember if you add more liquid, it will soften the texture of the dip. More confectioner’s sugar can be added to stiffen it up. This can be done a day ahead of time and refrigerated or even frozen, but it must be left temperature to come to the proper consistency or reconstituted with a mixer.
- When ready to serve, place the pizza on a large serving plate with the icing in a bowl. The cookie can be kept at room temperature and although the icing should be served at room temperature, it’s best kept long term on the refrigerator.
- Store cookies in a cool, dry area in an air-tight container for up to one week.
- The lemonade icing can be dip can be frozen for up to one month.
- The lemonade flavor is optional, leave out the lemon or add another flavor if you’d like!
As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…
Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.
And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!