This is the best time of year to make gluten free sugar cookies! But not just any kind of sugar cookie, “cut out” cookies. This recipe is so good you actually might find yourself making this recipe more and more through out the year. You are going to love it.
If you have been following me for a while now, you may know that I have posted other recipes for “cut out” sugar cookies within this past year. One of them uses a proprietary “all purpose” gluten free flour from Andrea’s gluten free, that is only available in select stores locally, and the other is still very good, but doesn’t compare to this recipe.
In fact, I thought about just updating that recipe but then I would be erasing where I had been to where I am today in my gluten free baking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good cookie, but it uses different ingredients.
When it comes to gluten free baking, we are all learning, but with practice it really just only get better. In fact, here are a some do’s and don’ts I have learned this past year about making gluten free sugar cookies.
Since we are also dairy free (don’t let this intimidate you) and I am not a huge fan of vegan butter in my cookies, I have been experimenting with a few different substitutions. One of them comes from my childhood baking experience with my mom, she always used shortening. But I wanted a healthier option and something different than my first sugar cookie.
The ingredient I wanted to use the most was coconut oil. And what I found is that coconut oil in it’s solid state, can be the perfect substitute for butter.
This is my absolute favorite brand of coconut oil. It is aroma free and does not bring a strong coconut flavor to my gluten free sugar cookies. In fact, I do not taste the coconut at all.
I also used a different blend of flours in this cookie. I decided to increase the tapioca starch to help prevent a gritty cookie. It worked like a charm.
And if you are like me and love just a little zip of flavor in your cookies, try adding 1/4 a teaspoon of either almond extract or orange extract. I give you two options here because due to nut allergies, not everyone can use almond, and also it can be a preference of what flavor you desire. Please choose one, not both.
Update: I previously had lemon as the second option, until I tried orange. I highly recommend you try the orange extract. It is so good!
If you compare my old recipe to this recipe, you will also notice that I use Bob’s Red Mill Egg replacer instead of flax eggs. I have really loved using this because it does not add any additional undesired flavor to my cookie. The flax eggs can bring about a nutty flavor that I was trying to avoid.
I am hoping by next Christmas I will have mustered up the courage to use real eggs in my baking. That will happen as long as my son can still tolerate them in baked goods. Fingers crossed. With the holidays around the corner I really wanted to go with a sure thing.
The other big difference between this sugar cookie and my first recipe is that in my first recipe I add the shortening to the dry flour mix and work it in by hand. Then I add the wet ingredients. This is something I learned baking Italian cookies as a child.
In this recipe, I use the traditional method and mixed my coconut oil (not melted) with my sugar separately. This works great for these cookies.
Update: The consistency of the coconut oil in it’s solid state may vary. Your coconut oil MUST be in a completely solid state. If it is not, you may have to chill it for 30 minutes first. To do this, measure 3/4 cup of coconut oil and put it in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
As you mix your dough, if it seems just right, stop there. If you need a little extra moisture you might need to add 2 tablespoons of cold water, one tablespoon at a time until you reach a perfect dough consistency. Your dough should not be sticky. It should be well formed cookie dough.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven and prepare your cookie sheets and cookie cutters. Roll the dough in between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Cut the cookies 1/4 inch thick. Cutting the letters too thin will cause them to break and/or be too crispy.
Freeze the cut out cookies on cookie sheet for 7 minutes before baking. This is another trick to help your cookies hold their shape.
Here’s just a note about decorating these cookies. To decorate these cookies you really have only 3 choices (unless I am missing something?). You can use sprinkles, icing, or both.
I will be the first to admit, hands down that when I see those cute icing decorated cookies I am kind of jealous that I am not that good at decorating my cookies. However, I keep learning and trying to get better. So sometimes I see those cute Wilton icing decorations in the store and think, how cute and easy!
But the big question remains, are they really gluten free? After reading many labels and some research I have come to the conclusion that they do not contain gluten ingredients, but are made in the same facility as other gluten containing products. So there can be a risk of contamination. Read more about that here.
As you know, we do not have celiac, but have a very strict gluten free diet do to other health reasons. Adding the Wilton icing decorations is a matter of your sensitivity and comfort level. I do not endorse using or not using them. I really just wanted to show you a cute cookie:)
There is a batch of snowmen and snowflakes waiting to be decorated with my gluten free vegan royal icing. If they turn out, look for them on my facebook page.
And if you are not yet a member of my Stay Gluten Free Facebook Community (it’s FREE to join, CLICK HERE now) what are you waiting for? It has been so fun sharing recipes, grocery store finds, and places to eat out safely with now more than 1000 people just like you.
I hope you love these cookies and you are able to delight your children with the cutest decorated cookies this holiday season.