So good gluten-free sugar cookies

Six years ago, we left all our family and moved to a state where we knew no one. Over the years, we have been lucky enough to have found some wonderful friends in our own backyard. With them, we have created a new family, with our own set of traditions.

Although I was a bit apprehensive about it at first, there is one neighborhood tradition that stands out as my favorite. It’s something you don’t see (or hear) too often anymore — caroling. That’s right, I said caroling.Caroling

There’s really only a small window of time where such an activity would be deemed acceptable by your child — let’s say from age 3 – 12, before it becomes a dreaded, forced activity of embarrassment.

CarolingMy older daughter is 10, and I know that it won’t be long before she decides she has outgrown the activity. This year was more spectacular than most, as there was an inch of crisp white snow on the ground, with more falling lightly as we went from house to house.

And in light of last Friday’s horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I couldn’t help but pay extra attention to the beauty of the night, the excitement in their voices, and the joy that we brought to our neighbors,  particularly some of our oldest residents, as our group of 9 kids belted Feliz Navidad at the top of their lungs.

What does this have to do with sugar cookies? Every year, before we venture out, the kids always make a craft at a neighbor’s house and delight in a festival of gluten with pizza and cookies. This year, I brought a frozen gluten-free pizza (which was a bit of a flop) for Nora, and tried my hand at gluten-free sugar cookies, based on a recipe from Nicole Hunn at I only made some minor changes to the recipe, so this is more of a recipe review, but I included my changes in the recipe below, as well as the link to the original, so you can decide which one you’d like to try.

On to the review — maybe I’m just starting to become immune to the taste and texture of some gluten-free foods, but I thought these cookies were just what she promised — amazingly close to what you’d find at the bakery in the local grocery store.

Just like with chocolate chip cookies, there are two camps of sugar cookie lovers — those that love an uber-buttery crispy cookie and those that prefer the softer side of Sears. Oh sorry, I meant sugar cookies. I think I’ve had too much sugar. Anyway, I usually lean toward the crispier side, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. All in all, these got a lot of smiles, and compliments from non-celiacs.

Gluten-free sugar cookiesgluten-free sugar cookie
Makes 24 cookies
Adapted from Gluten-Free Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies at Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

1 cup gluten-free flour mix
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSPs confectioners’ sugar
10 TBSPs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra large egg at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Gluten-free colored sugars

• Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat, or spray with gluten-free nonstick spray.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar.
• Mix in the butter, egg, and vanilla.
• Mix on medium speed.
Note: My dough started out looking very crumbly, so I added another two TBSP of butter to what the original recipe called for (grand total of 10 TBSPs), and let the mixer run for about 5 minutes. Have patience–the dough will come together.
• Separate the dough into two balls.
• Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on your clean countertop and dust rolling pin. Roll the dough out to 1/3-inch thickness.
• Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Sprinkle with gluten-free colored sugar and place on baking sheet.
• Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to look golden.
• Transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.

I’m not a huge fan of frosting on my cookies, but in case you are, the frosting posted on the original recipe at Gluten Free on a Shoestring looks quick, easy, and delicious.

Also, I have a feeling that I could make these even better next time by pulsing the flours in the food processor for minute, or maybe even just sifting them.

Share the love: I can never get enough cookies. Which ones top your list?