In episode 38 learn how to make the best gluten-free sugar cookies from scratch that are soft, easy to roll out, and taste amazing. This easy, homemade gluten-free cut-out cookies recipe tastes so much like old fashioned ones, no one will know the difference! Join Melissa, gluten-free cookbook author, as she shares many easy, pro tips to make this audio recipe for gluten-free sugar cookies so good, everyone in the family will devour them!
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Hey everyone, I’m Melissa Erdelac, host of the Gluten Free Recipe Challenge podcast and creator behind the gluten free website Mamagourmand. Here we take beloved recipes you thought you never enjoy again and transform them into easy copycat versions just as good as the originals.
Just a little heads up. I can get quite passionate about gluten-free baking, which may come out in some colorful language. If this offends you, I might not be your cup of tea. If you are intrigued, but sensitive ears are around, put some headphones on and let’s do this.
Okay, it’s time to brace ourselves. The holidays are especially hard when it comes to a gluten free diet, and that’s either if you’re new to this or a completely seasoned vet. There are so many food traditions, things that we look forward to all year, special family recipes, and, oh my gosh, so many get togethers that revolve around food.
I found that taking your own culinary happiness into your own hands seems to work best. If you know there’s a food or a tradition that’s going to be hard to miss out on, now is a great time to make those things and freeze them to have on hand. There’s no shame with showing up with your own. GF treats, and in fact, hosts will probably be grateful for it, because it won’t be weird when you’re sitting there and not eating anything.
Making cutout cookies was something that I used to miss so much. First off, they’re fucking delicious. And secondly, you have to make cutout cookies at Christmas. It is the heartbeat of Santa’s Christmas Eve stamina.
This gluten free recipe is just as simple as the traditional ones, and I actually prefer the taste and texture of them over the ones that I grew up on. Don’t tell mom. I did borrow a trick from my mom’s recipe though. She didn’t use baking powder in hers so they wouldn’t puff up and lose their shape once they’re baked and it’s a solid hack and I stuck with it.
The ingredients are really simple. It’s just gluten free flour which I use and recommend Cup4Cup because the added cornstarch in the flour blend makes the dough really easy to work with and roll out and it eliminates any grittiness in the cookie.
I did test the recipe with a few other flours and if you go to the recipe post you can see my notes on those and if you have to make any adaptations. There’s also sugar, butter, and egg. Vanilla for flavor, or you could do almond extract and then a little bit of milk or you could swap out dairy free milk.
Making the dough is really easy, so I’ll quickly go through that, but then it also has some tips to make sure everything is easy peasy. So, in a large bowl, cream together one cup of sugar and a half a cup of softened butter until it’s very light and fluffy, and this should take about three minutes for it to be fully creamed.
Then add one egg, one tablespoon of milk, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a fourth of a teaspoon of salt to the butter sugar mixture. Beat that again until it’s really well combined. It first starts to like separate and look almost curdled, but keep beating it until it’s all blended together smoothly.
After that, add your two cups of gluten free flour, beat it on low speed until it’s well combined, and then the sugar cookie dough is done. You need to cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or if you’re short in time, I’ve also froze it for like 30 minutes. The dough has to be really cold throughout, or otherwise when you roll it out, it’ll stick too much to the rolling pin.
So when you’re ready to roll out the cookies, preheat your oven to 350 and then line baking sheets either with parchment paper for best results, or you could use a silicone baking mat. If you don’t have those things, you could also leave the baking sheets ungreased. On your work surface, sprinkle just a little bit, don’t go crazy, of gluten free flour onto your rolling surface.
And sometimes I just take some of that flour and just rub it on the rolling pin too. Use half of the cold dough and then roll it out into about a fourth of an inch thickness. Take the cookie cutters and then just cut out the dough. Use a spatula to transfer it to the prepared baking sheets. Since these don’t puff up and spread, you can place the cookies pretty close together on the baking sheet, like one inch apart.
Just keep repeating that process until all the dough is used. But I have a tip for you. If you plan on baking the cookies at the same time, So if you’re going to cut all the cookies first and then start baking them, store the baking sheets with the cutout cookies in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake.
You don’t want the dough to get warm before baking because then they will spread more. So for best results, either cut them and bake them right away or cut them and put them in the refrigerator so the dough gets cold again and then bake them.
You want to bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until they’re just set. Let them cool in the pan for five minutes and then you could transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Okay, so you have some options here. You can wrap the cookies after they’re cooled and freeze them at this point if you want to decorate them later. You can decorate them. I have a sugar cookie icing that’s on the blog post it’s my favorite sugar cookie icing.
It’s really glossy and it hardens after it dries, so you can stack the cookies up. You can also decorate the cookies with the sugar cookie icing, make sure it hardens and then freeze them at this point too.
You can store these cookies in an airtight container up to three days. But if you’re going, I mean, actually I think that’s kind of generous. I wouldn’t do it more than two days. What I do is I just freeze them and then pull them out as I need them around the holiday time.
I’ll just take out whatever cookies I need, leave the rest frozen. If I’m making cookie plates, I just grab the frozen cookies. So people can enjoy them fresh instead of after sitting for a couple days.
You can also make the dough up to one day ahead of time and then just store it in the refrigerator. Or you can make the dough and freeze it until you’re ready to roll them out and then just thaw it in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead.
If you have almond extract on hand, another thing you could do is swap out a half a teaspoon of that vanilla extract for almond extract. It adds a really nice flavor. If you need to make dairy free, gluten free cookies, then substitute the butter for a plant based butter, such as Earth Balance, like butter sticks, not the spreadable butter, and then you can replace the milk with any non dairy milk of your choice, like almond milk or soy or coconut, or you could even replace it with water, too.
If you’re frosting the cookies with the linked sugar cookie icing, they take several hours to really set, so don’t stack or store the cookies until the frosting is completely solid. And then also if you go to the blog post, I have more detailed instructions on how to wrap and freeze the cookies either baked or unbaked.
And that’s it. Honestly, these are the only sugar cookies I make now. I don’t even make like a gluten free version and then a wheat flour version. Everyone in the family eats them. No one notices a difference and they’re really easy to make and roll out. So there you go. It’s the new tradition.
Remember, you can always find the full printable recipe on the show notes page. And to get to it, just click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on. Or you could go to my recipe website, which is mamagourmand.com and click on the podcast tab. And there you’ll find the full recipe along with any recommended ingredients or equipment I mentioned, and a lot more Christmas cookie ideas.