Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies... finally!

I've been searching for a great gluten free sugar cookie for at least 3 years now - since my brother and sister-in-law got engaged.  I attempted to make engagement cookies in wedding cookie shapes, conjoined heart shapes, even little tiny hearts.  I could get them off of the baking sheets if I was incredibly careful but decorating was an entirely different story - they crumbled to bits and pieces at the merest sight of wet icing.  Quite disappointing, to say the least! 

I've literally dreamt about making gluten free Easter cookies now for about a month.  I'm not saying this recipe is perfect, but it certainly works.  I don't get along well with tapioca starch for some reason (I've always felt it leaves a slightly metallic aftertaste), but for now, this will do nicely.

My requirements while researching a gluten free sugar cookie recipe were pretty slim:  it had to call for separate gluten free flours, rather than a mix, and I had to have all the flours in my house.  We spend a lot of money buying gluten free flours and I couldn't justify going out and buying 2 or 3 more just for this purpose.  The only other requirement was that the recipe had to include a picture on the blog or site I found it from so I knew their structure was up to handling and decorating.  Luckily, I found this one at one of the best gluten free blogs out there - The Baking Beauties

They could be a little thicker and hold their shape better while baking, but I'm not complaining.  They're tender, buttery and delicious and if you're looking for a great gluten free sugar cookie, try this one!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
From The Baking Beauties
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla and milk, then mix again until fully combined.

In a small bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, starches, gelatin, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum, then add this to the creamed mixture, making sure everything is well mixed.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or up to 3 days.

When you're ready to cut out the cookies, take the dough out of the fridge to soften for about 10-15 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough on a rice flour-dusted surface (or on wax paper) to about 1/2" thick and cut out desired shapes, placing them on the baking sheet.  Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 8-12 minutes, depending on how thick your cookies are.  Let them cool completely before icing and freeze up to a month in an airtight container.

Decorate your heart away with royal icing or a simple confectioner's sugar frosting :)  I realize the dots on mine give them a chicken pox-look but I swear they look more appetizing in person!  Inspiration for the egg-chicks came from the lovely and talented Glorious Treats.


  1. Beth, these are really cute and nicely done. I'm new to your blog and took some time to browse through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. hooray for finding a wonderful recipe for gluten-free sugar cookies. Love your decorating too :)

  3. These are so cute! I too need to start collecting GF recipes as so many of my friends are going GF. I need recipes that do not use nut flours as my son is allergic. I will bookmark this for future use. Thanks!
    Robin Sue

  4. Adorable! Love the idea of gluten-free sugar cookies

  5. Well now, I'm blushing. :) I'm so glad that you like your sugar cookies, I found them to be a very good recipe, even holding up to making those sugar cookie "lollipops" pictured on my blog.
    If you're not a fan of tapioca starch, feel free to substitute it with cornstarch or sweet rice flour. Shouldn't be a problem. Happy Easter! Fantastic job decorating, wow!

  6. I've been searching for a gluten free cookie, so I was glad to stumble upon yours! Just wondering though, is xanthan gum a must for the recipe?

  7. Janine, I'm going to say yes because xanthan gum is used to try and replicate some of the elasticity that wheat gluten provides to gluten free baked goods. I know some people are allergic to it, if you do try leaving it out, let me know how it goes!

  8. P.S. thanks for all the nice comments, everyone! I really appreciate it :)

  9. These look delicious, so cute AND gluten free - yay!

  10. I tried them today and they tasted so good and actually stayed together! Yayy for a a great recipe!

  11. Woo-hoo, thanks for letting me know it worked! :)

  12. I made these cookies the other day for Santa. he said they were some of the best gf sugar cookies he's ever had. My son and I enjoyed them very much as well. They had wonderful texture and I had no problem rolling and cookie cutting them. The dough got soft fast with handling but that wasn't really an issue for us. I'm putting this recipe in my book and intend to use it again.

    Thank you!

  13. Just took these out of the oven. They smell and look delicious. Im going to have trouble waiting until they cool enough so I can frost them before i devour them!

  14. Please let me know how you like them, Ale! :)

  15. How did you make the dots?