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Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, Corn-Free Powdered Sugar & Sugar Cookie Icing

Welcome back for Day 6 of 12 Days of Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies, being hosted by Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake!  So far, there have been some tantalizing toe tapping delights:

Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free’s Pistachio-Cranberry Biscotti
I shared a recipe for Dairy-Free Fudge
Gluten-Free Life With Jen’s Chocolate Peppermint Wafer Cookies
The Mommy Bowl’s Peanut Butter Peck Cookies
She Let Them Eat Cake’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Gingerbread
Cook IT Allergy Free’s Gluten-Free Maple Spice Cookies

And today, I will be sharing a recipe for Cut Out Sugar Cookies which I tweaked to be dairy-free and egg-free from my favorite recipe.  I found the original recipe on the Land O Lakes website, and while it was already gluten-free, I only used the flour blend and tweaked the rest of the recipe to be more like the sugar cookies I grew up on.  For me, a sugar cookie is just not a sugar cookie unless it has a bit of almond extract in it!

Just in case you’re wondering, the cookies you see are decorated with icing and sprinkles made from natural food coloring! :-D

Gluten-Free Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Flour Blend

printable recipe

1 cup Superfine Brown Rice Flour

1 cup Superfine White Rice Flour

2/3 cup Potato Starch

1/3 cup Tapioca Starch

1 tsp Xanthan Gum (for corn-free, use an equal amount of Guar Gum)

  • Sift Everything together in a medium size bowl, set aside.

Tip: If you are new to being gluten-free, I cannot recommend enough to use Superfine Rice Flours.  The powdery consistency is much more like that “other” flour that begins with a w, but shall remain nameless. :-D  I get my superfine rice and sorghum flours through Authentic Foods.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free with Corn-Free suggestions)

printable recipe

1 cup Earth Balance (for dairy-free and corn-free, try using Coconut Oil or Palm Shortening, see notes below)

1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar (for corn-free, use a corn free powdered sugar.  I made my own, see below)

Egg Replacer for 1 Egg (see notes below)

1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract (I make my own, using Shirley’s Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe over at Gluten Free Easily)

1/2 tsp. Almond Extract

2 1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend (see above)

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Cream of Tartar

  • In a medium bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, add Earth Balance (or other dairy-free substitute) and powdered sugar, beat on medium speed until fluffy, reduce mixer speed to low.
  • Add egg replacer, vanilla and almond extract, mix until combined.
  • While mixer is still on low, add dry ingredients then slowly increase speed and mix until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Cover the dough and refrigerate* for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes.  Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes*, or until light golden brown around the edges.
  • Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before decorating.

Okay, I have tried this recipe several ways and here are my ingredient notes:

Egg Replacers:

Ener-G works best for maintaining the cut out shape of the cookies during baking.  The flavor and texture are great, but they are a tad bit on the dry side (and I do mean just a tad).

For corn-free, check out this recipe for homemade corn-free egg replacer over at Live Corn Free.

If you aren’t planning to make special shapes out of the cookie dough, I definitely suggest trying the egg replacer I used in the GF/DF/EF Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe I shared recently: 2 Tbs. Water + 1 Tbs. Oil + 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder (this mixture is equal to one egg).  Of all the different experiments I tried for this tweak, everyone thought this was the best (combined with Earth Balance).  A light, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookie.  The only problem is that this egg replacer made the cookies spread during the baking process, so they lost their shape (I even tried putting the cut cookies in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to baking and it didn’t help matters).

Earth Balance Substitutes:

Coconut Oil: This was my first time trying coconut oil, and I will just say straight up that it was a learning curve.  I melted 1 cup of coconut oil over low heat before mixing it with the powdered sugar (then followed the rest of the recipe as instructed).  The first mistake I made was refrigerating the dough overnight.  It came out hard as a rock and took several hours to warm up so I could work with it (I will not refrigerate this dough next time).  I also used White Chia Seed Meal for the egg replacer (using this recipe) in this experiment (We have really enjoyed the chia seed egg replacer in muffins, loads of nutrition!). The dough was very dry and crumbly and I had difficulty rolling it out.  The second mistake I made was not checking on the cookies until they were 8 minutes into the baking time and they were already quite “dark and crispy.” ;-)  I will definitely try using coconut oil again because I am newly allergic to corn and cannot have Earth Balance anymore (although my kids can have it, so I will continue to use it for them until I figure out yet another allergen).

Palm Shortening: I used 1 cup Palm Shortening with Ener-G Egg-Replacer.  The dough was more crumbly than when using Earth Balance, but the cookies held their shape while baking.  The taste of the cookies were good, but the texture was more akin to pie crust.  Not bad, just not what I was expecting for a sugar cookie.

Sugar cookies made with Palm Shortening and Ener-G Egg Replacer (above).  The cookie on the right, with the cream colored icing was decorated with icing made from store-bought organic powdered sugar with tapioca starch.  The cookie on the left was decorated with icing made from my homemade powdered sugar with sweet potato starch (it’s hard to tell in the photo, but the sweet potato starch does not change the color of the icing, it stays a lovely soft white).

Homemade Powdered Sugar, Vitamixed

printable recipe

1 cup Beet Sugar (NOW Foods sells a non-GMO Beet Sugar)

1 Tbs. Sweet Potato Starch (see note)

  • Click here for a quick video tutorial on the Vitamix website.

Note: I’ve had my sweet potato starch for a long time (lost in the back of my deep freezer), and I cannot seem to locate an available source for it now.  I will keep looking for a source and will update this post when I find one.  You can also use an equal amount of Tapioca Starch or Arrowroot.

You can also make this in a regular blender, it just might be a tad bit gritty.  I do not recommend making this in a food processor, the sugar never “powdered” for me.

Yes, this is powdered sugar…not “something else!” ;-)

Sugar Cookie Icing (Cane Sugar-Free) (adapted from this recipe on allrecipes.com)

printable recipe

1 cup Powdered Sugar (see above)

3 tsp. Dairy-Free Milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk)

2 tsp. Light Agave Nectar

1/4 tsp. Pure Almond or Vanilla Extract (almond extract is clear so it won’t color the icing.  You could also omit the flavoring altogether, and  just replace with an equal amount of dairy-free milk).

Assorted Food Colorings

  • In a small bowl, add powdered sugar and milk, stir until smooth and glossy.  If the icing is too thick, add more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time (I used approximately 3 1/2 tsp.).
  • Stir in agave nectar and almond of vanilla extract, beat until smooth.
  • Divide into separate bowls and add food coloring if desired.

I learned several decorating tips and tricks watching this video.  I must say that I am somewhat impressed with my decorating improvement over last year, LOL! :-D

Tip on Natural Food Colorings: I discovered that it is actually BETTER to use a powdered sugar made with tapioca starch (well, at least if you are decorating for a 7 year old boy), because the whiter the icing base, the more pastel your end result will be.

I love India Tree’s line called Nature’s Colors, although I can’t say the ‘Spring Green Decorating Sugar was a huge hit, the spinach flavor was a bit strong for my green-o-phobe guys’ liking, but boy did I have fun watching them taste test it, LOL!  If you click here, then scroll down to where it says “Nature’s Colors” and click on each individual product link, you can verify allergens (and several of them are corn-free, WOOT!).

I’ve also tried a few natural colors from Nature’s Flavor’s, the blue being the one we like best, for color and lack of flavor (the blue you see in this post is Nature’s Flavors.  You can also see it on the Lego Birthday Cake I made for my son’s 7th birthday party recently).  The red coloring made from beet and hibiscus did not go over well with my clan, they thought it was too sour tasting.  There are other natural red colorings available at Nature’s Flavors, we just haven’t tried them.

I sprinkled this cookie with India Tree’s Nature’s Colors Decorating Sugar prior to baking.

To make this green, I mixed Nature’s Flavors Natural Blue Coloring with India Tree’s Natural Yellow Food Coloring.

Be sure to stop by Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free tomorrow to see what Amy has cooked up for ya!

Now for the winners of Alisa Fleming’s book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living and an Oxo Good Grips Potato Ricer!

First off, I want to say thank you to everyone for participating in this giveaway and indulging me in my scavenger hunt on Dr. Vikki Petersen’s blog, The Gluten Doctors.  There were some great comments and I enjoyed reading every one of them.  For as much as you may have learned by reading Dr. Vikki’s blog articles regarding dairy and it’s damaging effects on our immune system, please know that I am learning right along with you, with much of it being through recent personal experience and the discovery of my youngest son’s casein intolerance (I will be doing a post on this after the holidays, it has taken me this long just to wrap my head around it all).

I think I will be starting off the new year trying to kick my lingering cheese addiction to the curb…anyone want to join me?  Come’on, misery loves company! :shock:

I used the Random Number Generator to pick the two winners and they are (now this is a first for me):

#27, Laurel and #101, Laurel

Congratulations Laurel and Laurel! I will email each of you for your shipping information.

With that, I will leave you with Dr. Vikki Petersen’s latest educational video on Vitamin D.  Do you know your Vitamin D level?  My last one, done in July…not so good, a piddly 38; but because I became aware of it, I’ve been able to focus on trying to get that number up.

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Comments

  1. Maggie says:

    I love you Heidi. What an amazingly thorough post! Holy moly. Your notes are especially helpful – I love how much learning you share with us. Sorry the coconut oil batch wasn't what you'd hoped for! I bought some India Tree stuff too and have used a little, not the food colouring yet though. I can't wait to get my blender so I can make my own powdered sugar. It will totally change our lives! Your cookies look gorgeous and I so wish I could try some. Your boys are so darn lucky. Thanks for doing such great stuff for 12 Days of Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies. xo

    • I love you too Maggie! No worries on the coconut oil, not only do I learn best through my flops, I LOVE a challenge (thank goodness, I've had lots of challenges lately…I'm officially pooped). :-D

      Did you end up going with the Blendtec or the Vitamix? I have to admit, a high-powered blender is a gift from above for those of us on specialized diets, they cost a lot up front, but being able to make more stuff from scratch (like corn-free powdered sugar and cashew cream cheese), I know it will pay for it self in a few years. It would be great if we could use it against a health insurance flex spending account!

      Are you still planning on going to the GF and Allergen Free Expo? I'm going to buy my ticket the first of January and would love, love, love to meet you my friend! xo

  2. Tai says:

    Looks like the kids and I are going to be making some sugar cookies soon!! Thanks Heidi!

    • Hi Tai!

      Do any of the tweaks I offered work for your current dietary needs? If you end up making any modifications of your own, please let me know what you did and how they turned out, we can never have too many options!

      xo,
      Heidi

  3. Tandy says:

    I was curious about your use of powdered sugar in the cookie themselves. I've never seen a sugar cookie recipe call for this instead of granulated sugar. Is there a particular reason, or just that it blended faster?

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My mother-in-law loves to make sugar cookies for the holidays and decorate them with my youngest, and my youngest's new food allergies have put a hitch in many traditions. We are still extremely new to all of this, but I love reading your blog and getting new ideas to help try to keep things 'normal' for her.

    • Powdered sugar is what my mom always made sugar cookies with growing up, and I make them this way partly for nostalgia and partly because I prefer the texture over using a granulated sugar. If you click on the link I gave in my post for the Land O Lake's gluten-free recipe for Star Cut Out Cookies, you will see that their version calls for granulated sugar, so you could just follow their recipe instead (their recipe doesn't call for almond extract either).

      Please let me know how your cookies turn out! :-D

  4. Laurel says:

    Wow, Dr. Vikki is so helpful. I need to add her blog to my reader. Thanks for highlighting her. Thanks also for the giveaway also. I was surprised enough to see another "Laurel" comment, much less share a prize package with her. I've only ever met another Laurel one time in my entire life!

    I've got to say this about the Vitamix website. Why didn't I think of that? I've only had mine about a month and made a special purchase of a long white lab coat and wraparound goggles before I started grinding my flours and making icing sugar experiments in it. Geez I might even have to turn off the maniacal laughter CD in the background and use the net instead or horror of horrors – read the books that came with it. Maybe I'll keep the mad scientist regalia though while I try to figure out how to make coconut oil work for sugar cookies. I wonder if you got it to a soft, not liquid or hard as a rock if it would work? And Heidi, thanks for sharing your voyage with us all. It's sad that the medical profession is so hidebound but on the other hand many of us have met our virtual soul mates with blogs like yours. Happy Christmas!

    • Tandy says:

      I've done some substituting in recipes calling for butter with coconut oil. It does work if it is soft, but you have to keep in mind that because the melting and flash point of coconut oil is so much lower than butter that it isn't the perfect substitution. Palm oil has a much more similar melting and flash point to butter. In the past I've found that combining the two will often give me closer to desired results than either one alone. I would recommend trying 1 part coconut to 2 parts palm oil as a substitution (no guarantees, but this is what I've done in the past). It has worked in my graham cracker recipes. I would cream both together (unmelted) then add the sugar and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

    • Hi Laurel!

      LOL! You sound so much like me, lab coats, goggles, bazookas, blow torches, play dough toys…you are an official member of "Club Glutadoodle," LOL!

      I definitely plan on trying to cream a soft/solid form of the coconut oil in the near future, I just wasn't sure where to begin because I always see recipes that call for melting the coconut oil first (not sure why exactly because 1 cup solid coconut oil = 1 cup liquid coconut oil for me, but I assume there is a reason for it, I'm just not sure what it is yet).

      It's 100% my pleasure to share my journey on my blog. I don't have any of the answers, but I am desperately looking for me and my family's health/medical truth. Sharing the research and cooking/baking ideas I learn along the way has been the most fulfilling form of personal therapy for me. I love my readers, who I also consider my friends, and I just want everyone to be happy and healthy…I spent 3 too many years in a state of deep depression after my diagnosis because I had no where to turn for help with relearning how to cook and bake, getting accurate medical education on my conditions, plus, I lost a lot of family and friends due to my dietary needs (which led to my cheating for so long and ultimately making my health even worse).

      Changing my attitude and deciding to have fun and laugh at the craziness of it all, has done more good for me than any of the anti-depressants I lived on for 3 years. Letting go of my past emotional ties to food and embracing my hopefully healthier and happier future, has brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined. I no longer feel alone on this journey thanks to wonderful people like yourself and I will be forever grateful to you all.

      xo,
      Heidi

      • Laurel says:

        Thanks for sharing all of that. Speaking for myself, I as well lost several "friends" along the way. I think people in general only know how to deal with illnesses that have firm diagnoses or that are obvious injuries you can see with the naked eye. So then you find out who your true friends are. And yeah, it is kind of crazy making after diagnosis when you are just left to drift. Okay, here's your diagnosis, off you go. I shared your depression until I found you intrepid souls on the internet beginning with Saint Karina. I think she saved my sanity and brought back my smile.

        Okay, the deal with the coconut oil is that a cup of melted coconut oil is usually a bunch more than solid coconut oil and if you don't convert it you'll just have a nasty greasy mess of partially baked goo. Experience speaks!

  5. Heidi, your cookies and photos are absolutely gorgeous! And I think it is so awesome that you did so many experiments to come up with your favorite combinations. Your decorating is amazing – your creative side is exploding lately!! LOVE IT! THank you for taking the time to do all of these trial and errors for us. We like the Nature's colors as well, and I agree that the green and the red are not huge hits in our house (unless you are not eating them), but the blue is our fav too!

    xo

    • Thanks Kim and I'm glad to hear you thought the same thing about the Nature's Flavors natural red coloring as we did (and thanks for the heads up about the green, you just saved me some money!).

      xo,
      Heidi

  6. Shelly says:

    Thanks, Heidi!!! This is awesome and packed with tons of information! Printing it out now and can't wait to get started!!! :))

  7. Angela says:

    Wait a second—you mean if my name had been Laurel, I might have won? (Just kidding! LOL!)

    OMG! I LOVE the blue icing! Can't wait to try making these cookies!

  8. Hi Heidi!

    Your cookies look fabulous! I have never tried beet sugar but would love to learn more about it. And, I'd love to know what kind of almond extract you use because I have some and am not too fond of it. I'm sure it's the brand.

    Hugs!

    Amy

    • Hi Amy,

      I first tried beet sugar several years ago when I was making cookies for a child I knew who was allergic to all but 11 foods, including sugar cane. Beet sugar is made from sugar beets, and I'm not sure it would fit in with your model of "sugar free." I'm assuming it has a similar glycemic index as sugar cane, you can read more about sugar beets here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_beet.

      I used it because (for reasons still unclear to me), cane sugar is on my list of "not allowed" foods that I got from my allergist for my new corn allergy, and I'm not sure yet how to make a healthier sugar tweak for powdered sugar in icings, etc. Any ideas? :-D

      The almond extract I use is by Simply Organics.

      • Laurel says:

        I powdered the crap out of some palm sugar (coarse like turbinado but like half the GI index) in my Vitamix by accident. It melted into my cookies like a dream. I'm pretty sure it would work like the powdered sugar you made if you added a starch to it.

        • I was wondering about that Laurel. I bought some date sugar to try and I did manage to make some powdered "sugar" from Z-Sweet, but my kiddos weren't too fond of the erythritol, it had an interesting "cooling effect" in the mouth. Lots of fun stuff to try!

  9. Cindy says:

    Thank you for the sugar cookie recipe, Heidi and most importantly, thank you for your honesty in sharing your difficulty initially adapting to the gf diet. I too have felt very alone in this but blogs like yours help. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  10. Danielle says:

    You are the.bomb. Thank you so much for making my life as a gf mama so much easier!

  11. I'm echoing Danielle and I'm pretty sure I've said this before in response to one of your posts, but yes, you are the bomb for sure! Phenomenal post from beginning to end–look at all those unbelievably gorgeous cookies with every baking tip possible to help us out! Thanks so much, my dear. :-) I have to admit that I'm not much on making perfect looking cookies, so I greatly admire those who do make the ultimate, magazine worthy cookies. ;-)

    Thanks once again for the mention on the vanilla extract! Did you see that Susan (our Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy friend) had a huge vat of her homemade vanilla extract on her counter and her husband hit it and it all spilled … months of work. Oh, that would be painful.

    xoxoxo,

    Shirley

  12. Renee says:

    They look great! I need some decorating lessons… Growing up our sugar cookies always had lemon extract so I will have to try the almond extract as I love that too. Maybe this year I will make some sugar cookies, it has been a while! But I also need to make buckeyes and fudge and toffee and…and… :-)

  13. Alisa Cooks says:

    Those look so good! I have someone who is having trouble in finding a sugar cookie cut out recipe that is dairy-free and egg-free that isn't too dry. I was reading your egg replacer notes. She doesn't need gluten-free (and probably doesn't have those flours). Do you think with a plain flour and the other egg replacer you suggest that they would work as cut outs but not be too dry? She has been trying ener-g and they are turning out too dry.

    I'm not a big cut-out cookie fan (they always seem to dry!), so I haven't experimented yet. Would love your feedback before I dive in :)

    • Hey Alisa!

      I would definitely recommend that she try using the oil+water+baking powder substitute (assuming her recipe doesn't call for more than one or two eggs). This egg replacer made the most tender sugar cookie I've ever made, just wish the cookie spread was a bit less than it was (you could still identify the shapes, they were just a bit distorted). The gluten in wheat flour may help with keeping the shapes intact during the baking process (but I honestly have no idea).

      I would also recommend trying the chia egg replacer (combine 1 teaspoon of ground WHITE chia seeds + 3 Tbs. water, stir and let set for about 15 minutes until congealed. This is equal to one egg).

      Wish her good luck for me! :-D

    • Tandy says:

      The dryness may be the type of 'butter' they are using. If she doesn't have a soy issue than I would try Earth Balance, there is also one called Nucoa that I use that is dairy free (contains no milk). I've had great results replacing any butter in the recipe with Nucoa. I find it in with the other margarines at the better supplied grocery stores and is quite a bit less expensive than Earth Balance, though it does have more chemicals than Earth Balance (if that bothers you).

      Up until now my family hasn't been gluten free and I would often take a gluten free recipe and substitute the flour for equal amount of regular flour, be sure to omit the xantham gum. I would definitely try the recipe, substituting regular flour for the gluten free.

      I don't have any experience with Ener-G egg replacer, but she may find that by adding oil with the water called for that she can overcome that issue (similar to the baking powder egg). I often use a flax egg in my cookies and have yet to have a problem with them being too dry.

      • Tandy,

        Thank you for the tips!!! I have not heard of Nucoa before (probably has corn in too though huh?).

        • Tandy says:

          It doesn't list corn, but here is the ingredient list: Liquid Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Emulsifiers (Vegetable Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin), Artificial Flavors, Calcium Disodim EDTA and Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Colored with Beta Carotene (Provitamin A).

          Owned & Distributed by GFA Brands Inc. Paramus, NJ 201-568-9300

          I included the contact information, so that you can call and confirm if you are concerned about any ingredients. My sister introduced me to it and I love it. It melts and tastes the same as butter (or so I think I remember).

  14. Jeri says:

    You read my mind. I needed a gf version of a sugar cookie. This has been my sugar cookie cutout recipe for the last several years with the addition of a little orange zest.
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sugar-Cookie-Cutouts

    I save the almond extract for the icing. This is what I was using.
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sugar-Cookie-Icing/D

    I will probably replace the corn syrup with Lyle's even though the icing probably won't be white anymore. We'll see.

    I just placed an Authentic Foods order. I'll be jumping in and having fun. I now have Carol's Amazing Flour, Better Batter and soon to be Authentic Foods to try. Yay! Thanks Heidi.

  15. Stephanie says:

    i am so happy i found your site. i am new to gf living & your cookie recipes & kid-friendly ones make me excited to do this!

  16. Heidi-girl,

    Do you ever sleep?! I'm starting to wonder. This post is beyond gorgeous. Your food styling and photography is amazing. I'm so impressed. As for the coconut oil, it's good stuff for a variety of health reasons, especially if you have fat malabsorption problems (I won't go into detail as that would put a stinky damper on this lovely blog post). As for the natural dyes, I don't make foo-foo cookies like this, but when I need coloring, I use actual (my own since I eat them on a daily basis) beet juice for red and chlorophyl drops for green. Healthy and quite colorful. And no weird taste. It might even work on your hair (not that I'm suggesting anything).

    You're a kick, that's all I can say!

    Melissa

    xo

  17. Courtney says:

    These look awesome! Thanks for posting such thorough tips. I just discovered your blog and I'm loving it!

  18. Leslie says:

    I made these for a cookie decorating party and the comment I got was, "tastes like sugar cookies!" Pretty awesome. I wasn't sure they would turn out because the dough was very crumbly. I made two errors in the way I mixed ingredients {basically I mixed all the dry ingredients at once, and all the ingredients in the second list (powdered sugar, coconut oil, and extracts) all at once instead of in incremental steps as instructed}, so that may have had something to do with it, but I also heard that coconut milk can be drying in another recipe I made recently, so maybe I'll try adding the coconut oil last next time.

    I made the following substitutions per your recipe notes:

    Coconut Oil (Per your notes I didn't refrigerate the dough, but I refrigerated the leftovers, so I'll post back on how that differs when I make another batch. Also when I melted the coconut oil, it was still 1 cup, the same as what I had measured solid.)

    Your beet sugar recipe for powdered sugar (Note to other bakers: You make 1 cup beet sugar and 1 Tbs. potato starch…but you need 1.5 cups for the dough and 1 cup for the icing. 2 cups beet sugar and 2 tbs. potato starch blended yielded 2.5 cups total with a little powdered sugar leftover. {I sprinkled this over the icing to give it a little interesting texture and make my Christmas tree cookies a white flocked tree.})

    I didn't find White Chia Seed Meal (they had the regular chia seeds, not white, and it was over $7 as was the Ener-G, and since I am not vegan, I just didn't want to spend that much to replace one egg.) So I used one organic free range egg (no antibiotics, no harmones, all organic feed) from Trader Joe's.

    I could not find sweet potato starch anywhere, so I used regular potato starch. (Please let me know if you find a supplier for this!) I also used my own Osterizer blender, and it seemed to blend just fine. To perfect powdery consistency, in fact. I'd like to know what the Vitamix does that is special? Is it speed?

    I used Arrowhead Hills organic brown rice flour and Bob's Red Mill white rice flour because that's what I had and could easily find, but I definitely would like to try the Superfine brand and see if it improves the consistency.

    Also, the hubby was so sweet to make a special trip to get me organic tapioca starch by "Let's Do…Organic" brand because I had tapioca flour and I didn't realize they are the same thing. This may be obvious to some, but if you are new to gluten-free ingredients, Bob's Red Mill does explain this on the packaging, so it should be safe to use tapioca "flour" in lieu of "tapioca starch". I will try this next time.

    What did you guys use to flour your rolling pin and board? I used potato starch. This helped keep things from cracking apart too much, and when they did, I used my fingers to knead the dough together, like you might do when making a pie.

    I set the timer for 4 minute increments, twice, then two minute increments, but I think I baked the cookies about 12 minutes all together. (This may have been because my pre-heat was a little under 375 and I turned it up to 375 when I put the cookies in.) Only a couple cookies had golden brown edges, but that was good enough for me.

    I should have placed the cookies farther apart because they expanded more than I expected and ran into each other. However, the shapes held for the most part. And luckily did not break or crumble after they cooled as I had feared.

    I used 3 tsp. So Delicious Coconut Milk (unsweetened) in the icing. (The icing was a little thick and somewhat difficult to spread, but using my host's professional decorating tools definitely made it easier. Thank goodness my cookies weren't crumbly because they gave a solid base to spread the icing. I recommend a butter knife, if you have one, which is most similar to what I used. I'd like to try this with more milk next time.)

    I used the almond extract (organic gluten-free) [Note: some vanilla and almond extracts add corn-syrup or sugar, so if you are going to the trouble of doing sugar alternatives like beet sugar, check label ingredients before you buy.]

    These were equally liked by party-goers without any dietary restrictions as they were with those of us trying to eat healthier, and one guest even asked for the recipe.

    All in all I'd say this one was a winner. Although it is very labor intensive, I would consider making this again! Thank you for posting the recipe and recommendations!

    • Wow Leslie! Thank you so much for the detailed feedback, you ROCK!

      The Vitamix really is all about speed and power. I never had much luck with achieving superfine and powdery homemade powdered sugar (that didn't have a little 'grit' to it) in my old blender, but if yours did the job, then that is certainly good to know because the Vitamix ain't cheap!

      Yes, tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same thing, use them interchangeably (super sweet of your hubby to go on an ingredient hunt though!).

      The same thing happened to me with the coconut oil…1 cup solid = 1 cup melted (still scratching my head over that one). One of my readers mentioned that she does not melt the coconut oil first, but keeps it as a solid and creams it with the sugar, I plan on trying it that way next time. It also occurred to me that it might be helpful to add a bit of liquid when using the coconut oil since it was more dry than when using Earth Balance (not sure how much though, maybe 2 Tbs. or so of water?).

      I dusted my rolling pin with some of the extra sugar cookie flour blend.

      Since your blender worked well for the powdered sugar, you might want to try tossing in some of your rice flour to see if you can make your own superfine rice flour. I've been meaning to try that for ages but haven't gotten around to it yet.

      Did you add the agave nectar to the icing too? The good thing about icing is that you can always add more liquid, and if you accidentally overdo it, you can thicken it back up by adding more powdered sugar and a touch more agave nectar (or corn syrup).

      I agree on the labor intensive part which is why I usually only make these once a year, LOL!

      Thank you for all the information from your experience, it is very helpful! :-D

      Hugs,
      Heidi

      • Leslie says:

        Thanks Heidi for the prompt reply and feedback. Great idea to cream the sugar. I'd like to give that a try. I did use agave in the icing and I was delighted to discover that the kind I had was "light"! Been getting more good feedback on the recipe now that it's posted on my Facebook. Thanks again!

  19. Tandy says:

    One possible reason to melt the coconut oil, is that some brands (depending on how refined it is) can have hard nodules of coconut in it. Melting it would make it easy to identify them and get these out, before they go into the cookies. I never had this problem when I creamed the sugar and oil together (unmelted), because any irregularities were visible at the end of the creaming. It is the only thing that makes sense to me, since as you say 1 c solid usually equals 1 c melted unless their measuring skills leave something to be desired (as it doesn't appear any of ours do).

    • Leslie says:

      Yes, I'm sure others can vary that for their own situation since the coconut oil melts naturally at 76 degrees room temperature and is solid below that. So if you're cooking cookies in winter, you'll be more likely to be dealing with the solid material. I think it is safe to say it works both ways, but I'd like to try the creaming method next time.

      I used Nutiva organic extra virgin olive oil—for a couple recipes and general cooking too and I didn't notice any nodules.

      Hubby just ate the cookie I decorated especially for him and he said, "Mmmm, wow it's really good," and "You'd never know!".

  20. Stacey says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! Just discovered your blog and I WILL be visiting often. I'm neither a mom nor am I celiac, but…I have a new life now thanks to going gluten and dairy-free. In less than two years I'm down 170 pounds and counting. Of course, I feel better than ever. It's sites like this that allow me to still enjoy foods and satisfy my gourmet wanderlust. Merry Christmas – Here's to cookie season!

  21. Michelle Olejar says:

    AWESOME! Boys love them :) I am thinking with the right cookie cutters, I could use this recipe to make some animal cookies. Maybe even…lets think….a goldfish version made with some cocoa to duplicate that famous brand filled with gluten? Sounds good to me. I will have to experiment. Thanks for the recipe, as always you rock!

  22. Greenwick says:

    I made these cookies for Halloween. Wow, they were amazing! I couldn't believe how well they rolled out, and how good they tasted.

  23. kathy says:

    Thanks for the post, I am trying to make the cookies, and my dough was too dry. I know measuring gf flours can vary, I am putting it back in the mixer and adding a few tablespoons of coconut milk. I am wondering what you do in the situation? Looking back, I should have not added all the flour, when I noticed it getting dry. Wish there was a Hiedi call line, like the butter ball ladies on thanksgiving.

    Thanks for the recipe, the dough tastes great, now we just need to rechill it and try again.

    We are also making the carmels today as well.

    Take care,

    Kathy

    • Great idea Kathy, 1-800-Glutadoodle! ;-)

      Okay, I measure my flours by spooning the flour into the measuring cup then leveling it off. You will get more flour if you scoop the flour out of the container then level it off.

      Adding a few tablespoons of coconut milk should do the trick though!

  24. Candy says:

    I was wondering if I could use Better Batter in place of the flour blend? I ordered 5lbs for Thanksgiving, but it did not get here in time. Hoping I can put it to good use :)

  25. Rebecca says:

    Is there any reason you think ground flaxseed and water would not work as an egg replacer? (Corn and potato are on my family's no-no list).

  26. Caryn says:

    Heidi,

    I tried a version of sugar cookies that were gluten free, dairy free and corn free last week. I used palm oil and they spread way too much. I want to try again with this recipe instead. Does your dairy free version spread a lot in the oven? Any tips? We like to make peppermint flavored candy cane shaped ones. If they spread I might have to forgo the candy cane for a different shape. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! I really appreciate that you put up your own photos, too. Sometimes it is hard to know what you are going to get when you are done w/o a pic (by the way those cookies are gorgeous this year!)

    Caryn

  27. Tracy says:

    Hi Heidi! Your site has been a blessing for me! My son is gluten and dairy sensitive and I’ve tried quite a few of your recipes and he loves all of them :) I just made these sugar cookies and W-o-W ! are they ever good! The phrase “you won’t believe they’re not gluten” comes to mind. I put my dough in the fridge wrapped up overnight and it was so hard and crumbly when I first took it out so I left it for a while on the counter and it was still dry (it wasn’t dry when I made it yesterday before putting it in the fridge) anyhow, so I sprinkled a bit of water on the dough and voila! it came back nice and soft and it rolled out beautifully. Thanks again!

  28. Maggie says:

    Do you think it would work to sub sorghum flour for the superfine white rice? I have superfine brown but not the white. Should I make any other adjustments for this substitution? Thanks much! Love your site!

  29. Jehnakai says:

    Oh my Goddess, you are SUCH a life saver!! We have gone on the Virgin Diet(all 3 of us – all adults) and can have no sugar, dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, peanuts or corn and tonight is my husband’s birthday and I needed a frosting recipe. Thank you SO much for sharing all your wonderful ideas/recipes!!

  30. Renee' says:

    Do you have any tips as to make these not spread out so much? The dough tastes amazing and rolls out like a dream! However, they do spread when baking and the cut out shapes are somewhat lost. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it’s super delish!

    • Pam Gordon says:

      Perhaps try next time to chill the cut-outs after cutiing them out and then bake on a cold pan.

  31. BletGirl Bares says:

    I love that there are recipes here that are also dairy free and corn free (and gluten free). This combination is really hard to come by.

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