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!
Gluten-Free Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Flour Blend
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. 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)
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:
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
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)
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.
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.
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!
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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