Holiday Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-free and Nut-free)
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to stretch out the holiday season more than a month- that’s normal right? Being celiac, my mother and I have tried for years to get our gluten-free holiday baking on point…and I would say it has been about a 50-50 success. When I made this recipe the first time I knew it was a winner! It is inspired by the Minimalist Baker's recipe but I have made a few tweaks. I've made these cookies three times now (my first attempt was an absolute disaster!) and they are light, fluffy and make a perfect gift for friends and family over the holidays. If your family is anything like mine, it can sometimes seem impossible to accommodate all the different allergies and sensitivies- but I think I have done it! These puppies are gluten, dairy and nut-free (and can be easily adapted to be made vegan) so that everyone can enjoy this seasonal favourite. I promise you- no one will ever know!
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) softened vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
2/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg (option to use 3 Tbsp aquafaba chickpea brine or sub 1/4 cup pumpkin purée for vegan option)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour blend*
2/3 cup (75 g) coconut flour
1/3 cup (56 g) cornstarch
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (I used Silk Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
*The secret I think to these cookies is the gluten-free flour blend- boy does it make you look like a crazy person at the grocery store BUT it is worth it! I used Bob's Red Mill brand but you can also get all of these flours at your local Bulk Barn in the gluten-free section!
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) vegan butter, softened
2 cups sifted organic powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
Ok phewf! Once you have all of your ingredients you are ready to bake!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and set aside a non-stick baking tray.
Microwave vegan butter for about 30 seconds (make sure it's softened - not melted or cold) and pour it into a large mixing bowl and beat or whisk until creamy and smooth - about 30 seconds as well.
Add sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy and light - about 1 minute. Then add the egg (or egg substitute) and vanilla and mix again.
Add baking powder and sea salt and blend or whisk to combine. Then add gluten-free flour blend, coconu flour, and cornstarch and mix on low until the ingredients are combined. Add coconut milk and mix again for another minute or so.
The dough should be thick, moldable and a little difficult to mix at this point (see photo). If too soft, continue adding a mixture of gluten-free flour blend, coconut flour, and cornstarch until a thick, moldable dough is formed. Mine always ended up being a little thick and crumbly, so I added more coconut milk a tablespoon at a time until the consistency was right.
Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for 15-20 minutes. Once chilled, lay parchment paper down (or have a well gf-floured surface) and roll the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Grab your cookie cutters and get creative!
Carefully transfer cookies onto your non-stick baking sheet (or use parchment paper on the baking sheet)- the cookies do not expand much so you will only need about a 1/2 inch between them.
Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes or until the cookies appear fluffy and the edges are slightly beginning to dry out (not quite as burnt as mine are LOL). Let the cookies cool on baking sheet for 8-10 minutes before transferring to a plate to cool completely.
To make frosting (optional), add softened vegan butter to a mixing bowl and whisk or beat until soft and fluffy - about 1 minute. Then sift in powdered sugar in small amounts and mix. Around the 1-cup mark, add the vanilla extract and whisk. Continue adding powdered sugar until you have spreadable frosting (I used about 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar). If you prefer a thinner frosting, add a little coconut milk. If it becomes too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it becomes too thick, add more coconut milk. Seperate the icing into separate bowls to food coloring at this time if you want.
Frost cookies or leave plain! Add sprinkles, candy or whatever you like on top to make them your own!
Storage: Once cooled, store leftover cookies in an airtight at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.
I will be making these at least one more time this year with my sisters and mom on Christmas Eve! We always make and decorate sugar cookies in preparation for Christmas Day!
Let me know if you try the recipe how they turn out- Enjoy!