Are you ready for some Christmas sugar cookie cutouts? Can you handle the cute festiveness?
I’m not sure if I can! This is my second time of making and stuffing my face with these cookies and I still can’t handle it.
Before I say anything else, I must tell you how these Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies taste! As a thin cutout cookie they are flaky, crunchy and perfectly sweetened. They’re great made into round, thicker, doughy cookies. Top these babies with some buttercream frosting, or leave them plain; either way they are the perfect treat for the Holidays!
One of my fondest Christmas season memories as a kid was when my mom would bust out the baking equipment and we would make sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies from scratch. The kitchen would be covered in flour and sprinkles and caked in sticky frosting. We would spend all day long baking and we would have enough cookies to last us for days and then some. I’m sure I was one hyped-up kid after consuming sugar all day long. I probably ate more raw dough than baked cookies. Ahh, those were the days….
As a well-behaved-non-raw-dough-eating-adult (who am I kidding! I still eat the raw dough, ha!), I still go crazy over the idea of making Christmas cutout cookies, but want to make them a little bit healthier. That’s right, I said a little bit. These are still cookies after all, so don’t go eating them in place of your veggies. I made them gluten-free so they can be shared with anyone, and refined-sugar-free. These Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies are sweetened purely with coconut sugar, which is lower on the glycemic index than traditional sugar.
Friends, let me tell you, I truly notice a difference in how I feel when I eat refined-sugar-free desserts. I don’t get a sugar high followed by a sugar crash, and overall I find my energy levels and focus are better than when I eat desserts made with refined sugar. The truth is I have mostly cut refined sugars out of my diet for the past year or two. The times that I occasionally have a dessert that contains refined sugars I feel a huge difference. Depending on how much refined sugar I have I can get a sugar rush and then a quick sugar crash (FYI I am not a fun person to be around on a sugar crash; I get very HANGRY). Sometimes I get this sort of achy feeling in my body and sometimes a slight headache. Not fun! After becoming aware of how much refined sugar affects me I don’t miss it one bit. With all of the refined-sugar-free and low-glycemic sweetner options available now it’s easier than ever before to make sweets without refined sugar! My favorites are coconut sugar, honey, and maple syrup. What a wonderful world we live in!
Which brings me to my next point of why I am so excited about these cookies! A sugar cookie cutout isn’t a sugar cookie without some frosting to spread on top, am I right? For the cookies the swap was coconut sugar in place of simple, traditional refined white sugar, which is the reason for the light brown color of the cookies. BUT for a buttercream frosting? I was at a loss! I mean powdered sugar is what helps to make frosting light and fluffy. Coconut sugar would be too gritty. Besides, even if I could find a way to use coconut sugar in the frosting it would be a light brown color. That may be okay for the cookies, but not okay for the frosting. Who wants a tan colored-frosting? Nobody.
What’s a baker to do? Google has the answers. A quick google search gave me the idea to sweeten the frosting with honey and add finely ground tapioca flour to add fluff and bind. It worked like a charm! The buttercream frosting is spreadable, thick and fluffy, and the best part, you’re not dependent on the powdered sugar to bind and fluff the butter for you so the level of sweetness is in your complete control! Success!
Turst me, this frosting is so tasty that our cat, Granite, even approves. I left the frosted cookies on the dining room table unattended and he half- licked three of them. Really? He couldn’t just lick one whole one? Don’t worry, we threw the half-licked guys away. 🙁
Whew, now that you’ve heard about my experiences with sugar, go make some refined-sugar-free and gluten-free sugar cookies for Christmas. A messy kitchen covered in flour and frosting is required!
- FOR THE COOKIES:
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup coconut oil, at room temperature, but slightly softened (stick in the fridge for 5 mins if the coconut oil is a liquid)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups + ¼ cup oat flour (grind up rolled oats in your food processor until they reach a flour-like consistency; measure after they are ground up)
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- FOR THE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:*
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- pinch fine sea salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons honey (or adjust to your taste, but don't go crazy as it may thin out the frosting too much)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup fine tapioca starch/powder (add more if needed for a thicker texture)
- FOR THE GLUTEN-FREE SUGAR COOKIES:
- Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer to mix the butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl, until they are mostly incorporated.
- Add the coconut sugar and mix until well combined. If there are any lumps of coconut oil left behind, that is okay; it helps the cookies to be more flaky.
- In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl add the baking soda, salt, oat flour, coconut flour, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
- Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing between both times to incorporate the ingredients well. Scrape down sides as needed.
- Divide the dough in half and turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, forming two separate disks. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 to 3 cookie sheets and set aside.
- Once the dough has chilled roll out your dough between two pieces of parchment paper. The thickness should be about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Cut cookies into whatever shapes as desired and transfer the cookies to the greased baking sheets.
- Re-chill and re-roll any scraps of dough you have until all the dough has been used.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 13 minutes. I found that for the thinner cookies 10 minutes are just perfect. The cookies should be light golden brown. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make cookie rounds I rolled about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, placed it on the cookie sheet and flatted it into the shape I wanted with my hand.
- Bake the rounds for about 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
- FOR THE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
- Using a hand or stand mixer cream the butter until slightly fluffy.
- Add the salt, honey, vanilla, and half of the tapioca flour. Mix slowly at first so the tapioca doesn't go flying, then add the other half of the tapioca. Increase the speed until everything is well incorporated and the frosting is fluffy.
- Add more tapioca flour if the flour needs to be thicker or fluffier.
- Spread onto cooled cookies.
- Store any leftover frosting in the fridge for up to 30 days. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before frosting cookies.
*The amount of buttercream frosting frosts about half of the cookies. I suggest you double, and maybe even triple the recipe if you want to frost the entire batch of cookies.
Buttercream frosting made with tapioca starch was not my original idea. I found the idea online and briefly glanced at the idea, then played around with it to make it work for me.
Gluten Free Sugar Cookie recipe heavily adapted from Meaningful Eats
Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 23 servings with frosting. The information will vary if you make them into rounds, or don’t use frosting.