Big Batch Gluten-Free Christmas/Sugar Cookie Recipe

UPDATE:  This post needs pictures!!  I wrote it in 2006, before the advent of Pinterest and its requirement of pictures for every recipe.  If you have pictures, please mail them to me!!  Post them to the Only Sometimes Clever Facebook page or e-mail me at  ~Karen 12.17.2013

I have used this recipe many times; it is so versatile.  It produces a wonderfully flavored, wonderfully textured cookie that NO one will guess is gluten free (it is also casein/dairy free, for those who need to eliminate those ingredients).

I got the recipe, basically, from Special Diets for Special Kids II, which is a really good gf/cf cookbook.  However, it simply calls for “GF Flour,” and I experimented to make my own flour mixture, as listed below.  The original recipe also calls for the cookies to be made small and flat, vanilla wafer-style.  However, I found that the recipe works wonderfully for thicker, chewy, soft cookies.

I always make it in a huge batch, often even bigger than I have written up here.  This is basically a 6X recipe of the original.

I have hot linked ingredients to my favorite supplier.  NOTE:  Make certain that you have sweet rice flour, as called for, not plain white rice flour.

(Instructions edited a wee bit on 12/02/06, as I am making a batch and had some clarifications to add to the mixing process.  Also edited on 12/10/10, and added PDF.)

Big Batch Gluten-Free Christmas/Sugar Cookies (GFCF) (click for printable pdf)
makes about 8 dozen cookies

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Mix together the flours, starch, xanthan gum and baking powder with a whisk until well-combined.  Set aside.

Cream together the sugars, shortening, eggs, vanilla and salt.

Add flour mixture to the creamed sugar mixture, about 2 cups at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Once the flour mixture is mostly incorporated, knead the dough in the bowl, slowly punching the dough down in the middle and folding the sides of the dough into the middle.  Or, put the dough on a non-stick surface (like a silicone mat or a marble slab, or just your smooth kitchen counter top), and knead it on there.  The mixture will have the consistency of Play-Doh, but not too soft.  If your dough has the right consistency, it will not stick to your hands, the bowl, or the counter top on which you’re kneading it.

  • If it is the dough is too dry, add a Tbsp of water at a time until it will gather into a ball.
  • If the dough is too moist, knead in sweet rice flour until it the dough is no longer sticky.

After the dough is well-mixed, several things can be done with the dough.  For all recipes, greasing the pan is not necessary.  Unless a crispy cookie is desired, bake (preferably on insulated pans*) at 325°F until the edges are just golden.  Depending on the thickness of your cookies, this will take from 17-20 minutes.

For “plain” sugar cookies:

  • For light, crispy cookies:  Roll dough into very small balls and flatten to a wafer with the bottom of a sugar-dipped glass or cookie stamp.  Bake until golden brown.
  • Roll into larger balls and flatten to about 1/4″ thick.  Bake until edges are just golden.
  • Divide the dough into about 4 parts, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fairly firm.  Roll out until dough is about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.  Use cookie cutters for your desired shape(s).  The thinner the dough, the more crispy the cookie.

Or, divide the dough into 2 or more sections, and try these mix-ins.  Knead in the added ingredients, roll a bit, or drop by teaspoons, then press with a sugar-dipped cup.  These cookies puff well, but don’t spread at all, so don’t work a simple “drop” cookies.

  • crushed candy canes
  • chocolate chips of any size
  • chopped nuts and/or dried fruit — One very successful variation we tried were black walnut and dried cranberries

Or, use them as a base for chocolate Kiss cookies, or jam thumbprint cookies.

Or, chocolate swirl cookies:  Take 2 equal portions of dough, and roll one out about 1/8″ thick, keeping as close to a rectangular shape as possible.  Take the other portion, and mix in plain cocoa powder, until it is nice and dark.  Roll that section out to 1/8″, as well.  Place one layer on top of the other, with the smaller section (if one is smaller) on top.  Starting with the longer side of the rectangle, roll the layers together, until you have a log.  Smooth the end of the roll with your fingers, pressing it gently into the log.  Roll the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.  Then, slice the cookies about 1/4″ thick, taking care to keep the log as round as possible.  (These are my kids’ favorite cookies.)

The possibilites are nearly endless.  If anyone ends up using this recipe and tries a variation not mentioned here, do comment and share!!!

NOTE:  Unbaked dough does freeze very well.  Wrap well in plastic wrap, place inside of a ziploc bag, and freeze.  Thaw in fridge, and bring to nearly room temp before rolling.



*Hint:  for your own insulated pans, take two regular jelly roll pans, and between them, add a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil that has been balled up, then mostly-smoothed out, retaining many of its wrinkles, creating an air gap between the two pans.

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 15, 2006, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, GF Recipes, GFCF, GFCF Recipes, gluten-free. Bookmark the permalink. 190 Comments.

  1. Fresh goat cheese is delicious; and tangy,
    and there are many varieties of real cheese that are safe
    (Again- check labels for additives, fillers or flavorings- these are possible culprits).
    It usually affects the small digestive tract
    and it causes the indigestion of food properly. If you visit your local grocery store, you will
    discover that a lot of products like cereals,
    baked goods, pastas and many more are now coming in a gluten free version.

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