Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies

**This post is linked to Calling All Cookies – Gluten-Free Cookie Round-Up by Nancy at The Sensitive Pantry. Take a look for some fabulous cookie recipes.**

** This post is also linked to Life In Grace – Christmas Cookie Exchange 2010. More fabulous cookie recipes to chose from.**

Here is another Gluten-Free Holiday guest post. This one is from the lovely Kim at Simple Ginger. She has been blogging for a year, now, and she has traveled the path that a lot of us have traveled. Kept trying to get answers as to what was ailing us for so many years. Get told way too many answers that aren’t the right ones, including IBS and “It’s all in you head.” Interestingly, Kim brings up in her blog that she kept having problems with strep throat, especially in school. I never thought that might be an issue, but I had strep throat 9 times my senior year in high school. Yes, that was 9 times in 9 months.

Hmmmm. Something to think about.

And, Kim is a great photographer. You should hop on over to her blog just to look at her fabulous pictures. And grab a few recipes to try while you are at it. She has some great ones to try.

Anyway, Kim has graced my blog with a post about Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies. You know the ones I mean. Sugar cookies cut into shapes of trees and gingerbread men with that hard, super-sweet, colorful icing. Yum, yum, yum! I know it’s two days before Thanksgiving, but sometimes you need an extra treat around for your guests when you are trying to get that turkey done. Or, maybe you want to bring that extra treat to where you are going. Either way, cookies can be lovely for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Or both!

So, here is Kim and her Christmas Cookies…

Hi!  I’m Kim.  I blog over at simpleginger, where I write about my gluten free cooking adventures and life.  I love to cook, especially love trying new recipes, and keeping things simple.  I’m always looking for new recipes to try so if you have some great ones to share, stop on over and leave me a note!

Kim from Simple Ginger

Anyway, I’m so glad to be here today sharing my favorite Christmas cookie.  I like this recipe so much I’ve been known to make it my Valentine’s day cookie recipe as well…or even Easter.  Heck, any holiday is a great excuse to have these super cute and soft cookies on hand!

Gluten Free Christmas Cookies
Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

The holiday season can be a tricky one for gluten free eaters, but it doesn’t have to be!  These awesome cookies will impress anyone on your holiday party list.  They are the perfect combination of plain frost-able Christmas cookie, but with a soft chewy secret….sour cream!  This recipe comes from my grandma, not sure where she got it from, but they are a family favorite.  When iced with royal icing, they turn out smooth and shiny and dry hard so they can be stacked in a cute gift bag and tied with a pretty bow for an easy hostess gift, or spread on a platter for a charming cookie plate at your holiday get together.  I hope you try them out!

For the cookies:

(yields about 2 dozen cookies)

  • 3/4 cup (165g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (100g) potato starch*
  • 1 & 1/8 cup (112g) corn starch*
  • scant 3/4 cup (75g) brown rice flour*
  • 1/2 cup (75g) sweet rice flour*
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Ingredients for Gluten Free Christmas Cookies
Ingredients for Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

*I use a 40% whole grains to 60% starches ratio.  Any starch or whole grain flour could be used as a substitution as long as the same amount, by weight not volume, is replaced.  I strongly recommend using weights for all of your gluten free flours.  It really makes a world of difference.

sugar on scale

Cream the shortening and sugar together in a mixer bowl or by hand.  Add in the egg, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until combined.

Ingredients in mixing bowl for Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

In a separate bowl combine the flours and the xanthan gum.  Whisk to aerate and combine.  This is a very important step to ensure the starches and xanthan gum do not clump when added to the other ingredients.  Add in about 3/4 of the flour mixture in 3 additions.  Mix until incorporated after each addition.  The dough should come together but still be sticky.  Use the remaining flour mixture, as needed, when rolling out the dough.

Cut the dough in half and knead one half into a disk shape on a well-floured piece of parchment.

Ball of Gluten Free Christmas Cookie dough

Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out your cookies.

Cookie cutouts in rolled out dough

Carefully place cookies on a cookie sheet spaced about 2 inches apart.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until just starting to brown.  Continue with the other half of the dough.  Re-roll the scraps and cut cookies out of those as well.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Man without Icing

Cool on wire rack completely before icing.

For icing:

  • 2 tablespoons dried egg whites**
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Royal icing is a classic decorating tool.  Not only does it taste great, but it’s easy to handle and turns out very professional looking even when just a simple outline dam is built then the interior flooded with a solid color.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Man with red icing

**Dried egg whites are a safe alternative to using fresh raw egg whites.  Those can be used as well, but if using omit the water.

Just Whites

Add the dried whites and water together in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with at whisk attachment until foamy.

Beaten egg whites

Add in the vanilla and sugar and mix slowly until combined, then medium high until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.

icing dripping off beater

This consistency is perfect for piping the outline of your icing onto your cookies.  Fill a piping bag or heavy-duty plastic storage bag and snip just a tiny tiny corner off.  Practice consistent even piping on a scrap of parchment, then outline your cookies.  Next take some of the white frosting into a smaller bowl and add food coloring until you reach the color you desire.  Add in water 1 teaspoon at a time to thin the icing for “flooding”.

Green and Red icing

The consistency you are after can be measured by drizzling icing off of a spoon; when the drizzle off of the spoon takes 5-10 seconds to disappear you’re ready.  When you’ve reached that consistency, add to a piping bag and trace right around the inside of your outline.  Then fill in with a zig-zag motion until the entire interior is covered.  Don’t be intimidated; it’s much easier than it sounds!

Set the cookies out to dry mine took about 2 hours.  Then they can be stacked.

Gluten Free Christmas cookies II


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11 Responses to “Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies”

    • kim @simpleginger

      Thanks Alisa! These are great and will “fool” anyone. They have a slight aftertaste when warm, but when cooled they taste exactly like their gluten filled original! Not even my grandmother can tell them apart!

  1. These have to be some of the most beautiful Christmas cookies EVER! I will never make cutout cookies that look that perfect. This is when we need a true cookie exchange, so I can get some of those cookies and you can have some of my less attractive, but still delicious ones. ;-)

    Thanks, Kim, and Tia! :-)

  2. these are beautiful! i’ve been gluten free for about 3 years and had given up on ever eating Christmas cookies again…just making them for others! thanks for the hope!

  3. Awesome tutorial! Thanks so much for linking with us, the cookies look delish and beautiful :)
    lots of love,

  4. I baked these cookies today, and just couldn’t believe it. They are just like the “regular” cream cookies I used to make! THANK YOU! It’s been 3 years since I had a soft cream cookie, so I really appreciate it. :)

    • kim @simpleginger

      Yay! I’m so glad someone tried and liked them! This makes my day!

  5. Oooh waw!! These gf cookies look jsut so beautiful, amazing & stunning at the same time!