Friday, February 13, 2009

Sugar Cookies from Living Without Magazine

The Living Without magazine December/January 2009 issue has a great recipe for sugar cookies! My toddler enjoyed decorating and eating these cookies so much that she requested them for her birthday instead of a cake! For her birthday party, we let her friends each decorate and eat their own cookie.

You can find the article online at

Or go to, click on Articles, then Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes, then Holiday Cookies, then Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies

The cookies and frosting are gluten-free, dairy-free, and have instructions to adapt cookies to be gluten and dairy-free.

I will paraphrase the directions in places, and have adapted the recipe a bit.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies

1½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
1 egg (or 1½ teaspoons egg replacer* mixed with 2 tablespoons rice milk or water)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups gluten-free cookie flour mix (see below)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
2 egg whites(see below for "Vegan Icing Variation")
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring and colored sugars, optional

homebaker's note: this recipe has ended up too thin every time I've made it; I've ended up adding more flour. You can do a "test cookie"- just bake one on a tray to see what consistency you have.

Combine 1½ cups confectioner’s sugar and 1 cup shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add egg replacer mixture and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine flour mix, xanthan gum, baking soda and cream of tartar.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low speed until thoroughly combined.
Gather up dough into a ball and chill it for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness and cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Using a thin spatula, transfer cookies to cookie sheets. Gather up remaining scraps of dough and roll out again, cutting and rolling until you’ve used it all.

Bake cookies 10 minutes. Then cool 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

To make icing, combine all icing ingredients and mix until smooth. For colored icing, add a few drops of food coloring. Ice cookies while they’re still slightly warm. Then sprinkle immediately with decorative sugars. Cool completely to set.

Vegan Icing Variation

For vegan icing, combine 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 4 tablespoons rice milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Beat until smooth.

TIP: If you use egg replacer instead of eggs to make cookies, follow directions up to step 4. Roll out soft dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper until the dough is ¼-inch thick. Transfer the dough, still between parchment paper, to a cookie sheet and chill for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let sit about 5 minutes. Remove top sheet of parchment paper. Cut out cookies with your favorite cookie cutters. Egg-free dough is slightly more crumbly, so use your hands to pinch the edges together as necessary. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Once you’ve cut out the first round of cookies, proceed as the recipe instructs, gathering up scraps of dough, lightly flouring your work surface and rolling pin, and rolling out remaining dough and cutting cookies.

Gluten-Free Cookie Flour Mix
Makes 6 Cups

4 cups superfine brown rice flour
1⅓ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔ cup tapioca flour/starch
Combine all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

This article was featured in the December/January 2009 issue.

homebaker's note:
For superfine brown rice flour, Living Without lists I simply use flour that I've ground from brown rice in my grain mill(Magic Mill III) at home- the mill grinds it very finely. The recipe turns out great.

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