These gluten free cutout sugar cookies are so soft and tender, no one will believe they’re gluten free! They’re so easy to make with minimal ingredients that you’ll be making them every Christmas.
One of my fondest memories growing up was at Christmastime when we would make cutout sugar cookies. Rolling out and decorating the cookies was one of my favorite holiday traditions. I remember pulling out my mom’s beat up old Betty Crocker cookbook with the pages falling out of the binder and flipping to Mary’s Sugar Cookies. Funny how I can remember the name of those cookies, but can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday! Those good memories seem to really etch themselves into our brains where they stay for a lifetime.
My sisters and I would always gather around the table with our little bowls filled with a simple almond glaze that we’d tint several different colors. Using the back of a spoon, we’d spread the glaze all over the cookies and then use toothpicks to dot eyes on Santa or a red nose on Rudolph. That was way before the days of decorating bags, or at least readily available decorating bags!
Ingredients Needed for These Cookies
- Kim’s gluten free flour blend–you can try a store bought blend if you don’t want to make your own, such as Cup4Cup.
- Butter–butter is always better. Try to use real butter in these cookies because you’ll see a difference in both flavor and texture.
- Cream cheese–cream cheese is what makes these cookies soft and tender, even though they’re still able to hold their shape and don’t spread.
- Egg yolks–give the cookies a rich flavor, as well as adds to the tenderness.
- Vanilla extract
These gluten free cookies are almost better than the cookies I remember making that weren’t gluten free!
Tips for Making the Best Gluten Free Cutout Sugar Cookies
A couple of things will help make these the best cutout cookies you’ve ever had:
- Make sure to chill the dough well before rolling it out. This helps the cookies retain their shape when baked. A minimum of two hours is best.
- Thicker is better when rolling out these cookies, so when they bake they don’t get too crisp at the corners. I shoot for anywhere between 3/8 to 1/2-inch thick.
- Don’t over bake, which will again lead to crispy edges instead of soft, tender cookies that are melt in your mouth.
- Experiment with different flavorings. I’ve always been an almond lover, so adding about 1/2 to 1 tsp almond extract makes these cookies exceptional. Or try cinnamon, cardamom, or even a chai spice blend! Chai would be so good!!
- I personally prefer royal icing on these cookies, which is something of a wonder to me as I’m not usually that fond of it. Feel free to use whatever icing you’d like, though. Buttercream would taste great, but it doesn’t dry hard so be aware of that.
- Most importantly–have fun and create new memories!!!
How to Decorate the Cookies
There are many ways to decorate sugar cookies and not a one of them is wrong. Going the super easy route, before baking the cookies sprinkle them with colored sugar and/or nonpareils and sprinkles. Or bake them and spread them with a thin glaze made of a few cups of powdered sugar mixed with a little water or milk (1 to 2 tbsp) and some vanilla or almond extract. Add sprinkles as desired.
You could also spread them with a buttercream, such as this one here. They won’t dry hard, but will be more like a Lofthouse style cookie (yum!). Or you can use my favorite for these cookies, royal icing (the recipe is below). It’s a little more effort (filling pastry bags with several different colors and consistencies), but it offers so many options for decorating and it dries to a hard finish. Contrary to what I used to think, royal icing tastes wonderful on these cookies and actually contrasts perfectly with the tender texture.
This sugar cookie dough is a BREEZE to work with! It doesn’t stick much, is very easy to roll out, and makes the most tender cookies you will ever have! Seriously. I think they’ll become your new favorite cookie and maybe making them will even become a new Christmas tradition that your family will love doing!
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Gluten Free Cutout Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups (453 g) butter, softened
- 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 3/4 cups (665 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or your favorite flour blend with xanthan gum)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp meringue powder
- 4 cups (440 g) powdered sugar
- 5 tbsp warm water, plus more as needed for thinning
- gel or paste food coloring as desired
FOR THE COOKIES:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese while slowly adding the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.
- Slowly add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
- Separate the dough into two disks on sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill for about 2 hours or up to 12.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On lightly floured surface, roll dough to about 3/8 to 1/2-inch thickness.
- Using cookie cutters, cut into shapes and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until set but not browned, or very slightly browned on bottom edges only.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting or decorating.
FOR THE ROYAL ICING:
- Beat all ingredients together using a heavy duty stand mixer for about 7-10 minutes at low speed, or 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer.
- Add 1 tsp water at a time to thin to desired consistency. For outlining, consistency should be thicker. For flooding cookies, consistency should be a little bit thinner to allow it to flow smoothly.
- Separate into small bowls and color as desired. Spread on cookies, or fill piping bags and decorate as desired.
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe White Velvet Sugar Cookies
These cookies were originally posted in December 2018 and have been updated with new pictures and more tips and tricks.