There are a lot of cookie recipes on this little blog of mine. Lots. I have at least 4 different versions of my favorite sugar cookie recipe. But what I haven’t had until now is a gluten free sugar cookie recipe!
This recipe actually came about through my cookie decorating classes! I had a couple girls in my Halloween class ask if I could make them gluten free cookies instead of my normal sugar cookies. Never one to turn down a challenge, I obliged. While that first batch of gluten free sugar cookies were okay, I knew they could be better!
The perfectionist in me kicked in (it lays pretty dormant throughout most of the year, and really only makes an appearance when cookies are involved) and I knew I had to find the perfect gluten free sugar cookie recipe
I essentially put aside a weekend, canceled all my plans (I had none) to devote myself to this baking challenge. Fortunately, it only took a couple hours on a Saturday (which means I had the recipe of the day to catch up on my DVR…adulting, am I right?). The 4th recipe turned out to be so good I didn’t feel like I need to experiment any further.
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s discuss these four cookies, shall we?
Recipe: 4 parts GF flour to 1 part almond meal, plus a bit of baking powder.
Results: A crumbly cookie that completely lost it’s shape when baking.
Recipe: Half GF flour and half almond meal, plus baking powder. Also, baked 5 minutes longer than A.
Results: A big ol’ disaster!
Recipe: Doubled the GF flour from recipe A and eliminated the baking powder.
Results: The shape is a lot better, but the taste and texture are still a bit off.
Recipe: Increased the amounts of both GF flour and almond meal from recipe B, keeping the ratio roughly 50/50, and eliminated the baking powder.
Results: A delicious cookie with perfect edges and a great texture (although slightly over-baked)
Clearly recipe D was the winner! And really, it all came down to the texture. I could tell the minute I started rolling out the dough for Trial D. The dough felt like my normal sugar cookie dough. It wasn’t too soft or delicate. It rolled out really well and clearly made the best cookie.
You can see the difference in texture in the pictures above. When I tried to break C in half, the cookie just kinda fell apart. When I broke D in half, it did just that! I don’t know about you but I don’t like my cookies to crumble into a pile of sand after every bite. Gross!
Okay, enough of the nerdy recipe experimenting stuff. Let’s get to the actual recipe!
This recipe starts like my favorite sugar cookie recipe, with butter and sugar, eggs and vanilla. I also added almond extract (my favorite of all the extracts) because it’s delicious and it compliments the almond flavor that will already be in the cookie. Then, like I said above, I mix in an even ratio of gluten free flour and almond meal until I had a pretty solid ball of dough. Something that would feel tacky to the touch but not so soft that your finger sinks right into it. If you think your dough is too soft, add more almond meal.
Baking these cookies is really no different that any other sugar cookie. I did chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before I rolled it out. This dough will inherently be a little bit softer than normal dough, so you may want to work in small batches, keeping the unused dough in the fridge.
I baked the cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. I watched them closely after the 10 minute mark because I really didn’t want them to over bake. If they over bake the dry out even more and they get kind of scaly on top (you can see what I am talking about in the picture of the broken D cookie above). Just as soon as they barely start to brown on the edges, it’s time to take them out!
The resulting cookies are delicious and slightly nutty thanks to all that almond meal. I think they would make a great substitute for any sugar cookie for those of you who have cut out gluten from your diet for one reason or another. Even as someone who does not have a gluten intolerance, I gladly taste tested these cookie over and over again.
It was all in the name of science. 🙂
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 3/4 cup gluten free flout
- 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond meal until the egg and butter have completely combined. About 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, almond meal, and salt. Pour half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until all flour is combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in the remainder of the flour. Dough should be tacky to the dough but should not feel too soft. If the dough is too wet (and sticks to your fingers) add in another 1/4 of almond meal.
- Dump dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap up and place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour (or the freezer for 30 minutes).
- When ready to roll out the dough, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust work surface with gluten free flour and roll dough out to 1/4-5/8" thick. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are barely golden brown.
- Cool on a cooling rack until ready to decorate or eat.