Welcome to Day 2 of #AKCookieWeek 2019!
I’ve officially been doing cookie week for a few years now and it continues to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding themed-weeks. I think I tested each of the cookies at least 3-5x each to make sure they were no-fail recipes.
I’ll admit, getting a cookie to be absolutely perfect can be frustrating, especially when working with non-traditional flours, but if anyone can do it, it’s this ambitious chick (aka me.) That’s the attitude I like to have about most things anyway, but even more so when it comes to cookies. Heh.
This year, I really tried to challenge myself to develop cookie recipes to satisfy various dietary needs. Many AK readers love my paleo-friendly, gluten free or dairy free recipes and continue to request more of them; so I thought, why not try to make a SOFT CUT OUT SUGAR COOKIE that was not only gluten free, grain free and paleo-friendly, but also easily dairy free.
After several attempts and different flour ratios, I present you with these glorious gluten free sugar cookies that hold their shape perfectly when baked and taste just like the real deal sugar cookie you know and love.
Ingredients in gluten free sugar cookies
These healthier sugar cookies are based off my soft almond flour sugar cookies, except with a few modifications to make sure they could be rolled out and still keep their shape upon baking. Of course, they’re much better for you than traditional sugar cookies thanks to a few simple ingredient swaps:
- Almond flour and coconut flour. Almond flour and coconut flour are both gluten free, grain free, lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber compared to regular flour. Plus these two flours also have a nice sweetness to them, meaning we don’t have to use as much sweetener. I recommend using fine blanched almond flour in baking because it bakes up perfectly and has a texture similar to regular flour.
- Butter. (Or you can use coconut oil, vegan butter or melted ghee!) I chose to use butter in this recipe to keep the buttery notes of traditional sugar cookies, however, you are more than welcome to use coconut oil or vegan butter for a dairy free option. I have included substitution notes in the recipe below.
- Eggs. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature when you make this recipe. I like to do this by running them under warm water for 1 minute. Also just an FYI: I wanted to test a vegan version of these cookies but just haven’t had the time yet. Look for a vegan sugar cookie recipe coming from me soon!
- Sugar + honey. Because these are sugar cookies, I wanted to use real deal sugar. The entire recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar, but you can also feel free to sub coconut sugar, although the cookies may come out softer. I also use honey in the recipe to keep a nice soft texture to the cookies plus add additional sweetness. Don’t skip it!
- Vanilla + almond extract: every good sugar cookie should call for almond extract. It just adds an irresistible sweet cookie flavor. We’re also using vanilla extract for a lovely hint of pure vanilla.
Tony decided to help me test these out one Saturday night, and we had such a fun time laughing, playing Christmas music, frosting and decorating them. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a date night in activity.
Tips for making soft cut out sugar cookies
- Pack your almond flour. I like to pack my almond flour just like I would with brown sugar. It makes all the difference! No need to pack the coconut flour though.
- Chill the dough for at least 1 hour (but preferably 2 hours or more) in the fridge. It makes the dough MUCH easier to work with, plus it helps the cookies to hold their shape.
- Roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper. This prevents the dough from sticking to your surface since parchment paper is nonstick.
- Make sure your rolling pin is well floured with coconut flour. Otherwise, the dough is likely to stick to the rolling pin.
- Roll dough so that’s it’s 1/4th inch thick. Yes, we want a thicker dough so that the cookies are easier to cut out. Plus, the thicker dough really allows the cookies to keep their soft middle texture, yet still have crispy edges.
Make these gluten free sugar cookies your own
These gluten free sugar cookies are so good and easy to make and I’ve even included one of my very favorite easy vanilla buttercreams for easy decorating.
Speaking of decorating, I personally love using seasonal sprinkles to make the cookies festive and fun! You can also use something like these sprinkles that are dye-free, gluten free and vegan — they’re super cute and I’m a huge fan.
However you do it, you’re going to LOVE these sugar cookies! I can’t wait to see you make them.
How to store gluten free sugar cookies
Store these gluten free sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze gluten free cut out sugar cookies?
Yes! There are a few great ways to freeze cut out sugar cookies:
- Freeze the entire dough. Before rolling out and cutting out the gluten free sugar cookies, you can actually freeze the entire dough ball (if you have enough space in your freezer). Dough will stay good for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, let the dough thaw a bit in the refrigerator until it’s soft enough to roll out, then follow the recipe as directed.
- Freeze the dough after cutting. Cut out your sugar cookies, place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once the cookies firm up, transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, simply bake the gluten free sugar cookies as directed. You’ll likely just need to add a few extra minutes of baking time! While they’re baking you can make your vanilla buttercream.
- Freeze the baked sugar cookies. You can also freeze your baked gluten free sugar cookies for later. Wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy. You can freeze them with our without frosting!
See how to make the soft cut out sugar cookies:
If you make these gluten free sugar cookies, please leave a comment and rate the recipe. I appreciate your feedback and know the AK community does too! Thank you — xo!
Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies (gluten free, grain free, paleo friendly)
Gluten free cut out sugar cookies made with almond flour for a healthier version! This delicious, easy gluten free sugar cookie recipe is paleo-friendly, easily dairy free and perfect to make during the holiday season. Everyone loves these soft sugar cookies with tender middles.
- Wet ingredients:
- ½ cup butter, melted*
- ½ cup organic cane sugar**
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Dry ingredients:
- 3 cups packed fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (do not pack), plus more for rolling out the dough
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the vanilla buttercream:
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature (optional to use vegan butter stick)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- To decorate cookies:
- Sprinkles of choice
In a large bowl, add the melted butter, sugar, honey, eggs, vanilla and almond extract; whisk until well combined and smooth.
Next, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon (not a whisk) until dough comes together.
Divide dough into two balls or discs and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (preferably 2) or 30-45 minutes in the freezer. Also optional to chill overnight if you want to save time.
Once ready to bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take one of the dough balls (leaving the other in the fridge, as you’ll need to work in batches) and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper that’s been dusted with a good amount of coconut flour. Add another large sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough ball and then begin to roll out into a large rectangle until the dough is about 1/4th inch thick. The dough is soft, so you need to work quickly so that it doesn’t warm up too much! This is also the best method to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes, then use a spatula to help you transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake cookies for 9-13 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. If you want slightly crispier cookies along the edges, just bake for a minute or two longer. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes roughly 30 sugar cookies, depending on the size of your cutouts.
For the vanilla buttercream: Beat butter, powdered sugar and vanilla on high until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Frost each cookie, then decorate however your heart desires!
Cookies will stay good for up to 5 days at room temperature if kept in an airtight container. Cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Cookies will stay good for up to 5 days at room temperature if covered well, or they can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
*To make sugar cookies dairy free: use 1/2 melted coconut oil or 1/2 cup melted vegan butter in the dough. You'll also need to use vegan butter in the frosting.
**Instead of sugar, you can use coconut sugar, but the dough may come out softer than intended and also much darker. I recommend sticking with regular sugar.
Feel free to use my paleo powdered sugar recipe in the frosting. Or you can use a dairy free/paleo-friendly frosting such as Simple Mills.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats