You know those super soft, frosted sugar cookies with festive sprinkles that they sell in the plastic boxes at every grocery store in the world? Yes, you know what cookies I am talking about: always decorated with colors and sprinkles to go with whatever holiday is coming up next?
I miss those cookies.
I don't usually use other blogger's posts as launching points for my recipes (that's really phoning it in, in my opinion), but this sugar cookie recipe really is just something else. I needs to be shared. It's the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever tried (gluten free or not, and that's saying something), and it's so good, it will make you cry. I mean it. It's just like the original grocery store sugar cookie, but better. (and to be fair to myself, I did adapt this recipe to be gluten-free myself, so I sort of made it up, I guess!)
It's hard to be gluten-free all the time, and to say to yourself, "I will never eat this or that ever again" (Au revoir croissants, puff pastry, sourdough bread! Perhaps we shall meet again on the other side!). It's ever harder to say to your children, "you will never even know what that tastes like." (Alas, goldfish crackers and icecream cones!) It sucks. And while I know that in the grand scheme of things this "hardship" is really nothing, try explaining that to a 2 year old when everyone else is eating birthday cake at a party or Cheerio's for snack, and he doesn't get anything at all! It's an unjust world.
My little helper assisting with dough quality assurance
The kids at VBS loved the cookies too!
But back to the cookies. Children love sugar cookies, and yes, the child in each of us probably gets a little pang of sadness every time we go to the grocery store and pass the boxes of brightly decorated cookies we can't ever taste again. The thing is, those grocery store cookies didn't actually taste all that great. Super soft, a little bland, very sugary, but always with that unmistakable tang of cheap, artificial ingredients. I was at the store a day or two ago, and I picked up a box of these cookies to read the label: the ingredients list was as long as my arm and full of unpronounceable words. It was like a laundry list of food you shouldn't put in your body: refined white flour, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, preservatives. Mmm, exactly what I want to feed my children! Not that I could feed it to my children because of the gluten, but you get the point.
Are you ready to have your world rocked? You can make those sugar cookies at home. You can make them with whole, wholesome ingredients. You can make them taste better than the store bought variety. And you can make them gluten free. My inner child is doing a little dance right now! And as a mom, I love that I can make these quintessential childhood treats for my own children, and that I can give them something better than what they are missing out on.
The best part? I swear on Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, if you didn't know these were gluten-free, you could never tell. I brought them to vacation Bible school last week, and not only could no-one tell they were gluten-free, but kids and adults loved them! Even the people who don't usually like sugar cookies said they liked these cookies. Now if that isn't a compliment, I don't know what is.
Looking for some other amazing, gluten-free cookies?? I've got you covered!
- Gluten-Free Thin Mints!
- Lil Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies - Gluten Free!
- Spicy Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles
- White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
- Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Toffee Bits
Best EVER Gluten Free Soft Iced Sugar Cookies
adapted from Hostess with the Mostess and Annie's Eats
The original recipe calls for rolling the dough into balls and flattening it a little onto the cookie sheet. This really didn't work with the gluten-free recipe at all, so I suggest doing the traditional rolling pin and cookie cutter thing (besides, kids love that). I rolled mine a little thick (a little less than half an inch) so the cookies would be plump, and wouldn't break during frosting (since they are so, SO soft).
Using the correct flours is really important here, if you want to get that perfect, perfect taste and consistency. Usually I say to substitute in an all purpose mix if you don't have the flours called for, but in this case this combination really is perfect. My first batch used an all purpose mix, and it was a bust. Learn from my mistakes!
NOTE: some people have said the dough was a little too soft: I think this probably means you need to add about 2 - 4 Tbs more flour. Since we typically measure flour by volume and not weight, you might have used some more fluffy flour than I did!
for the cookies:
1.5 cups white rice flour
1.5 cups sweet rice flour (mochi)
1.5 cups oat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
3 sticks butter (1.5 cups), room temperature
1.5 cups white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract (or almond)
for the frosting:
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbs vanilla extract
7-8 tbs milk, depending on consistency desired
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1.5 cups white rice flour, 1.5 cups sweet rice flour (mochi), 1.5 cups oat flour, 5 teaspoons baking powder, and a pinch salt.
2. In a stand mixer, beat 3 sticks butter with 1.5 cups sugar on high, until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, waiting for each egg to be fully incorporated before adding in the next. Beat an extra minute or two after last egg, and add vanilla.
3. With the mixer on low, fold in flour mixture, and mix until fully incorporated (with gluten-free baking you don't really have to worry about over mixing). Remove from mixing bowl, and form into a large disc. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refridgerate until firm, about 2 hours (dough can be frozen or stored in this state).
4. When you ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface (I use sweet rice flour, since it's the finest) to a little less than 1/2 inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut to desired shapes, and place in cookie sheet. Cookies will spread very little, so they can be close - about 1" apart.
5. Bake cookies until just puffed and set, but before they have begun to brown around the edges. This will ensure a soft, soft cookie! Let cool, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.
6. To make the frosting: Place confectioners sugar in a medium bowl. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk, and whisk until smooth, adding more milk to achieve desired consistency. Tint with food coloring, frost cookies, and adorn with sprinkles. Enjoy!