How many times have you cooked gluten free biscuits and your shapes have come out unrecognisable? Straight swaps of gf flour for wheaten flour works for many recipes, but not necessarily for sugar cookies. After much trial and error, here is our favourite recipe for non spreading sugar cookies. Decorate with your favourite icing and chocolate designs for Easter, Christmas, birthdays and any other special occasion where a special shaped biscuit is required. Follow our easy directions, but don’t forget to check through the quick tips first.
Easy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
½ cup chopped, cold regular salted butter
1 cup regular sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp almond or vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups rice flour
¾ cup tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
Icing sugar for your bench (instead of flour)
Royal Icing ingredients
1 egg white
1 squeeze of lemon juice
2 cups icing sugar
Drops of desired food colouring or gel
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Combine butter and sugar with an electric mixture on medium for 2 minutes, or until just combined. Add egg and almond/vanilla extract, and continue mixing for another minute.
Combine rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix; mixing on medium until a dough ball starts to form.
Halve the dough into 2 balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place baking paper on your bench space then sprinkle it with icing sugar. Roll half the dough out to around 5- 6 mm thickness and cut using cold metal cookie cutters. Repeat with the other half and a fresh icing sugar sprinkle on your paper.
Pop dough shapes onto a tray covered with baking paper, and bake for around 10 minutes or until edges slightly brown. If your kitchen is warm or you are a slow worker, you may need to refrigerate the cut out dough for 10 minutes again before baking.
Cool completely before decorating with royal icing and whatever fun selection of decorations you desire.
Icing to decorate
Whisk egg white and lemon juice together in a bowl.
Gradually add icing sugar and food colouring; whisking until smooth.
Use the figure 8 test to ensure the right thickness (draw an 8 in icing across the top of the icing mix - it should hold up for 5 seconds before it spreads.) Add a small squeeze of extra lemon juice or icing sugar if your consistency needs to be altered, then spoon into a piping bag. Apply slowly and carefully to your cooled biscuits.
Now just a few tips to make sure your biscuits are perfect.
- We use Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour because it doesn’t have a strong flavour.
- Xanthan gum is a gluten replacement. It is necessary to make the shape hold. For this recipe we recommend flours that don’t already have xanthan included.
- Gluten free flours are all different - If your dough is crumbly when it comes time to roll, add a tablespoon of water and remix. If it’s sticky, try an extra tablespoon of flour.
- Larger cookies may need to bake longer than smaller ones, and if your cookie cutter has small detailed areas, these may brown faster than the rest of the biscuit. Keep a watch on the cookies over the last few minutes. You don’t want to burn the smaller areas.
- Lemon juice doesn’t give the biscuits a lemon flavour. It does however help stop the spreading.
- Baking paper on your bench means you can easily peel off shapes without stretching them.
- If freezing the dough for later, freeze in half portions.
- Ensure the icing or chocolate is almost set before adding extra decorations.
- Use tweezers and toothpicks when placing smaller fiddly decorations.
- Use melted chocolate to decorate as an alternative to royal icing at Easter
- Melted marshmallow is another Christmas alternative that doesn’t quite give the professional look, but is great sticky fun for kids.
- Decoration ideas include: hundreds and thousands, sugar crystals, food colouring as paint, marshmallows, candy coated chocolate buttons and coloured icing combinations. It just depends on what your shape is.