My old sugar cookie recipe works well, but there’s one problem with it. It uses potato flour, which can be difficult to find. Potato flour is very different from potato starch. Potato flour is yellowish in color (the starch is white), it is grainy, and it is heavy.
So this year I was determined to adapt that recipe to use more traditional flours. I think the potato flour results in a dough that is a little easier to work with, but these cookies are lighter and better for eating.
Working with any cookie dough, gluten free or not, can be a bit tricky when it comes to rolling, cutting, and transferring to the baking sheet. The key is to keep the dough cold. Any time it starts to get too sticky, chill it.
I also found that using a silicone baking mat on the bottom and plastic wrap on top worked better than parchment or wax paper when rolling the dough.
I know that some of you are thinking exactly what I was thinking when I decorated those cookies—that’s a lot of artificial food coloring! I haven’t bought colored icing in a long time, but I did it for a special event for one of my kids. For me, Christmas is a time for breaking the food rules a little.
Of course, these cookies could be left plain or sprinkled with a little sugar, or decorated however you choose! Just remember to read the labels on any decorative icing or sprinkles to be sure they are gluten free.
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (or substitute, try shortening and coconut oil)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups rice flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light in color.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, and xanthan gum. Gradually add to the mixing bowl with the mixer on low.
- Increase the mixer speed and beat until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and flatten it out some. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Working with half of the dough at a time, place the chilled dough on a silicone mat. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and roll to 1/4 inch thick.
- Remove the plastic wrap and use cookie cutters to cut shapes from the dough. Carefully transfer with a spatula to a lined baking sheet.
- Gather the scraps and reroll. If dough has warmed too much and become too soft and sticky to handle, return to the refrigerator to cool.
- Bake one cookie sheet at a time for about 10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.