Gluten Free Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe
Cookies have long been a part of my family’s holiday traditions. I have always made cookies to give to people and to have on hand for guests who stop by. But most importantly, I have always made sugar cookies for our family to decorate. Decorating them is as much fun as the eating. Everyone gets to display their artistic talents. We give a few to Santa (no matter how good we have been throughout the year, it never hurts to hedge our bets) and on Christmas Day we proudly display our works of art on the dessert table and then proceed to gobble them up!
Sugar cookies have been such a part of the warp and weave of Christmas for us that I will admit, for a few years after going gluten free, I still made them with wheat flour. GASP! I know. Bad. Really bad. Coal in my stocking bad!
Now I only make gluten free sugar cookies and I give them to everybody, gluten free or not. I don’t even tell people they are gluten free.
I make extra dough and freeze it to have the convenience of those gluten filled, pre-packaged sugar cookie doughs you can buy in the grocery store. Just thaw in the fridge for a few hours prior to using.
The trick to really good gluten free sugar cookies is to have a good flour blend; there is not much in the way to cover up any cardboard taste or gritty texture. You can use a good all-purpose gluten free flour or make your own. Use superfine rice or Asian rice flours for the best texture.
To make your own flour blend, follow this recipe:
4 ½ cups white rice flour
1½ cups sweet (or glutinous) rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
4 teaspoons xanthan or guar gum (for corn free)
Whisk well – makes about 9 cups of flour. Store in an airtight container.
I like to make an icing that dries hard and shiny and where the colors stay bright. It is a simple icing made with powdered sugar and if you are avoiding corn as well as gluten, here’s some good news! Wholesome Sweeteners makes organic powdered sugar that is corn free!
To make these dairy free, use a good dairy free butter substitute in stick form (such as Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.)
This Gluten Free Lemon Sugar Cookies recipe is perfect for cutout cookies. The subtle lemon flavor cuts the sweetness slightly, making them desirable to adults and children alike.
Don’t be intimidated by the directions; it looks complicated but it’s not. There is a little bit of effort involved in making gluten free sugar cookies from scratch but it is a fun effort with big rewards!
Gluten Free Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 lemon zested - finely grated (should be about 1 tablespoon, loosely packed)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour blend plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 teaspoons light corn syrup or light agave for corn free
- Food coloring
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to low and add the egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour blend, baking powder and salt.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the sweet rice flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Shape the dough into 2 flattened disks, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Dough can be frozen at this point for future use.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Lay a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a work surface. Sprinkle with some flour blend, place one dough disk on top, sprinkle that with some flour blend and top with another piece of waxed or parchment paper. Roll dough to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Just before you get the dough rolled to the desired thickness, remove the top layer of waxed paper, spread a little more flour blend over the top of the dough and then flip the dough (waxed paper and all) over, remove the top layer of waxed paper, sprinkle with more flour and do your final roll or two. This will make it easier to remove the cookies once cut. Cut out cookies into desired shapes and place on prepared pans, spacing about 1 inch apart. Brush off any excess flour. To keep the edges of the cookies sharp, refrigerate for 15 minutes before putting in the oven. If you do not plan to ice the cookies, sprinkle them with sugar before baking. Repeat with remaining dough disk. Left over dough can be re-rolled once; gather up scraps, form into a disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes at least before rolling.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown.
- Let cool on pan for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack with a spatula to cool completely before icing.
- In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar with lemon juice. Beat in the corn syrup or agave, starting with 6 teaspoons and adding more if it is too thick. Use it thick for outlining and adding detail to the cookies.
- Separate icing into small bowls and color with food coloring to desired shades. Spread or pipe on cookies and allow icing to set.
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Have you tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the Ratings & Reviews section below.
It wouldn’t let me comment on your ipad mini giveaway for some reason. I follow on facebook and shared: https://twitter.com/declove10/status/276932443196493824
Thank you so much for the amazing giveaway!
Also, these cookies look absolutely delicious!!
Very stange, don’ know why. Good luck!
I’m a gluten for gluten free lemon cookies. Sounds like a wonderful December delight.
Thanks Jane! Happy Holidays
These are so awesome! Well done on the magazine, IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY AND MORE!
Thank you Tyler. So happy you enjoy the magazine. We have such great writers!
Lovely, inviting recipe. Trying this morning. Could you share where you find your gf and hopefully soy free decorations. I would be delighted to hear tips on how you decorate so lovely. Thank you again,
Thank you Kathy. I used Betty Crocker gels, sugars and decorations. They are gluten free but I am not sure about soy free. You may be able to tell from their website or just give them a call! This is laso a nice place to get baking decorations and you can sort by preference such as gluten free – http://www.illinoisnut.com/
Good luck and Happy Holidays!
These were a big hit at my holiday party. They are also so beautiful I wanted to hang them around the house to liven up the festive mood. Thanks for these. Keep up the great recipes.
SO GLAD YOU LIKED THEM AND i HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT OF DECORATING A TREE WITH ALL SUGAR COOKIES – JUST AFRAID THEY WOULD GET EATEN AND THE TREE WOULD BE BARE :)
Carol, between my daughter and I, we can’t have cornstarch, tapioca starch or potato starch. I’ve been told to experiment with arrowroot powder, but when I looked at your flour recipe — and it called for what would become 3 CUPS of arrowroot powder I got nervous and decided I’d send you a message first and see if you had any input. Do you think it would work? I would really like to make these for Christmas this year. We miss traditional Christmas cookies and these look very doable except for the starch substitute and the need to use flaxseed meal+hot water to sub in for the egg, but that isn’t a huge worry. Looking forward to your input.
Hi Linda. I have never tried making my flour recipe with just arrowroot powder but I think it would work. I like to use the combo of potato and tapioca but the most important thing is that the flour has a high starch content which results in a flour most like all-purpose wheat flour. All I can really say is give it a try. Here is an article on the properties of starches – I think this will help you be less nervous – http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenStarch.html
Good luck and please report back! Happy Holidays.
Would an egg substitute like egg replacer work in this recipe? We can’t do flax or eggs because of allergies. Thank you!
Hi Celena. I have never tried but see no reason why it would not work. I would love it if you do make them if you could report back for my egg free readers. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Hello Carol, I believe apple sauce can be used in place of an egg?
Would Brown rice flour & or almond flour be replace for white rice flour?
I have hypothyroid an looking for replacements to soy and white flour.
Thank you, Rose in NH.
Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this recipe with these substitutions, so I’m not sure if they would work. If you give it a try, I’d suggest cutting the recipe down so that you don’t waste too many ingredients if it doesn’t work out. I also wouldn’t suggest just one of those flours as a cup-for-cup replacement for the all-purpose GF flour. The all-purpose GF flour has some sort of gum in it (guar gum, xanthan gum, etc.) which helps give proper texture to the baked goods. If you just swap that flour with brown rice flour or almond flour, it likely won’t yield the same results.
THESE ARE SO BEAUTIFUL, ACCURATE, PERFECT AND IN SUPER COLOUR SCHEME. MIND BLOWING.
Thank you! so much
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I have a pound cake receipt that calls for cake flour. Can I replace it with gluten free flour?
Yes you can – ccake flour is wheat flour with a lower gluten (protein) content. Obviously gluten free flour has no gluten.
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We found the dough to be very sticky and it even stuck to the parchment paper to the point we could not get it off the parchment paper. Is this due to the type of flour? We used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour blend. Would love to have a go to recipe, but still searching in the gluten free realm of recipes.
It could be the brand of flour you are using – Bob’s Red Mill is a bean based flour not a rice based flour. I would first recommend you try making your own flour with the recipe I give in the post and use either Asian (Erawan Brand) rice flour, sweet rice flour, and tapioca starch (you an use any potato starch you have or like) and see if that helps. Rice and beans will absorb liquid differently so I am thinking that could be the problem.
I was wondering if coconut sugar could replace the refined sugar in the recipe.
Yes, I assume they will be fine. It won’t be exactly the same, they will be darker and they wont be as refined and delicate.
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Hi, Carol and Julia
Haven’t been in touch in a long tie but I am still here in Canada and following the posts and recipes faithfully. Sure miss your flour though, Carol. Someday it will be in Canada!
Merry Christmas to you and your families and see you in 2017!
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Thank you and Happy Holidays to you too!
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