If you’re at home with some extra time on your hands here’s a baking project for you. Good old fashioned sugar cookies! If you have kids this can be a fun project, if you don’t have kids cookie baking can also be very therapeutic and I’m sure you’ve got neighbours who would appreciate a few cookies.
When I’m going to decorate cookies with icing it’s a two-day project. One day to make the cookies and another day to ice them. The cookies freeze well so you can make them days in advance of decorating. So if you need a project to focus on cookie baking always rewards you in the end.
Making rolled cookies takes a little more skill and patience than a simple drop cookie, but the process isn’t hard. Cookies have a high fat content so that means if the dough gets too warm it becomes difficult to work with. With a little practice you’ll learn to recognize when the dough is too warm. Just put it back in the fridge for a few minutes while you work with another piece of dough and it will be ready to work on again.
The Joy of Baking
Baking cookies is an activity to be enjoyed. Kids often enjoy the process of creating something from a few ingredients so get them involved. Rolling out the dough, cutting cookies and moving trays in and out of the oven is all part of the process. Set the vibe in your kitchen and enjoy.
Decorating cookies is another creative outlet and some kids will enjoy this part more than the work of baking. Show them a few techniques and let them unleash their creativity. I love watching kids decorate cookies and listening to their thought process.
This is my second recipe for sugar cookies because gluten free bakers need lots of options. The first recipe is Sugar Cookies made with white rice flour and no almond flour, perfect for nut free bakers. These taste similar but this recipe uses brown rice flour and almond flour. The finished cookies are slightly more delicate but both are perfect for decorating and eating. Make whichever recipe appeals to you or try them both.
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Royal Icing is the best icing for decorating old fashioned sugar cookies. It dries and remains firm, yet isn’t so hard you can’t bite into it. The process of decorating cookies can be as simple or complicated as you wish. Make as many colours of icing as you want. You can find the recipe in this post, Royal Icing.
Get The Tools
You need a few tools to bake and decorate sugar cookies. Here’s what you might consider:
- Two cookie sheets, pans without an edge
- Two jellyroll pans, also known as baking sheets, with ¼-inch sides all around (used more for cooking but helpful for a cookie baking spree when you need more pans)
- Every kitchen needs a rolling pin whether it’s a classic wooden rolling pin, a heavy marble one designed to stay cool for working with dough or a modern silicone style rolling pin.
- Flexible baking mats or inexpensive light weight cutting boards are perfect for flipping cookie dough during the rolling process.
- Disposable piping bags in 50 pack box or a smaller 12 bag package. Or a reusable option which is still inexpensive, complete set of silicone icing bags in 3 sizes with all tips and ties. For under $20 I think this is a good investment even if you only do this once a year.
- Set of decorating supplies or just a few #2 and #3 decorating nibs with a coupler to hold the nib in the bag.
- Gel food colouring , 3 colours is a great start.
This is an extraordinary time in history as we all deal with the global pandemic. Let me know in the comments below if you got inspired to bake some cookies or have fond memories of baking old fashioned sugar cookies with your mother or grandmother.
More Recipes and Help For Gluten Free Cookies
Click on the text in any photo below to go to that recipe/blog post.
Tips For Making Gluten Free Cookies – My podcast interview about the blog post on A Canadian Celiac Podcast.
|1 cup brown rice flour|
|⅓ cup potato starch|
|¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp ground almonds|
|2½ Tbsp tapioca starch|
|½ tsp xanthan gum|
|½ tsp baking soda|
|½ tsp cream or tartar*|
|¼ tsp salt|
|½ cup butter, room temperature|
|¾ cup sugar|
|1 tsp vanilla|
|DUSING FLOUR - sweet rice flour|
|DECORATING – royal icing or melted chocolate|
- In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add egg and vanilla, beat 1-2 minutes until well combined.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry mixture just until combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Divide the dough, flatten into a disk and wrap each piece in wax paper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets.
- Gently roll dough to ¼-inch thickness, sprinkling with sweet rice flour as needed during any step of the process.
- TIP – If the dough is sticky and you are having trouble use waxed paper on both sides. Gently peel off the paper to cut out shapes.
- Cut into desired shapes dipping cookie cutters into flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer cookies to baking sheets placing 2 inches apart, refrigerate 10-15 minutes before baking.
- Gather remaining pieces of dough into a ball and repeat. Refrigerate dough as needed.
- Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until just turning golden on the edges.
- TIP - This will vary from oven to oven so bake the first batch with only a few cookies to figure it out. Turn the baking sheet half way through baking if needed.
- Cool cookies on the baking sheet 2-5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Cool completely before decorating. If you are not decorating the cookies they can be sprinkled with sugar or candy sprinkles before baking to create a crunchy topping.
- Double wrap and freeze cookies if not using within 5 days.
- *This recipe will work without cream of tarter.