Gluten-Free Holiday Butter Cookies

What's the best type of cookie for holiday decorating? One that's crisp and light, yet still sturdy enough to spread with icing and load with sprinkles. Ready your cookie cutters: these roll-out cookies fit the bill perfectly.

We know you’ll love this gluten-free version of our Holiday Butter Cookies recipe, a long-time favorite here on our site. Substituting Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the flour in that original yields delightfully crisp, buttery rollout cookies that are sure to be a hit with friends and family following a gluten-free diet. Enjoy!

Prep
30 mins
Bake
12 to 14 mins
Total
2 hrs 42 mins
Yield
5 dozen 2" cookies
Gluten-Free Holiday Butter Cookies

Instructions

  1. To make the cookies: Combine the sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and flavor, beating until smooth. Add the flour, mixing until smooth. The mixture will seem dry at first, but will suddenly come together. If it doesn't, dribble in a tablespoon of water.

  2. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight. When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let it soften for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it feels soft enough to roll. It should still feel cold, but shouldn't feel rock-hard.

  3. Sprinkle a piece of parchment or waxed paper with flour. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on the floured parchment/plastic, and lightly flour the surface of the dough. Cover with another piece of parchment/plastic, and roll the dough 1/8" to 3/16" thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. Re-roll and cut the dough scraps. Place the cookies on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets. They can be close together; they'll barely spread.

  4. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until they're set and barely browned around the edges.

  5. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pan. If you've used parchment, you can lift cookies and parchment off the pan, so you can continue to use the pan as the cookies cool.

  6. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, rolling, cutting, and baking cookies. When cookies are completely cool, ice and decorate.

  7. To make the icing: Combine the sugar, milk, and corn syrup to make a soft, spreadable icing, adding more milk if necessary. Tint the icing with food color as desired.

  8. Spread icing on the cookies, using a knife, a spoon, or your finger to spread it all the way to the edges. This glaze is a little on the thick side, and it isn't perfectly smooth when you apply it, but should settle into a smooth surface within half a minute or so. Glaze one cookie and set it aside for a minute. Has the glaze settled into a smooth surface? If so, it's the right consistency. Remember, it's easier to add more liquid than to stir in more sugar, so start with a glaze that's thicker than you think it should be, then add milk little by little to adjust the consistency.

  9. Sprinkle with colored sugar or other sugar decorations, as desired. Allow the icing to harden before storing the cookies.

Tips from our Bakers

  • If you use unsalted butter, increase the amount of salt in the recipe to 1 teaspoon.
  • Fiori di Sicilia adds a wonderful combination of citrus and vanilla flavors to these cookies. If you prefer substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1 teaspoon almond extract, or a combination.  

  • To top cookies with colored sugar before baking (no icing necessary), reserve the egg white from the yolk you've used in the dough. Mix the white with 1 tablespoon water. Lightly paint the cookies with the egg white/water, sprinkle with colored sugar, and bake.
  • Looking to cut back on the sugar in your baking? See our blog post, How to reduce sugar in cookies and bars.