Gluten-free Sugar Cookies

February 8, 2012

Sugar cookies are one of those things that are so simple, yet so delicious and nearly everyone seems to enjoy them. I had bookmarked a recipe in Rebecca Rather’s book, The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe, called “Sugar Saucers” and had been wanting to try it for a few years.

One day I had the itch to bake something and remembered that recipe, dug the book off my shelf, and adapted it to be gluten-free. The cookies were surprisingly easy to make and were a unanimous hit at when I served them at a gathering that night. I’ve made them many times since and everyone loves them.

They are a bit delicate, especially if you bake them for the shorter cooking time.

They freeze very well.

baking ingredients

Ingredients assembled before baking.
mixer bowl

Mix everything to form a smooth dough.
batter

A scoop makes perfect uniformly sized cookies.
cookie scoop
dough balls

Sprinkle colored sugar on the cookies before baking.
baking sheet

gluten-free sugar cookies

Gluten-free Sugar Cookies
(adapted from The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather) 

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour blend (NOT plain rice flour) see recipe below
1/3 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter in mixer bowl with paddle attachment until smooth. Add oil and sugar and mix well. Beat in egg and vanilla.
Add flour, tapioca starch, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until dough comes together to form a ball.

If dough is very soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes. Use a small scoop to form dough into balls, or measure out approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Place dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheets; use your hand to flatten to 1/4-inch high. Sprinkle tops of cookies generously with granulated sugar or colored sugar or sprinkles (I prefer these naturally colored sugar sprinkles by India Tree). Bake for 8-12 minutes (shorter time for chewier cookies, longer time for crisper cookies). Makes 24 cookies.

Variation: Lemon Cookies – add 2 tsp. lemon zest and replace vanilla with lemon juice. Do not sprinkle cookies with sugar, instead glaze cooled baked cookies with mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, to form a thick glaze.

Gluten-free flour blend:
4 cups Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour + 1-1/3 cups potato starch (not potato flour) + 2/3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch). Mix together and store in an airtight container.

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