Gluten-free Chocolate Sugar Cookies, made for cutting out shapes like Christmas trees and snowmen with mittens! more
Are the cookie-decorating type? I might be. Except that I no longer think there is a “type.” It’s more of a spectrum. In a good way. Does that mean that I’m not the “type”? That’s too hard. I simply don’t know. But I do know this: I’m not going to spend more than, say, 30 minutes decorating cookies. I think that is approximately how long these Thanksgiving turkey cookies took me, and I think that’s my upper limit. I don’t have long, flowing hair, or an endless supply of patience. Instead, I have a rich fantasy life where I regularly paint my own photography canvases and reupholster furniture. And since I figure I’m never ever going to make that fantasy a reality (reality can be so harsh), I may as well mix up some easy royal icing and squiggle some lines on some chocolate Christmas trees and give a few snowmen some mittens (they were cold).
‘Tis the season. So we’re making cookies, right? Chocolate Cutout Sugar Cookies are a must. Sugar cookies are a lot firmer than, say, Gluten-Free Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. Shortbread is really a treat, but it has waaaaaay too much butter to go cutting out mini cookies and expecting them to hold their shape. Sugar cookies are dying to be made into shapes. And since they spread so little (if at all) during baking, they’re very WYSIWYG (whatyouseeiswhatyouget) from raw to baked.
See? They start out with well-defined points and edges, and they end up that way, too. The dough comes together super easy, and if you use Dutch-processed cocoa (really really worth it here) you’ll be amazed at the depth of flavor in these little itty bitty cookies.
I made trees and snowmen, since it satisfied my urge to craft (what is that?) but didn’t outstrip my limited cookie decorating abilities. Then I got a little cocky and decided that some of the snowmen really did need those mittens after all, since they were close to the trees, and maybe the trees were outside. Too much? Oh gosh I really hope not. I might just have to learn to reupholster furniture after all…
1 cup (140 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 cup (40 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (Rodelle brand is gluten-free)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg (60 g) at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Royal Icing for decorating, if desired
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Make & shape the dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, egg and vanilla, and mix to combine. The dough should begin to come together. If necessary, knead the dough until smooth, and press it into a disk. Place the disk in between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough on top of a cutting board or baking sheet, and place in the freezer until firm (about 5 minutes). Once firm, remove the dough from the freezer and cut out shapes, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, placing the shapes 1 inch apart (they will not spread much if at all during baking). Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the dough is very firm, about another 5 minutes.
Bake the cookies. Once the dough is firm, place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 7 minutes or until the cookies are just set. You will know they are set once the centers look matte, not shiny. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, if necessary (mini cookies will cool very quickly).
Optional Step: Decorate the cookies. Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing once they are completely cool. Pipe the royal icing through a #1 pastry tip for a thin line, following the directions for piping here. Allow the decorated cookies to sit, undisturbed, until the royal icing is completely set. .
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