Baking these chewy gluten free sugar cookies in a low oven keeps the cookies pale and tender, without crisping the edges much at all. The result is the perfect chewy sugar cookie—holiday decorations entirely optional!
There is just something that makes me very, very excited about a stack of thin & chewy gluten free sugar cookies. Actually, make that a stack of any kind of big, chewy gluten free cookies, but right now I’m smitten with these chewy sugar cookies.
I almost feel like I could take a knife and fork to that stack of cookies and eat them like pancakes. They’re so nice and chewy! And the cute little Christmas tree designs don’t hurt, either.
I got the idea for these simple Christmas tree designs from Real Simple’s tree cookies. They used a pre-made refrigerated sugar cookie dough, one that looks more like my drop gluten free sugar cookies, just made thinner. But I kind of like the design more on thin & chewy sugar cookies.
You can make this design on any sort of cookie you like. Or leave off the tree. Or make a heart with red mini M&Ms. Be advised, though: the really deep colors (like red and brown) bleed a bit more during baking. Not a huge problem, if you ask me.
I really like to bake these chewy little numbers in a very, very low oven (300°F!) because that way they stay very pale in color. You could increase the baking temp to 325°F and bake them for a few minutes less. They’ll definitely brown a bit more. Up to you. But whatever you do, give them the proper amount of space to spread during baking. They’ll nearly double in size in the oven.
Oh, and one more thing: If someone walked into my kitchen (other than one of my dogs or my cat, that is) while I was decorating these cookies, they’d wonder if it was really worth my time, picking out all those green mini M&Ms. And, before they even had a chance to ask, I’d tell them “YES.” Yes, it is worth my time.
What was perhaps not worth my time? Trying to remember to turn the mini M&Ms over, so that my trees didn’t have little “Ms” all over. Everyone knows they’re M&Ms, and anyway it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t always make the best choices, but I do make some really good gluten free sugar cookies.
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot if you can’t have corn)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (24 g) vegetable shortening, melted and cooled (I use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening)
1 egg (60 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Miniature M&Ms, for decorating (optional) (gluten free in the United States)
Preheat your oven to 300°F (not a typo!). Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, shortening, egg and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick and smooth, but easy to shape and not greasy (unless you didn’t allow the shortening to cool after melting it!).
Divide the dough into 20 pieces, and roll each into a ball (about 1-inch in diameter). Press each ball of dough into a disk about 3/8-inch thick, and place fully 2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will spread quite a lot during baking.
Place the baking sheets in the freezer to chill until firm (about 5 minutes). Remove from the freezer, and decorate with miniature M&Ms (if using) in the shape of a Christmas tree as shown in the photos (or any other shape you like). Place the M&Ms close to one another in the design, in the desired pattern, as they will separate from one another as the cookie spreads during baking.
Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set in the center and just beginning to brown around the edges (about 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes, or until stable, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
P.S. Do you have your copy of Bakes Bread yet? If your local bookstore is sold out, ask them to carry more! They can usually get it in pretty quickly and you still have time to bake amazing gluten free bread for the holidays!!