Gluten Free Halloween Sugar Cookies
FOR THE COOKIES
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (44 g) confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra large egg at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Orange gel food coloring (Americolor brand is gluten free)
FOR THE ROYAL ICING
2 fl. oz. (1/4 cup) water
1 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder (Americolor brand is gluten free – I found it on amazon)
3 cups (345 g) confectioners’ sugar
Black gel food coloring (or equal amounts red, yellow and blue gel food colorings)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, egg and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add the food coloring, and knead it into the dough. If you have disposable food-grade plastic gloves, it’s a great idea to wear them! The dough will be thick and relatively stiff.
Roll the dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper into a round a bit less than 1/3-inch thick. Using a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place them about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. They will only spread a little during baking.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just set in the center, about 8 minutes. The color of the cookies will lighten, but the baking time is not long enough for the cookies to visibly brown much at at all. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet until set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the royal icing while the cookies are cooling. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the water and meringue powder and mix until foamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and mix on low speed until the sugar is absorbed. Turn the speed up to medium and beat until thickened and creamy, about 7 minutes. To test the consistency of the royal icing, scoop some with a spoon and allow it to fall off the spoon slowly onto a clean portion on the side of the mixing bowl. It should stay where you drizzled it without running very much. To thicken, continue to mix on medium speed until it reaches the proper consistency. To color the royal icing, add black gel color to 1/4 cup of icing in a small bowl, and mix separately until the color is uniform. Pour the icings into separate pastry bags, fitting a #2 tip on the black icing and the #4 tip on the white icing.
Once the cookies are cool, pipe white eyes on the cookies. Allow to harden for a few minutes before piping black pupils on top. The royal icing will completely harden in 8 to 12 hours.