These soft gluten free cutout sugar cookies with a meringue-type frosting are in a class by themselves. They’ll hold any shape you like!
Whenever I go into the grocery store, those bakery cookies catch my eye, the little vixens. They’re in a plastic clamshell case, stacked in that half-overlap manner, thick (usually pink) frosting above a pillow-soft, light, and sweet cookie.
Topped with a sprinkling of something that most decidedly does not exist in nature. Be still my heart. ❤️
I might just be there for some bananas, lettuce and maybe an avocado, some spices and, say, some rice and beans. You know, exciting stuff. But those cookies are right there, right as you walk in.
I know what sort of foods are good for me and my family. I know those sugar cookies do not qualify as healthy. But there’s just something about biting into that impossibly soft sugar cookie with the thick icing that says celebrate!
Why we need a cutout cookie with clean edges
Every holiday and every season needs its own cookie: St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Spring celebrations, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day… Need I go on? We all need a cookie that can hold its shape, so we can use whatever cookie cutter we please.
These gluten free cutout sugar cookies are seriously so easy to make from scratch. The dough has very few ingredients so it comes together very quickly.
It’s super simple to roll out, and stable enough that it’s even simple to cut out shapes and transfer them to the baking sheet. There is nothing fragile about this recipe. But once you bake the cookies, they’re tender and light as could be.
The frosting is thicker than most
This frosting recipe is super thick. It’s not what I would generally use to frost cupcakes.
If you don’t have meringue powder, just skip it. The frosting will just be a bit softer.
If you ever want to celebrate just a little bit, you can always cut this cookie dough into miniature shapes, like the miniature X cookie you see in the photo above. This dough will really, truly hold any shape you like.
Can you make frosting in a different color?
You can, of course, add some food coloring to the frosting (I encourage it!), but use gel coloring or it will really alter the moisture balance and make the frosting soft and weepy. AmeriColor brand gel food colorings are reliably gluten free, and the colors are super vibrant.
I left out the coloring here because, to be honest, the anti-food-coloring people are loud and proud. And yes, haters gonna hate, but I’d rather steer clear of the extra angry emails if I can…
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: There is butter in both the cookie recipe and in the frosting recipe. I have successfully replaced the butter in the cookie dough with Melt brand vegan butter. The edges of the cookies aren’t quite as blunt and clean as they are when you make the recipe exactly as written, but the recipe still turns out and tastes great.
The butter in the frosting recipe can be replaced most effectively with Spectrum brand butter-flavored nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. It has quite a lot less moisture than butter, though, so you might not need as much confectioners’ sugar to reach the proper consistency.
For the milk in the frosting, you can use any unsweetened nondairy milk. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk, but nearly any will do here.
Egg-free: There is only one egg in the cookie recipe, so you should be able to replace it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).
In such pale cookies, you may see some flecks of chia in the cookies. Cover them with frosting and no one will even know!
Meringue powder: Meringue powder is usually made of egg white powder, sugar, a starch, and some stabilizers. You can try using egg white powder in its place, but it won’t work exactly the same way.
If you can’t have eggs, I’d just eliminate meringue powder as an ingredient altogether. The frosting will just be a bit softer.