Monday, November 23, 2015

Gluten Free Cut Out Christmas Cookies

I'm always a sucker for professional-looking decorated Christmas cookies... especially the super CUTE ones.

I can't help to admire those nicely crafted cookies with my jaw dropping face and an envious mind as my spontaneous responses are always...

These cookies are amazing!!!
How does she bake these?
Why can't I bake these?
Why am I not so creative?

Sob sob? Nay! I try not to demoralise myself!!! LOL!

Wait a minute! 
See here!

I can bake professional-looking decorated Christmas cookies too... Ha ha! I hope that I don't sound a little too arrogant because I must admit that I do have some help from the Tovolo Christmas cookies cutters :)

gluten free cut out Christmas sugar butter cookies
Gluten Free Cut Out Christmas Snowflakes Cookies
gluten free cut out Christmas sugar butter cookies
Gluten Free Cut Out Christmas Gingerbread House Cookies
Tovolo Christmas cookies cutters from Donaldson (Australia)
This is the set of winter wonderland cutters.
These cutters can create 6 different types of cookies with classic Christmas ornament designs.
Like the above cutters, this gingerbread house cookie cutters set can also create 6 different designs as each set contains 3 cookie presses and each press has two sides.

Since I will be getting a little help from these Tovolo cookie cutters to bake my professional-looking Christmas cookies, I thought of trying to bake something a little more challenging!

Instead of using the traditional and always fail proof cut out cookies recipes at here (Nigella's recipe) and here (Martha Stewart's recipe), I'm baking gluten-free cut out cookies today! Pretty challenging, huh? Without the presence of gluten to gel the dough, I must say that the handling and baking of the gluten free cookies can be quite difficult. Sob sob? Nay! With my trial and errors, I have learnt a lot while baking these cookies and these are my baking tips to share:

Tip 1: Use the right recipe!

When I searched Google for "gluten free cut out cookies", my first hit was this recipe from Land O Lakes (an USA butter brand). I trusted Google and went ahead to use this recipe! Although the cookies are totally delicious with melt-in-the-mouth texture, they look totally ghastly with a melt-down look! LOL! To conclude, I like to say that this recipe is only good to bake cookies with very very very simple design as the dough is very very very soft to handle and can spread a lot during baking!

Then I found this easy recipe! Easy? Totally!!! This is why I called this is the right recipe!!! Instead of using just egg yolks to bind the cookie dough, I'm using this recipe from King Arthur Flour with a whole egg to gel the dough and the dough turn out to be so easy to handle!

The gluten free flour mixture and xanthan gum that I used.
You can make your own gluten free flour mixture if you wish.
This recipe from King Arthur Flour uses a whole egg to gel up the cookie dough.
Combine the rest of the ingredients to form a dough

Tip 2: The cookie dough must be well rested and chilled.

This step is important as resting will help to the absorption of ingredients to form a more pliable dough for handling and chilling will make the dough firm enough for easy rolling and handling.

After resting and chilling, the gluten free cookie dough is firm enough for rolling and cutting.

Tip 3: Always make sure that you always enough (gluten free) cornflour and extra gluten free flour to dust the cookies cutters, rolling surface and rolling pin. Nevertheless, this cookie dough is so easy to handle that you won't really need a lot of flour to dust but at least some :)

This is the cornflour that I used to dust my cookie cutters and rolling pin.

Tip 4: Freeze the cut dough for 10 minutes before baking as this step will help to minimise the dough from spreading during baking.

The cookies look ok without the prior-baking 10 minutes quick freezing...
... but look even better when the cut cookies dough was frozen for 10 minutes prior baking.
Can you see the difference?
And this prior-baking quick freezing method work really well for shapes that are more difficult to bake too!
I can't even see a shape of a house when I used the recipe from Land O Lakes to bake the gingerbread house cookies but this recipe with the prior-baking quick freezing method work perfectly to bake these cookies!
When the cookies are completely cooled, I decorated them with royal icing, coloured sanding sugar, colouring glittering flakes and silver cachous.
gluten free cut out Christmas sugar butter cookies
The lines that are printed on the cookies are easy to see and so I can trace the designs well using different colours of royal icing.  
gluten free cut out Christmas sugar butter cookies
It is so easy to decorate the gingerbread house cookies too!
gluten free sugar butter cookies
If you have no time to rest, roll, cut, freeze the cookie dough before baking, you can just drop teaspoonful of dough on a lined baking tray and bake the dough into these little gluten free cookies.
gluten free sugar butter cookies
And they are mildly sweet, crunchy and crispy!

Although these cookies are not as short and melty as the ones baked with the recipe from Land O Lakes, the dough is so much easier to handle and the cookies are also delicious enough to eat. I would say this gluten free cut out cookie recipe is a real keeper!

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from King Arthur Flour

Yield: about 50 small drop cookies or 18 to 20 larger cutout cookies and I have baked 10 round 4 gingerbread houses cutout cookies plus 15 small drop cookies.

2 cup (300g) gluten free all purpose flour
(The original recipe uses 1 3/4 cup gluten free flour plus 1/2 cup almond meal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup (125g) butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

adequate cornflour or extra gluten free all purpose flour to dust

Line with baking trays with baking paper.

Combine ingredients A in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

For ingredients B:
Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. While beating, egg and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to beat until the ingredients are well combined.

Sift ingredient A mixture into butter mixture and use a spatula to stir until the dough comes together.

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C if you are baking the drop cookies or 1 hr later if you are baking the cutout cookies.

To make drop cookies: Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking trays, leaving about 1 1/2" (3-4 cm) between them. Bake the cookies for about 13 min; they won't go brown, but will feel set. (Update on 26 Nov: Do not over bake the drop cookies! Due to its thickness of the drop cookies, my son told me that the slightly over-baked batch of cookies can be a little too hard to chew!) Remove them from the oven. Cool the cookies slightly on the tray for about 10-15 mins and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make cutout cookies: Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, flatten it into a disk, and wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hr or until firm.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and dust your work surface, rolling pin and cookie cutters with just enough (not too much!) cornflour or gluten-free flour.

Roll the dough about 1/4" (0.5 cm) thick and cut the shapes of your choice with a cookie cutter. Place cutouts on a prepared baking tray sheet and freeze for 10 mins - This step is important as it minimize the dough from spreading! Re-chill any dough scraps before rolling.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 13 mins (The larger cookies like the houses will need 13 mins). Remove them from the oven. Cool the cookies slightly on the tray for about 10-15 mins and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

To decorate the cookies, you need:
ready-to-use royal icing or use royal icing recipe at here
piping bags fitted with small and round piping tips (I used Wilton tip 2 or 3)
colouring gel

coloured sanding sugar
colouring glittering flakes
silver cachous
Christmas / gingerbread man sprinkles

Happy Baking
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Remember the Tovolo gingerbread boys and girls that I have baked during Christmas 2014 last year at here? I love them!!!

For Christmas 2015, Tovolo, Australia (Donaldson) has given me four Tovolo Christmas cookies (RRP A$15 each) to giveaway to four lucky winners! This giveaway is open to ALL international participants. Thanks Donaldson and good luck to all!

As mentioned at here, please be assure that this giveaway submission program do not share your details with others. So no worries at all if this is your concern!

Week one: I'm giving away this set of Tovolo Winter Wonderland round cutters.
Submission ends on 3 Dec 2015. To win, please enter your details:

Tovolo Christmas Round Cookie Cutter Giveaway
Tovolo Winter Wonderland Cookie Cutters

Week two: I'm giving away this set of Tovolo Gingerbread House cutters.
Submission ends on 10 Dec 2015. To win, please enter your details:

Tovolo Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter

Week three: I'm giving away these Tovolo Gingerbread boys and girls cutters to 2 winners.
One set per winner.
Submission ends on 17 Dec 2015. To win, please enter your details:

Tovolo Christmas Gingerbread Boy / Girl Cookie Cutter Giveaway
Tovolo Gingerbread Boys Cookie Cutters
Tovolo Gingerbread Girls Cookie Cutters


  1. Ooooo I see the word Christmas cookies, I like it too.. Hohoho, Christmas is here again.. I always use my simple recipe for butter cookie - 1,2,3 = 100g sugar, 200g butter and 300g flour.. But the moulds, ooohh, that's what that makes them so nice, cute and special, too cute to eat!

  2. These gluten free Christmas cookies look so adorable! I just want to know why uses cornflour for dusting? :)

    1. Hi Andre,

      You can use either cornflour or gluten free flour to dust the dough and surfaces while rolling the dough. Cornflour is gluten free and it is convenient to use instead of making more gluten free flour for dusting.


    2. Thanks Zoe!
      I look forward to more recipes using cornmeal / cornflour :)

  3. Awesome giveaway. FIngers crossed. Michelle V

  4. Interesting cookies, bet the kids will love them!

  5. I'll never have the patience to decorate cutout cookies... yours looks so cute and amazing!

  6. Zoe, your cookies are so gorgeous! With your great Tovolo cutters, I bet there will be lots of irresistible looking cookies in your house at Christmas!

  7. Would make it a lot easier for me so yes please awesome prize

  8. I love these, Im excited to do something chrismassy for the kids at work this year and have been toying around with different cookie ideas. Bonus on the gluten free recipe as we have a few gluten free kids to cater for:)

  9. These cookies look pretty amazing I think the kids would devour these

  10. That ha kit tool looks amazing what a very genius idea wish I could think of ideas like this I'd be rich now

  11. Lovely cut out cookies ... but I'm no good in decorating them ... wah ! It's Christmas !

  12. So cute n healthy cookies..... :)

  13. This is oh-so-cute, Zoe! Makes cookie decorating all the more fun!

  14. Wow! I thought I'm the only one who started baking X"mas goodies already , looks like you're more faster than me ! LOL These cookies look amazingly cute & yummy ! Aiyaaa... now I wanna eat some of these cookies for breakfast . Sigh ;)

  15. Awesome! I did try to make sugar cookies last year but the recipe I used was too soft for my liking, I totally need to make them again this year!

  16. Chill before rolling and baking - what brilliant tips for fabulous cookies! Love them.

  17. Love these amazing cookies and what a fantastic cookie cutters they are so cute .Great time of the year for fun filled days and kids to get involved.We love cookies nom nom

  18. I just need more cuteness in my life!!

  19. Love these Christmas cookie cutters & can't wait to try the recipe. Would be hours of fun decorating the cookies with the kids.

  20. Awesome and fun way to get the little ones involved with some Christmas cooking and decorating.

  21. Hope to get this to make cute cookies for my kids. thanks!

  22. These cookie cutters would make my biscuits look professional. Thanks for the chance to win.

  23. Loving the gluten recipes as well as the cutters, thankyou for sharing

  24. These cookies are really cute and making them seems to be fun. I hope to win

  25. My cookies never work out well, my grandma said years ago I should cool the pan in the fridge before i put my raw cookies on it and into the oven. Has anyone done this before?

    1. Hi Christy,

      Your grandma is right but if you freeze your cut dough well enough (like 10-15 mins) before baking. The short transition time when you place the chilled dough onto the baking pan and place everything into the oven won't affect their shapes a lot. Cheers!


  26. These are such lovely cookie cutters! Thanks for the giveaway!

  27. my piping skills are not so goof this way no excuses

  28. Love to get my hands to try out this cookies.

  29. Lovely cutter with great recipes...thanks for the giveaway😊

  30. This the season to bake such pretty cookies! Lovely cookie cutters and healthy recipe. Thx Zoe for sharing! 😘😘

  31. These would make awesome cookies to leave out for Santa . Thanks for the chance .