Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Shauna James Ahern
  • Yield: 15 to 20 pieces

These are only slightly sweet, in anticipation of the thick rich frosting waiting to sugar them up even more. If you want to eat them plain, I’d bump up the sugar even more. They have the soft bite of snow under boots, the flakiness of that snow first falling, and the ephemeral pleasure of the first storm of winter. —Shauna James Ahern


1/2cup sorghum flour
1/2cup tapioca flour
1/2cup potato starch
1/2cup sweet rice flour
1/2cup amaranth flour
1teaspoon xanthan gum
2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon salt
8tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2cup sugar
2 eggs
2teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch fresh nutmeg


Note: If you are not using a scale or measuring by weight, be sure to use only the flours specified in the above ingredients list. Subbing other flours by cup will not produce good results.

  1. Place all the flours in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk them together. Slowly, sift them through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. Add the xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir the butter (or let the beater attachment of the stand mixer do it for you). Add the sugar and cream them together until they are just combined. Add the two eggs and vanilla extract and beat for a couple of minutes more. Throw in the pinch of nutmeg and stir one last time.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients into the liquids, one cup at a time. When the entire mixture is combined and well integrated, you are done. It should be a thick batter, not entirely stick to the touch, but not as stiff as traditional rolled cookie dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Don’t let it reach complete pliability. The dough should still be rather stiff from the refrigeration. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  5. Roll out the cookie dough between two pieces of parchment paper (saves on gluten-free flour on the board). This dough doesn’t go paper thin, so you’ll have cookie with a bite to them. Cut out with your favorite shapes.
  6. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on your oven and how crisp you like them. Let them cool for 10 minutes before eating them.

—Recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking by Shauna James Ahern author of The Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.