Sugar cookies, hold the wheat

Culture Food | Drink

I was having one of those days when my brain was not having it with anything school-related, so I had to take a few hours off to do something else. Like bake cookies. And for an extra challenge, I figured I’d go gluten-free.

I’ve had a hankering for sugar cookies, mostly after my roommate’s parents brought over Hanukkah decorations and dreidel cookie cutters. I usually keep my gluten-free baking flourless, because the steep price of alternative flours has always deterred me. I’ve blended cooked quinoa into a chocolate cake mix before and it added an interesting crunch, but made a pretty coarse batter. Rice flour comes up in a lot of baked goods, but even though it’s one of the most affordable, I find it dry and crumbly. Flour blends are also common, but a hassle to make, because the ingredients are usually expensive or tough to find.

A friend of mine recommended coconut flour, which I’d never seen before. I lingered in the gluten-free aisle at Lifestyle Markets, and although I was iffy about spending six to 10 dollars on a 500 gram pack, my friend assured me that a little goes a long way. Some of the labels even suggested substituting coconut flour in any recipe using white flour, by halving the amount. When I opened the package, I got a burst of coconutty aroma, which ended up adding a subtle flavour to the cookies too.

The recipe I found online seemed simple, with its organic, whole-food ingredient list, but as with all cookies requiring cookie cutters, it was a lot more work than anticipated. The dough was really moist and kept ripping, so I greased the parchment paper to stop it from sticking so much and carefully peeled the paper off the cookie to transfer it to the baking sheet. If you’re not rolling all the dough at once, keep it in the fridge or freezer until you get to it, to keep it firm and not as sticky. And to avoid them breaking easily, roll the dough a bit thicker than you would for a normal sugar cookie (this also makes it easier to move them onto a tray). This will make fewer cookies, but I cut the ingredient list in half and got about a dozen anyway.

The sky is the limit when it comes to cut-out cookies, so get creative with shapes! And if you feel the need to colour co-ordinate your sprinkles, as I did, be aware of how long it takes to sort the blue elephants from the pink elephants in the zoo sprinkle pack.

Coconut-flour Cut-out Cookies 

Inspired by a recipe from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

(Suggests 36 cookies, but I would say 24–30, depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup room temperature butter
  • ¾ cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup cane sugar (may be subbed with more honey)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

In a large bowl, beat coconut oil, butter, honey, eggs, vanilla, and cane sugar.

In another bowl, stir together coconut flour, salt, and baking powder. Add this to the wet ingredients, and blend until dough is stiff.

Roll dough in a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (I left mine in overnight).

Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Cut with cookie cutters and place on baking sheet. If adding sprinkles, lightly press them into the dough before baking. Then bake for eight minutes.