These no-spread, gluten-free, cut out cookies are perfectly sweet and slightly soft. I’ll give you the secrets to that will make these cookies hold their shape. They are somewhere in the neighborhood of a butter cookie or sugar cookie. I can’t really figure out which they are closest to, but the recipe works perfectly for rolling and cutting out your favorite holiday shapes.
The ingredients in this recipe are pretty simple. If you are a baker or maybe even if not, you should have all of these ingredients in your pantry and fridge.
This recipe is definitely sensitive to the type of flour you use. Unfortunately not all gluten-free flour mixes are the same and can change the outcome of a recipe. This recipe was tested with 3 different flour blends:
- Gluten-free flour mix #1 was my DIY flour blend that contains 1 c brown rice flour, 1 c white rice flour, 2/3 c potato starch and 1/3 c tapioca starch. Check out my post on gluten-free flour mixes and blends to mix up your own. It is a huge cost saver over buying ready-made blends.
- Blend #2 was King Arthur Gluten-Free All purpose Flour. This is their blend without xanthan gum. It works very well in this recipe.
- Blend#3 was King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour. With this flour the dough was very dry and crumbly and needed a little adjusting. Add an additional 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp sugar. Omit the xanthan gum called for in the recipe as this blend already contains it.
Xanthan gum is the binder for these cookies. If you have done any gluten-free baking, you are likely familiar with this ingredient. If your gluten-free flour blend includes xanthan gum or other binders like guar gum or inulin, omit the half teaspoon called for in the recipe.
The recipe includes butter which gives these cookies a perfect rich flavor and texture. I have not tried it with dairy free substitutes.
Tips for No-Spread Cut Out Cookies
What is the best temperature for rolling out the dough? – This cookie dough is best when rolled out right after mixing. If very cold, the dough is too crumbly to handle and if too warm, it will be too sticky. I leave the butter and egg out for about 60 minutes before mixing. They do not need to be warm, just warmer than refrigerator temp. If the dough seems to be too sticky, flatten the dough to 1/2″, wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes only. If it’s dry and crumbly, work it with your hand for a minute. If it does not come together, beat in another 2 Tbsp butter. A lot of this will depend on the temp in your home.
The most important advice for this recipe is, that this cookie dough needs to be baked when very COLD. Put the cut out cookie dough in the freezer for 10 minutes (best) or the fridge for 90 minutes and you’ll have cut out cookies that hold their shape. The cold dough is the key that keeps the cookies from spreading. Once they are cut out and on the pan, they need to be chilled. So be sure to make room to fit the baking sheets with the cookies.
The easiest way to roll out this dough is between sheets of plastic wrap, parchment or silicone mats. Lightly dust the surface with flour, dust the dough with flour and roll to approximately 3/8″ thick.
How thick should I roll the dough to? – The sweet spot for thickness in these cookies is around 1/4″- 3/8. If they are thinner than 1/4″ the top will become uneven. Take a look at your ruler and eyeball 1/4 – 3/8″ when you are rolling out the dough. Or use this awesome rolling pin with rings on the ends to get the exact dough thickness.
How long do I bake cut-out cookies? Depending on the size of your cookies, baking time will vary from 7-12 minutes. My small 1″ stars took 7 minutes while the 2″ rounds (without the center cut out) took about 11 minutes. So do not mix cookies of different sizes on the same pan. They do not need to be baked until brown, so remove from the oven when they are set. These cookies will hold their shape well even when using cookie cutters with smaller details. These holiday cookie cutters are perfect for this recipe.
Cookie Icing and Decorations
I personally am a purist and love these gluten-free cut out cookies plain. But, there are so many possibilities for decorations. A traditional cookie icing recipe dresses up these cut out cookies for any occasion. Link here to my Easy Cookie Icing Recipe with just 3 ingredients. The icing will give a perfect glossy topping to these cookies
If you want to color your icing, I prefer Color Kitchen Foods Food Colors. They come in powdered form, are all natural and just sprinkle of powder goes a long way.
Dip or drizzle these cut out cookies with white, semisweet or dark chocolate. Add nuts, sprinkles, sanding sugar, or crushed peppermint candy for a festive look.