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.
In many of my recipes, I use a gluten-free flour blend that includes sorghum millet and brown rice flours along with potato and tapioca starch. That blend was a little too high in protein for these cookies. A basic rice flour blend works best. Check out my post on gluten-free flour blends to mix up your own. It is a huge cost saver over buying ready-made blends.
If you prefer a store-bought flour blend, I highly recommend King Arthur Flour gluten-free all purpose flour. This is their flour blend that does not include xanthan gum. They also have a “Measure for Measure” blend which includes xanthan gum and is a little bit more starchy. Either one will work in this recipe, just omit the xanthan gum if you use measure for measure.
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. A lot of this will depend on the temp in your home. If it’s winter, I turn down the heat in the house, if it’s summer, I turn up the a/c.
The most important advice for this recipe is, that these cookies need to be baked when very COLD. Put them 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 3/8″” (between 1/4″ and 1/2″) If they are thinner than 1/4″ the top will become uneven. Take a look at your ruler and eyeball 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 7-11 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.