Best Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies With Pillowy Buttercream

September  7, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes 16 cookies
Author Notes

It seems like every bakery serves huge soft sugar cookies cookies with frosting. If you, like me, have passed by with longing looks, hoping the sugar cookies would magically be gluten-free, this recipe is for you. Make the dough with your favorite gluten-free flour blend; Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 is my favorite for the best gluten-free sugar cookies.

This gluten-free cookie dough is tender and light, thanks to a long chilling time. The longer you chill the dough, the more time the gluten-free flour has to hydrate, resulting in a smoother texture. If you are willing to wait a full 72 hours for the dough to chill, you will be rewarded with an exceptional cookie, sans any graininess. Plus, resting the dough will make it easier to shape into a plump sugar cookie. Bonus: the chilling time means they’re the perfect make-ahead recipe. Beyond the usual vanilla extract, I include a tiny bit of mace in the cookie dough, which brings a depth of flavor and offsets the sweetness of the buttercream. If you don’t have mace on hand, you can substitute freshly ground nutmeg.

These gluten-free sugar cookies are large enough to be sharable and tender with just the right chew when served cold. I top them with fluffy American buttercream made with softened butter and powdered sugar, which are whipped until airy. I add pink food coloring, reminiscent of frosted animal crackers, but feel free to dye it any color you like.

A tall glass of cold milk and a friend to share with are the best accompaniments. Leftovers are fine stored at room temperature for a few days, but I like to stash mine in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze the baked and frosted cookies for up to 3 months for future lunchbox treats. —Rachel Ciordas

What You'll Need
  • Cookies
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or non-dairy stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean)
  • 3 1/3 cups gluten-free flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 works well here)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
  • Pillowy Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter or nondairy stick butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk or non-dairy milk
  • 1-2 drops pink food coloring, if desired
  1. Cookies
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, cream the butter and oil together. Add the powdered sugar in batches until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and mace. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in batches and mix to incorporate, occasionally scraping down the bowl as needed. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 72 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and place 1/4 cup scoops of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Press down on each mound of dough to flatten them into hockey puck-like shapes.
  5. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes until the tops are set but still wobbly in the middle.
  6. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  1. Pillowy Buttercream
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Add the almond extract, milk, and salt and beat to achieve a light, fluffy texture, occasionally scraping down the bowl. Add the food coloring, if desired, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Once cookies are cool, scoop buttercream onto the cookies, using the back of a spoon to spread it and make swoops. Store the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container for at least 15 minutes.

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