IYKYK: Those thick, crumbly sugar cookies topped with a thick layer of pink icing (plus sprinkles) from the grocery store bakery just hit different than other treats. Alas, while these cookies are unquestionably delicious, they don't offer a ton of nutritional benefits—and more importantly, those that avoid consuming gluten and/or dairy don't get to enjoy them.
If you have been craving that nostalgic sugar cookie taste but stick to a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, you've come to the right place. In this episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, Sashah Handal, a baker, nutrition coach, and trainer, demos a gluten-free sugar cookie recipe that's also vegan. "We're gonna make a super fun, colorful, playful, bright pink frosted sugar cookie," says Handal. "It's completely plant-based, and the dough is gluten-free. So it's a total crowd pleaser, and it's perfect for anyone with any type of food intolerance."
To make the recipe vegan and dairy-free, Handal swaps the butter and milk used in traditional sugar cookie recipes for vegan butter and cashew milk. And instead of all-purpose flour, she uses oat flour in the recipe as a gluten-free alternative. "If you actually need them to be truly gluten-free, make sure you're looking at your package and that it reads Certified Gluten-Free to ensure there's no cross contamination," she notes. Oat flour is also super easy to work with, and it's high in fiber and protein.
Once the dough is mixed and chilled, it's time to roll it out and use a cookie cutter. "If you don't have a cutter at home, you can use a glass or a jar, and it will make the same kind of circular cut out for you," Handal advises. Then, it's into the oven at 350°F for around 10 minutes.
While the cookies bake, you can get started on the icing, which calls for powdered sugar and beet juice. "Beets are insanely good for you," Handal says. "They have lots of antioxidants, and they're naturally high in sugar...it's going to give you that perfect frosting that you want for your cookies." Once the cookies are out of the oven, let them cool, then top them with frosting and enjoy. If you don't want to bake all the dough at once, Handal says to bake off half of it and keep the other half in your freezer for the next time a sugar cookie craving strikes. ("The dough will keep for at least two weeks," she says.)
Press play on the video to see the full gluten-free sugar cookie recipe in action, and find the ingredients and instructions below.
Gluten-free and dairy-free sugar cookie recipe
For the cookies:
1/2 stick vegan butter
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cashew milk, or any alternative milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
For the frosting:
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 Tbsp beet juice, divided
1. Place the vegan butter and sugar into a bowl. Cream the ingredients together for about two to three minutes, until you have a light, fluffy texture. This is a super important part of making sure the cookies are airy instead of dense. Mix in the cashew milk and the vanilla extract.
2. Sift the dry ingredients (oat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt) into a separate bowl, then add to the wet ingredients. Mix it all together, starting slow so that the flour doesn't go everywhere, then speeding it up.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface until it is around 1/4-inch thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out your cookies, then place them on the baking sheet.
5. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.
6. To make the frosting, place the powdered sugar into a clean bowl. Add three teaspoons of the beet juice, and whisk together. Add more beet juice as needed to thin the consistency. Place in fridge for approximately 10 minutes to help the frosting harden.
7. Once your cookies are completely cool, top them with frosting and enjoy!
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