Vegan Gluten-free Sugar Cookies
Vegan and Gluten-free Sugar Cookies- made with buttery almond flour, these cookies have crisp edges and a delicious chewy center. They’re super simple to make and no one would ever guess they are made with healthier ingredients!
Last year I made it my mission to perfect vegan and gluten-free gingerbread men but this year it’s all about the sugar cookies!
To be honest, I’m not usually one to gravitate towards sugar cookies because I had a bad experience one Easter when I ate WAY too many cookies. I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what happened but the moral of that story is that I learned that most sugar cookies are loaded with refined sugar. I know. DUH, SARAH.
Some people might be able to digest that much sugar without any issues but I’m a sensitive gal and require something a little less sweet. The beauty of these sugar cookies is that they’re made with wholesome flours and are lightly sweetened so that your stomach doesn’t feel assaulted afterwards. The texture is spot on too. Crisp edges and chewy center…they’re just as good as their wheat counterpart.
Ingredients + Possible Substitutions
- Almond Flour– the star of this recipe is Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour. It is the only almond flour I use because the texture is finely ground to perfection. It also happens to be a great source of protein, fiber and iron which is ideal for sneaking some nutrition into your baked goods. When compared to wheat flour, almond flour is higher in fat so it’s very difficult to substitute without changing the recipe entirely. Because of that I don’t recommend replacing it with anything else.
- Oat Flour- just a 1/2 cup of oat flour helps give the cookies structure and offers some additional nutritional benefits. Possible substitutes would be rice flour (white or brown), or spelt flour if you don’t need them be gluten-free.
- Tapioca Flour– while I usually try to avoid starches in my recipes (mostly because I like to pack in as much nutrition as possible) when it comes to making cut-out cookies that are vegan and gluten-free, it’s basically a necessity to make sure that they hold together well. The starches in tapioca flour also help the edges get firm and crisp. I haven’t tested them this way but it’s possible arrowroot or cornstarch would work well in it’s place.
- Baking Powder and Salt– a touch of baking powder gives the cookies just enough rise and salt balances out the sugar. I like salty cookies so if you feel like 1/2 teaspoon might be too much feel free to scale back to 1/4 teaspoon.
- Melted Coconut Oil– coconut oil is my go-to for baking because I find it to be most similar to butter. It firms up as it cools to help the cookies bind and so long as you’re using unrefined coconut oil then I promise you will not taste the coconut flavor at all. It’s possible that vegan butter substitutes would work well in place of the coconut oil but it would likely depend on the brand.
- Pure Maple Syrup– maple syrup adds moisture and just enough sweetness so that they’re not overly sugary. Agave nectar would likely be a good sub but the consistency of honey might be too thick. I recommend sticking with pure maple syrup for best results.
- Powdered Sugar and Non-Dairy Milk– technically you could make a refined sugar frosting from cashews and top the cookies with sprinkles but if you want to pipe on icing like my photos then you’ll need a bit of powdered sugar whisked together with milk. I find that one tablespoon per cup of sugar creates the perfect consistency for piping onto the cookies.
Tips + Tricks
The best part about these cookies is that they are super easy to make. No fussing with a electric mixer or chilling the dough. Just one bowl and 15 minutes is all you need! That said, here are a few tips to ensure success:
- Be sure to whisk out any large lumps when sifting your flour together.
- Your maple syrup needs to be at room temperature when combined with the coconut oil otherwise it will cause it to solidify and form lumps. You can microwave it for 10 seconds if it’s cold from the refrigerator.
- After you add the wet ingredients to the dry and begin to fold everything together with a spatula, it might seem like there isn’t enough liquid. I promise there is! Just keep folding and eventually a moist dough will form.
- I’ve never had to chill the dough when I make these but the temperature in your home may vary compared to mine. If you find that the dough is too delicate to handle (and you are sure that you’re not rolling it too thin) you can wrap it up and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to help firm it up some.
- It’s also possible that the temperature of your oven may vary. The cookies are usually perfect at 10 minutes but you may want to test it by cooking one on its own to see if they might need more or less time in your oven.
- Be sure to allow the cookies to cool completely before moving from the cookie sheet. The coconut oil will help them firm up as they cool down. If you move them while they’re still warm they will fall apart. Don’t worry! Once they are cool, they will be perfect and ready for your beautiful designs. :)
If you want to prep these prior to icing, be sure to keep them in an airtight container. They can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated if it’s more than a day or two.
To store after icing, make sure the frosting is firm then place a sheet of parchment paper between each layer of cookies to ensure that they don’t stick together. Seal in an airtight container then keep at room temperature for up to 24 hours or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Vegan Gluten-free Sugar Cookies
For the Frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk, or preferred plant milk
Prepare the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F then line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- In a large bowl, add the oat flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together, making sure to break up any large lumps.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. Using a spatula, fold until it comes together as a dough. It might seem dry and crumbly at first but keep folding and eventually a moist dough will form. Shape the dough into a large ball, then break it apart so you are left with two even halves.
- Place a nonstick mat or large piece of parchment paper on the counter and place one ball of dough in the middle. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Cut the rolled-out dough into shapes using your desired cookie cutters. Carefully transfer each cookie onto the prepared baking sheet(s), placing each an inch apart. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all of the remaining dough. If you're having a hard time handling the dough you can try wrapping it and chilling in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. I've never had to do this but the temperature of your home might differ.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until their bottoms are very lightly goldened. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before moving. They will continue to firm up as they cool.
Prepare the Frosting
- Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by combining the powdered sugar in a bowl with the milk. Keep stirring until a thick frosting forms. Transfer to a piping bag with a very small circular tip. Decorate cookies and top with sprinkles, as desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
This post was created in partnership with a brand that I have used and loved for years, Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions and text are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make it possible for me to bring you quality content. For more delicious recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off any product, please visit Bob’sRedMill.com.