Every year, since I was a little girl, I’ve made Merry Christmas Cookies. You roll them out, bake them, and decorate them with frosting and hand-tinted sugar and sprinkles. Flavored with honey, they’re a unique little cookie that is the essence of the holidays for me. In high school, I’d invite friends over to help me decorate, sharing the tradition.
This year is my first Christmas baking gluten-free treats. I was worried that the honey cookies might not translate to a gluten-free format. Luckily, I found two flours that worked well with the recipe: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour and King Arthur Flour’s Cup-for-Cup gluten-free flour.
Thanks to the honey, when you bake these cookies, they typically get a little bit browner than you might be used to seeing your rolled-out holiday cookies. But this is the color you are looking for. A little darker is also OK—the frosting you’ll be adding when you decorate them keeps them moist.
This little snowman is one of my prized cookie cutters. It’s one of my mother’s original Amscan cookie cutters. Even though the plastic has a long crack in it, I carefully use it every year. I’m keeping an eye on eBay and Etsy to find a replacement for when he eventually becomes unusable. It just wouldn’t feel like the holidays without making these little snowmen for my cookie tin.
I’ve added some new cookie cutters over the year, but also have a few I inherited from my grandmother, whom I used to bake with during the holidays. There’s something about using these old, worn cookie cutters that makes the cookies that much more special.
After they’re baked, I box up the cookies in decorative tins, separated by wax paper, and bag others up for sharing with friends (I’ll share some of those bags with additional cookie recipes soon.) Giving cookies as gifts to friends and clients has become not just a tradition for me but something my friends look forward to each year too.
I hope you enjoy adding these cookies to your holiday baking tradition.
Shared in the Gluten Free Fridays round-up.
Gluten-free Merry Christmas Cookies
- In your mixer or a large bowl, cream vegetable shortening, sugar, egg, honey, and vanilla extract until mixture is light and fluffy.
- Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt; mix until well blended.
- Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour; I usually make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper cut to fight your pan or lightly grease your cookie sheets.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 1/4-inch thick round, working in as much extra flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking. Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. If dough is sticking to the board, use a metal spatula to lift from the board onto your cookie sheet. Place cookies 1-inch apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake 6-8 minutes or until browning. Smaller cookies or cookies with sharp edges will brown faster than others.
- Let cookies cool completely before decorating. Ice with your favorite royal icing and add sprinkles or colored sugar.
- Share with those you love.