Saturday, March 17, 2012

gluten-free Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

Just because something tastes delicious doesn't mean that it has to be bad for you.
Take this cookie, for example...

It's gluten-free and dairy-free.
And guess what?
It tastes amazing!

Remember these cookies from yesterday?
Well let's just say that curiosity got the best of me and I just HAD to make up a gluten-free version of them.
Yep, I got a weakness for all things healthy.
I'm pretty pathetic, I know.

Come over here you tasty little cookie you...

Lofthouse-style Sugar Cookies (Gluten-free and Dairy-free)
makes 2-3 dozen cookies
For the cookies:
  • 3 1/2 cups sweet white rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but acts as a great binder)
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (this extract makes all the difference)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk (you may not need this at all)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)
  1. To make the cookie dough: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil until creamy. Cream the coconut oil and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and until just combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Flatten dough into a rectangle about 1½ inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least two hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  5. Lightly flour the countertop with and the top of the dough with rice flour. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters (or a mason jar lid), cut out the cookies and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes, until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Cool cookies completely before frosting them.
  6. To make the frosting: in a large bowl, beat the coconut oil until creamy (with an electric mixer or a stand mixer). Cream together the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Once smooth and creamy, add in almond milk (if don't want your frosting to be runny). Beat at medium-high speed for a minute or two until light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat until combined.
  7. Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles.

Devin's parents just got back from a cruise.
And while they were there, his mom bought me some real Mexican vanilla.
It is amazing.
Try it.
Your life will never be the same again.

Your coconut oil will most likely be chunky, so be sure to get it nice and creamy before adding anything else to it, mmmmkaaay?  :)

The first time around that I made this frosting, it looked too thick, so I added in some almond milk.
Unfortunately, I added too much almond milk...

Seeing that my frosting was runny, I decided to add in a dash of xanthan gum.
PLEASE don't do that.
DON'T add xanthum gum to your frosting.
Just trust me on this one, it's bad news bears.

Xanthan gum = glue.
Great for cookies, BAD for frosting.

Take two: no xanthan gum. MUCH better.

Yellow food coloring.
Add some pizazz.

I must share with you this quick little story.
I made these gluten-free sugar cookies and regular sugar cookies on the same weekend.
After tasting both of them, I thought to myself: Wow! Is it just me, or do the gluten-free / dairy-free cookies taste better than the regular ones?
In order to find an answer, I decided to perform an experiment.
I dropped off both types of cookies at Devin's house (for his little sister's--Panda's--birthday) and then brought both types home with me to Wyoming. I never told anyone which one was which. 
The first person to try the cookies was Devin.
Devin: "I like the yellow-frosted cookies better."
Me: "Okay."
Devin: "Those are the normal white flour ones, right?"
Me: "What do you think?"
Devin: "Well they taste better, so they must be the gluten-full ones."
Me: "Nope. The yellow ones are gluten-free and dairy-free. The pink cookies are the regular type."
Devin: "WHAT?! No way!! I think that is the first gluten-free dessert I have liked better than the regular type of dessert."
The reactions I got from my family concurred this truth.
They loved the gluten-free ones a lot more than the normal sugar cookies.
A few days later, we talked to Devin's family.
Me: "So what did you think of the cookies?"
Them: "They were so good."
Me: Looking on the counter, "Why are there still pink-frosted cookies and the yellow-frosted ones are all gone?"
Them: "We loved the yellow-frosted ones. What made them different from the pink cookies?"
Me: "The yellow cookies were gluten and dairy free."
Them: "Really? Wow. We would have never guessed that."

So...what is the conclusion of this experiment?
The gluten-free and dairy-free sugar cookies definitely WON!
By a long-shot.
But are you surprised?
I hope so.


  1. I just wanted to clarify that "gluten free" is not really healthier! You actually need whole grains in your body - especially wheat. As someone with an actual allergy I just wanted to clarify because it's moderately offensive to read. This misconception is the reason people with allergies to gluten are often portrayed as "health freaks" or disregarded as not having real needs. Just clarifying.

    1. Thanks for your comment, I will take it into consideration. I know that we need whole grains, and my family grew up on whole wheat, but unfortunately I formed an allergy to it. Yes, I am an "actual" with an "actual allergy" to wheat. Please try to understand that all people and their allergies are not created equally.

  2. My daughter has been asking me to find a GF version of Lofthouse cookies forever and I'm going to try to find time for this recipe in the Thanksgiving cooking today. Thanks so much! I'll report back on how ours turns out.

    I'd also like to point out that being wheat-free is a much healthier lifestyle for more and more people, so I totally agree with your statement. We went GF a year and a half ago to see if it would help with my youngest son's health and behavior issues. He grew two sizes in four months, his hair and skin got healthy and soft for the first time ever, his behavior issues resolved, the dark circles disappeared from under his eyes and he was a different boy. What was even more surprising is that my 15 y/o discovered that off gluten she no longer had her daily migraines and her skin cleared up. I lost all of the persistent middle age weight that I had been unable to shed and I feel so much younger and more energetic after battling fatigue issues for years. We are fairly sure my son is truly Celiac (he now has horrible pain if he has even a tiny bit of gluten accidentally) but my daughter and I feel that whether we have a diagnosed allergy or not, wheat is definitely NOT healthy for us. In the beginning, she and I would occasionally "cheat" and we'd feel sick for 1-2 weeks afterwards, so we got to a point where we are as vigilant with our own diets as we are with my little boy's.

    We can all do without judgment on what we say and how we live, and just do the best we can to keep our families healthy. :) Thanks again for the recipe!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alicia from Magic and Mayhem.

      I am so glad that you found this gluten-free version of Lofthouse cookies for your daughter. I hope they turn out as good for you as they did for me.

      I agree that wheat-free is a healthier lifestyle--I have found that to be the case for myself as well. Going off wheat cleared up my skin, made my headaches disappear, and allowed me to feel "free" and energetic. I am so glad that it has been working for your family. It is hard at first, but is so worth it!


  3. Oh my WORD. These are the best gf/df cookies I've ever had. Thank you so much for this recipe, Sarah! I'm sad that they're almost all gone.

    1. Thank you so much, Lydia Jane. I am so glad to hear that someone is liking them as much as I am! :)



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