The quintessential Christmas cookie is the Sugar Cutout Cookie. Cutouts with perfectly piped icing command the cover of so many of the December issue magazines. Cutouts present a dilemma for the gluten-free baker. Creating a dough that tastes good and holds its shape is challenging. Here's my version of the Christmas classic.
I had every intention of piping these cookies with royal icing mixed to a runout consistency a la the magazine cover cookies, but my helper wanted to just spread out the icing and go nuts with sprinkles and sanding sugar. I gave in because good help is so hard to find. ;D
Let's back up a bit and start with the cookie dough. I started by creaming 1 cup vegetable shortening and 1 cup coconut oil with 2 cups sugar until the mixture was light and fluffy.
I added 2 eggs, 2 tsps vanilla extract, 1 tsp lemon extract, and 1 tsp almond extract.
In a separate bowl, I whisked together 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour, 1 1/2 cups potato starch, 3/4 cups brown rice flour, 3/4 cups white rice flour, 1 tbsp xanthan gum, and 1 tsp salt. I mixed the dry ingredients into the wet and split the dough into 3, patted each section into a rectangle and wrapped the dough in plastic wrap.
After letting the dough chill for an hour, preheat the oven to 350. I rolled out the dough and cutout shapes with cookie cutters dipped in tapioca flour. I like to roll out dough directly on my soapstone counters. The counters stay cold(particularly in the winter) and dough doesn't stick at all. If your dough is sticking sprinkle some tapioca flour on your surface. This is the counter that I tend to stand at for prep and the one that I roll dough out on. I picked the prettiest slab(in my opinion) for this section of counter.
I forgot to take a pic of this tray of cookies before I popped it into the oven, so I grabbed a pic of it inside. You'll notice that I have a basic low-end range, no rolling racks or blue interior. And I still put out all of these cookies. No excuses, ladies. (unless you're currently reno-ing and down to just a microwave and toaster, then you get a pass)
Notice the slices in the stars and trees? That's how I make my stand up cookie stars and trees. You just need to cut a slot on the bottom of one and a coordinating slot on the top of another. I leave the slots in place, otherwise when the cookie expands during baking the slot will close up. When the cookies start to lightly brown - about 12 minutes, pull them out of the oven and immediately cut the slots out of any standup cookies. You need to move quickly, because you risk breaking the cookie if you let it cool too far.
When your cookies have cooled, they're ready for icing. Beat 2 egg whites with 3 cups confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice with the wire whisk attachment on your stand mixer for a piping consistency Royal Icing.
I divided the icing into a few cups and added gel paste food color to each cup. I also used edible gold dusting powder for some of the cookies that I piped before Snuggle Bunny decided that we should just go with sprinkles.
If you choose to pipe your cookies traditionally, a few drops of water added to your piping consistency icing will produce a runout consistency icing to fill in your outlines for that perfectly smooth magazine ready finish.