GF/AIP Holiday Sugar Cookie with natural icing, that Can be Used for Thumbprints and Snickerdoodles

By Natalie R. Toney, M.F.A., C.H., Healthy Planet Food Editor

Cookies, cookies, cookies! It’s that time of year for office parties, school recitals, cookie swaps, and gift exchanges! Festive holiday gatherings are adorned with baked goods in every shape and size resembling neighborhoods of gingerbread, candy cane lanes, jolly Santa’s and Mrs. Claus, alongside reindeer with sleigh’s full of toys. Vibrantly iced Sugar cookies, as well as seasonal favorites Thumbprints and Snickerdoodles, always find their place at the table, and now those whose are Gluten Free, and/or following an Autoimmune Protocol can get in on the holiday fun! Whether baking a batch or two to give as gifts for someone with special dietary needs, contributing to a cookie exchange or party, or simply enjoying through the holidays at home, this easy to follow recipe with all natural icings and garnishes, will bring glad tidings and good cheer brimming full of holiday spirit!

Tips: For a more golden cookie color use a silicone baking mat instead of parchment paper to bake on, chill dough pre-rolled between pieces of parchment for 30 min.- hour before cutting into shapes, for best results try to roll close to 1/4” thick, place unbaked dough on cooled cookie sheets, Almond flour is also an especially good Gluten-Free flour for its consistency and flavor, however it’s not AIP. For a bit of added flavor a splash of almond, lemon, orange, or peppermint extract can be added.

Gluten Free/AIP Sugar Cookie 

  • 1 1/2 Cup Cassava flour (for softer, chewy Sugar cookies, or Thumbprint and Snickerdoodle, can substitute with Coconut flour.)
  • 3/4 Cup Pure Maple Sugar (or 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup)
  • 2/3 Cup Butter (unsalted) or Non-dairy butter alternative (softened, NOT melted)
  • 1 med- lg. egg or egg substitute 
  • 1/4 tsp Sea or Kosher Salt, or table salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla

(for Snickerdoodle recipe, add 1 tsp. Cream of Tarter, and 2 tsp. Cinnamon )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, beat butter or non-dairy butter alternative with hand or stand mixer until creamy. Add in maple, baking soda, and salt, mix again on med-high until well combined. (if making Snickerdoodles, add in Cream of Tarter, and Cinnamon).Mix in egg and vanilla, then fold in flour with a spatula. Mix again with hand or stand mixer on med-high, until dough begins to form a ball. Place dough on parchment paper, with another piece of parchment on top, and roll to 1/4” thick. Chill for 30min-1 hour for best results before using cookie cutter shapes.(For Thumbprints, or Snickerdoodles, omit this step, and continue on to drop dough by spoonfuls 1 1/2”-2” apart on parchment lined or silicone baking sheet, making indentations for Thumbprint’s with the back of the spoon at this time)Bake for 10-12 min., checking at about 8 min. as ovens vary. Transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Decorate when completely cooled with icing, glaze, jam, chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, powdered sugar, natural candy pieces, or any other of your favorite holiday flavors!

Yields approx. 2 dozen

Icing (will dry hardened enough to use as base for colors, but is not as hard as Royal Icing-recommend using parchment or wax paper if stacking and transporting cookies).

  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Milk or Dairy Substitute 
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla or Almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • Assorted natural food colorings (optional), jam, caramel ,chocolate, etc.
  •  with their own piping bag, or bowl.

Combine powdered sugar,2 Tbsp. milk or dairy substitute, and honey until consistency is desirable for piping, spreading or dipping (adding the additional Tbsp. or more of milk/dairy sub. in the process).Mix with natural food colorings.

Recommended (not endorsed) natural food coloring brands are: Watkins, India Tree, and McCormick. Please check the ingredients for any allergens.

Here is a quick guide to create your own colors:

  • Red: Beet Powder, Raspberries, Pomegranate Juice, Morello(dark)cherry, Strawberry 
  • Yellow: Saffron, Tumeric (will stain skin and clothes easily)
  • Blue: Red Cabbage shredded (soak for juice) + 1/4 tsp baking soda, blueberries (this will be a more violet-blue)
  • Green: Matcha, Spinach powder
  • Violet: Blueberries, purple carrot shredded,
  • Orange: Paprika, Carrot juice, Sweet potato mash pulp/juice
  • Brown: Espresso, Cocoa, Carob powder 

Black: I recommend using the darkest Espresso, and mixing a bit of blue or violet, maybe a little green. 

Coconut, white sprinkles, natural peppermint, and white chocolate pieces can be colored as well for decoration