At the end of August this year, Mr. Cozy Cottage was sort of diagnosed with Celiac disease. I say sort of because the markers for the blood test didn’t show up because I had already had him on a gluten-free diet for 6 months. Our wonderful doctor told us that if the diet was working to eliminate the symptoms then good job on me for discovering it before they did and to keep up. So we eliminated EVERY trace of gluten from his diet. And I mean every trace. He has a special butter dish, we only buy mayo in squeeze jars, I even have certain pans and utensils I use to avoid cross-contamination. I even made cupcakes for our wedding because we had already ordered the cake (it was a mix…the day before the wedding…) And he’s done well.
And then the holidays arrived. The holidays are my ultimate baking season. I plan out my recipes two months in advance and start to buy ingredients when they go on sale. On December 1st, Mr. Cozy Cottage starts singing his favorite Christmas song, “Christmas Cookies” by George Strait. The kitchen gets a complete overhaul for maximum efficiency. It’s kind of a big deal.
But this year…this year was hard. Daily meals are easy to make gluten-free; meat, potatoes, veggies. But my pie crusts? My cookies? How do you work with a flour that is perpetually dry and crumbly? I finally figured it out. I managed to baked a pumpkin pie with my famous pie crust, the chocolate chip cookies he so desperately loves, and just in the past week I’ve made two whole batches of sugar cookies. The secret is to add extra moisture to keep the dough moist.
Now, I’m gonna tell you another secret, one I don’t tell many people because they shrink away from delicious desserts before even tasting them. I put mayo in my cookies. I know. It’s weird. Really, it’s not a lot and you can’t taste it, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to gluten-free dough. I’ve tried this recipe with and without it, and you definitely want the mayo. I also don’t make my own flour mix. I am a HUGE fan of Krusteaz gluten-free flour mix. It’s cheaper than most and you really can use it cup for cup!
1 cup (2sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla exract
1 large egg
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups gluten-free flour
1 – 2 tbsp mayonnaise (I love Duke’s mayo, and it’s gluten free!)
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°F. I like to make it sit and wait on me rather than letting my dough get too warm waiting on it.
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in the vanilla extract and egg.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
Mix in the dry ingredients a little at a time. The dough should be very stiff. This is where you will notice that your dough may be stiff but gritty. So add in your mayo. Start out with just 1 tbsp of mayo, and if that doesn’t fix the problem add in the second tbsp. Once you figure out which one gives you the best outcome for you, then you can add it with the vanilla and egg.
Do not chill the dough. You can go ahead and start with the fun part! Roll out the dough onto a floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters, a glass, or whatever you want to cut out your cookies.
Bake them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (it really does work better than a greased cookie sheet with gluten-free cookies) at least 1/2″ apart (they will puff up quite a bit) for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
You can leave them plain or decorate them to your hearts content. We love a homemade glaze made from powdered sugar and milk, topped with sprinkles, but a lot of people like more of a cake frosting that you can find in the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store.
For me, you can tell how exhausted I get by the level of decorated. To start with all my trees have garland sprinkles, the snowmen have scarves and little eyes, and by the end you’re lucky if the teddy bear has more detail than glaze and sprinkle. Regardless, they’re gone in about 3 days…the whole time Mr. Cozy Cottage is singing, “Christmas Cookies.”
P.S. – I’ve heard it on good authority that Santa Claus really likes these too!