So GoodDec/Jan 2013 Issue

5 Gluten-Free Cookies, 1 Dough

You’ll be amazed at how easily this simple gluten free dough recipe transforms into five different cookies. Now you can relegate holiday baking to a day rather than a week!

Some people love holiday preparations and happily check off their to-do list. Not me. I find that racing around to get everything done squeezes the joy right out of the season. Add a special diet or two and the pressure is even greater.

For me, one task that brings calm and saves me time during this hectic period is baking cookies. Here’s the secret: First, I serve the same cookies to everyone—they’re all gluten-free and dairy-free. Second, I use one master recipe to make five distinctly different cookies. Third, I give cookies away as gifts, a budget-friendly move that spreads goodwill while it cuts down on my holiday shopping.

Thanks to one master recipe, preparing cookies has become a meditative, almost spiritual process for me. I love the repetitiveness, the warm aromas that fill my kitchen, the trays of baked miniatures, destined as gifts. The postman will find Sleigh Bells and Molasses Ginger Drops in the mailbox. The veterinarian will receive Linzer Cookies and Coconut Mexican Wedding Cookies in a package signed with love from our dog. The neighbors will ooh and aah over plates of Toasted Coconut Shortbread during our annual cookie swap.

Decorated with sparkling sugars and glitzy icing, these gluten-free, dairy-free cookies become delicious works of art. No one will ever suspect they all originate from the same recipe.

Gluten Free christmas Cookies

Oksana Charla

Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Master Dough

Here’s the ticket to delicious cookie variations. If doubling or tripling the recipe, separate the dough into recipe size, weighing it to be certain it’s divided evenly. Dough can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. This recipe can be made with egg replacement with excellent results; see instructions.

1¾ sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, or dairy-free butter alternative
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg (or 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2½ cups Pastry Flour Blend or gluten-free all purpose flour blend of choice*
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, about 1 minute.

2. Add egg (or arrowroot mixture) and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour blend and baking powder and mix well. Add to butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, beating briefly just to incorporate after each addition.

* If not already in your flour blend, add 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum and ½ teaspoon salt to this recipe.

gluten free linzer tarts

Oksana Charla

Raspberry Linzer Tarts

Raspberry Linzer Stars


For colorful new flavor, vary the jam or jelly in these cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They freeze well.


1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
⅔ cup seedless raspberry jam

See the full recipe for gluten-free Linzer tarts here.

Gluten-Free Toasted Coconut Shortbread


gluten free coconut wedding cookies and coconut shortbread

Oksana Charla

Toasted Coconut Shortbread and Coconut Wedding Cookies

Elegant and flavorful, shortbread squares travel well. Toasted coconut is a great substitution for nuts in holiday baking. Don’t like coconut? Substitute an equal amount of ground almonds (if tolerated) or fold in 2 teaspoons orange zest in place of coconut. For decoration, drizzle Confectioners’ Glaze over chocolate in pretty designs or top with sprinkles or colored sugar.


1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut, divided
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk of choice, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

See the full recipe for gluten free Toasted Coconut Shortbread here.

gluten free Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies and Toasted Coconut Shortbread

Oksana Charla

Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies and Toasted Coconut Shortbread

Molasses Ginger Spice Drops


Crystallized ginger and spices turn ordinary drop cookies into special treats that burst with flavor. Store these gluten-free Molasses Ginger Spice Drops in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days. They freeze well.


1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
3 tablespoons dark or light molasses
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup raisins
-Granulated sugar, to roll cookies

See the full recipe for gluten free Molasses Ginger Spice Drops here.

gluten free slight bell cookies

Oksana Charla

Sleigh Bell Cookies


Glittering cookies with lemony centers sparkle inside and out, making these a gorgeous addition to your cookie tray. Lemon zest and lemon juice add bright citrus flavor. For variation, substitute lime or orange instead of lemon and coat cookies in orange or light-green sanding sugar. Unassembled cookies can be kept in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They freeze well. Once filled, keep sandwich cookies refrigerated or freeze for future use.


1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-Sanding sugar of various colors
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened, or organic shortening

See the full recipe for gluten free Sleigh Bell sandwich cookies here.

gluten free coconut wedding cookies

Oksana Charla

Coconut Mexican Wedding Cookies

Coconut Mexican Wedding Cookies


With their fluffy coating of powdered sugar, these cookies look like snowballs. For variety, roll them into mini logs. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or freeze for future use.


1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
⅔ cup unsweetened coconut or ground almonds
½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
-Confectioners’ sugar, for coating

See the full recipe for gluten free Coconut Wedding Cookies here.

Food editor Beth Hillson (, is author of Gluten-Free Makeovers.

Pastry Flour Blend


This blend produces very light pastries and gives cookies and cakes a very fine crumb. It makes more than you need for 1 recipe of Holiday Cookie Master Dough. Measure out the quantity you need from this and reserve leftovers to add to another batch of cookie dough.

¾ cup sweet white sorghum flour
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup white rice flour
¾ cup cornstarch
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum or guar gum
½ teaspoon salt

1. Whisk to thoroughly combine ingredients. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container until used.

Comments (3)

Thank you, Beth! You really took this in different directions & I love how versatile this recipe can be! A GF, nut-free linzer cookie? Mmmmm, I may have to buy another cookie cutter set (I gave mine to a gluten-baker after my son's diagnosis)!

I'm saving your recipe to try the shortbread, but plain as a bottom layer for the "twix" bar cookies I used to make from scratch. I haven't found the right recipe yet, but I think yours is just what I need!! Thanks again!

Posted by: | December 13, 2015 10:33 AM    Report this comment

A great peanut butter recipe:
1 cup of peanut butter
1 large egg
1 cup of sugar.

Mix all together. Spoon drops onto cookie sheet and flatten with fork.
(For extra sweetness or chocolatey flavor add semi sweet chocolate chips)
Bake at 350 until they are cooked through. Cool. enjoy!!

Posted by: Unknown | August 4, 2013 11:18 PM    Report this comment

I find no recipes for peanut butter cookies! Does anyone have one? Thanks!!!

Posted by: Victoria H | April 29, 2013 9:39 AM    Report this comment

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