DessertDecember-January 2011

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Holiday Lemon Sugar Cookies


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Holiday Lemon Sugar Cookies

This reader-favorite recipe may be the best sugar cookies you've ever eaten. Not too sweet with just the right amount of lemon. The dough holds up to any rolling pin. Perfect for the holidays, they can be cut into spooky shapes and decorated for Halloween. They can be made egg free with good results.

1¼ cups Mary’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
½ cup tapioca flour/starch
1-⅓ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter or dairy-free substitute, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg or egg-free substitute
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon gluten-free lemon extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Set aside.

3. In the large bowl of a mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat for 3 minutes until mixture is a pale yellow.

4. Add in egg, vanilla extract and lemon extract.

5. Add dry ingredients, slowly mixing until dough forms. Place bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

6. Remove half the dough and roll out onto a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Use star shapes or other cookie cutters to cut out cookies and place them on prepared cookie sheets. Reroll scraps of dough. If dough becomes too sticky, chill again. Repeat with second half of dough.

7. Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes until light brown. Remove and let cool thoroughly before handling and decorating.

Note: Gluten-free egg replacer is available from Ener-G Foods,

Mary’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend


A combination of white and brown rice flour lightens the texture of baked goods. For a more nutritious mix with lower glycemic index, use all brown rice flour, a total of 4 cups flour.

2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups white rice flour
½ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔ cup tapioca starch/flour

Mix ingredients together. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.

Each serving contains 564 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 127g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 7g protein.

Royal Icing

1½ cups confections’ sugar
1 large pasturized egg white or powdered egg
    white mixed with water to equal 1 egg white
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon gluten-free lemon extract
- Food coloring

1. Beat sugar and egg white with electric beater.

2. Add lemon juice and lemon extract and beat until ingredients are incorporated.

3. Separate icing into small bowls and stir in a drop or two of different food coloring, as desired.

4. Chill icing until you’re ready to decorate cooled cookies. Spread icing on cookies, as desired.

Each cookie with icing contains 125 calories, 5g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 19mg cholesterol, 79mg sodium, 19g carbo-hydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein.

TIP For egg-free icing, replace egg white with 1½ teaspoons egg replacer mixed in 4 teaspoons warm water. Add mixture to sugar and proceed with recipe, as instructed.

Comments (13)

I recieved your magazine with this recipe in it, there is a misprint in the Dec/Jan 2011 magazine. It states 1/2 cup of potato starch (not potato flour). I was going to ask why my cookies are crumbing, I think I now know why. :( I wrote the correction (1 1/3 cup) in my magazine so I have the correct one for the next batch.

Posted by: Country_Girl | November 28, 2012 8:00 AM    Report this comment

error in recipe, may want to fix, thank you

Posted by: kathy B | June 16, 2012 8:01 PM    Report this comment

...Also, I didn't have lemon so I just used vanilla. I refrigerated the dough for 4 hours and they rolled out perfectly.

Posted by: Kristen A | February 13, 2012 11:28 PM    Report this comment

I just made these for my 10 yo sons Valentine Party tomorrow and he loved them. I live at a higher altitude (6200 ft.) but I didn't have to make any adjustments. I like a soft sugar cookie, however, so I only baked them for 10 minutes. They weren't as soft as I'd like but they were soft enough. I might try 8 minutes next time.

Posted by: Kristen A | February 13, 2012 11:26 PM    Report this comment

I am impressed. I made these for my daughter to take to school for herself during her class Valentine's party.

I substituted the egg with Ener-G, I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose GF flour and also used orange extract instead of the lemon. This is my first time trying this recipe, but it seems like everything turned out as it should because these cookies are yummy.

After the time in the fridge, the dough was easy to roll out and so far has been the easiest GF/CF/egg free baking attempt so far. I would definitely make these again and am looking forward to having my whole family try them. Thank you for a successful recipe!

Posted by: mkeeley | February 13, 2012 1:28 AM    Report this comment

One and one-third cups.

Posted by: LW Moderator | December 18, 2011 1:51 PM    Report this comment

It says "1-1/3 cup" potato starch in the cookie recipe. Does this mean one 1/3 cup or 1 1/3 cups potato starch?

Posted by: wondermama | December 18, 2011 12:34 PM    Report this comment

Has anyone tried it without the egg? If so, what substitute did you use? What was the outcome? Thanks!

Posted by: Nancy G | October 30, 2011 10:56 PM    Report this comment

I have made this recipe four or five times this season. It is extremely flexible - iced sugar cookies, linzer cookies, the base for raspberry-hazelnut and lemon squares. Every time, it got eaten by both the gluten free and gluten-eating crowd!

I baked them on a baking stone both with and without parchment paper. With parchment paper was a bit easier to remove to the cooling rack.

Posted by: Catherine K | December 30, 2010 1:46 PM    Report this comment

I just made this this morning....per Melissa's comments...I made everything last night and let the dough set-up. The icing is totally delish and the cookies are awesome. I am bringing a batch to my Christmas Eve noon yoga practice. Should be a big hit. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Posted by: vegasbaker | December 24, 2010 11:36 AM    Report this comment

I made these last night. They are truly the best sugar cookies I've ever eaten! Not too sweet, just the right amount of lemon.

Some notes: the dough was weak and sticky, even after refrigerating for an hour and a half. I finally rolled them under plastic wrap and cut them out directly on the parchment paper, then picked up the dough scraps. The parchment paper is crucial -- the batch I did on a greased cookie sheet stuck to the metal. I didn't salvage a single cookie from that sheet, but the crumbs tasted just as good.

With the parchment paper, this recipe is absolutely a keeper. I'm making another batch tomorrow -- maybe refrigerating the dough overnight will make it sturdier. Thank you, Mary!

Posted by: Melissa Davlin | December 21, 2010 6:23 PM    Report this comment

Hi Linda. It's a half cup of potato starch...and we've got the website corrected. Thank you.

Posted by: LW Moderator | December 13, 2010 2:01 PM    Report this comment

Would love to try these, but the recipe is incomplete. It says "1/2 potato starch". 1/2 what?

Posted by: Linda Wheeler | December 13, 2010 8:34 AM    Report this comment

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