Gluten-Free Holiday Cookies

Amy plunges into gluten-free cookies this week. Who could say no to that? — Denise

The winter holidays are all about tradition. Whether your family hails from Italy or India or Israel, how we celebrate is passed down from one generation to the next. This is especially true when it comes to food. Christmas without gingerbread, Hanukkah without latkes, or Diwali without gulab jamun? Just not the same!

When you are gluten-free, those traditions often need to change, sometimes in simple, small ways, and sometimes radically. And your family may not be able to give you advice on what to do. But you do have a family who can help: the gluten-free community on the Internet. Everyone who cooks is inspired by the winter holiday season and the gluten-free recipe blogs are no different. I’ve been tasting my way around for the last few weeks and have some delicious samples for you to try!


Gluten-free Cranberry-Maple Biscotti, inspired by Elana’s Pantry
Makes 8-10 biscotti


  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbs arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbs orange juice
  •  2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt and baking soda. Pulse until ingredients are well combined.
  3. Pulse in orange juice and maple syrup until the dough forms a wet ball. Pulse in cranberries.
  4. Form dough into a log 2-3 inches wide and 6-7 inches long on the center of the parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and cool for at least 1 hour. Turn oven down to 300 degrees.
  5. Slice cool log into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal with a sharp serrated knife. Spread slices out on baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool, set and become crispy.

Gluten-free Gingerbread Cookies, inspired by Eating Well
Makes 3 dozen 2-3-inch cookies 


  •  280 grams all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like King Arthur’s)
  • 140 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 4 Tbs butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg




  1. Make the cookie dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Beat oil, butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, then medium speed, beat about half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until incorporated. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated. The dough will be firm but sticky.
  3. Divide the dough into thirds. Place one third on a 12-inch-long sheet of parchment paper and shape into a disk. Top with a second sheet of parchment. Roll the dough out between the parchment into an 8-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough in the paper on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Freeze on the baking sheet until cold and firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Place another baking sheet in the freezer to chill too (it will be used under the dough as the cookies are cut out).
  4. Shaping & baking cookies: Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  5. Working with one portion of dough at a time, remove from the freezer and place on chilled baking sheet. Remove the top sheet of parchment and cut out cookies with 2 1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutters, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Transfer parchment to a baking sheet . Repeat with the remaining dough. (If the dough gets too soft, freeze until firm again. As you cut out cookies, set aside the scraps. Shape all the scraps back into a disk and reroll between parchment. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before cutting out.
  6. Bake the cookies on the center rack, one pan at a time, until browned on the bottom, 6 to 12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool. Decorate with icing as desired.


Gluten-free Chocolate Spice Cookies from America’s Test Kitchen
Makes about 42 cookies


  • 1 3/4 cups whole or slivered almonds
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Process almonds and confectioner’s sugar in food processor until almonds are very finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add chocolate, 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt and process until chocolate is finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add egg whites and vanilla and pulse until dough forms, about 10 pulses.
  3. Transfer dough to piece of parchment paper, kneading gently to form smooth ball. Let dough sit until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. Top with second piece of parchment paper and roll dough 1/4 inch thick; refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  4. Spread remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small shallow dish. Using a 2-inch star cutter, cut dough into shares, rerolling scraps and re chilling as needed. Dip stars in sugar to coat and space them 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies have puffed and cracked but centers are still soft, 13-15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

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