St. George News 12 days of Recipes: Check out gluten-free, vegan-friendly sugar cookies

These sugar cookies provide a healthy alternative for everyone, not just the gluten-free and/or vegan-friendly, location and date unknown | Photo courtesy of Jean Cappiello, St. George News

Editor’s note: In the 12 days leading up to Christmas, St. George News staff members’ favorite holiday recipes. Here is the latest installment.

St. GEORGE My sister-in-law Jeannie Cappiello was known around suburban New York City as “The Cookie Lady.”

Jean Cappiello (back right), who runs The Cookie Tray, facilitates a cupcake and cookie decorating class, Nanuet, New York, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Jean Cappiello, St. George News

What started as a labor of love involving donations to first responders, his church and volunteer groups, has become a tradition within a tradition, so to speak.

A few years ago, Jeannie and my brother John turned their kitchen at home into a more industrial but very warm and cozy place to cook where Jeannie’s mom, “Omi “. Her chocolate chip cookie recipe was out of sight, tucked inside the cabinet, as secure as the memories she’d made over the years, reminding John, “Get one for your brother.”

I reached out to Jeannie, now the owner of The Cookie Tray, for a sugar cookie recipe, and she provided her gluten-free, vegan-friendly version, which, according to her and my sister, is almost impossible to distinguish from the more traditional type. .

But it is from the original tradition and some other factors that this version is derived.

“As a child, I always remember my mother baking cookies during the holidays,” Jeannie said. “One Saturday in December, my mom let me pick one or two to come and bake with us.

“Over time, my love of cooking grew and so did food allergies in the family. My husband John and daughter Kayla are gluten-free. My daughters, Kayla and Kristin, are no nuts. And there I am – I’m vegetarian or vegan sometimes. So how do you continue the family holiday tradition?”

Continue reading.

These sugar cookies provide a healthy alternative for everyone, not just the gluten-free and/or vegan-friendly, location and date unknown | Photo courtesy of Jean Cappiello, St. George News

Sugar Cookies (gluten-free, vegan-friendly)


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (241g) gluten-free flour (*See note below)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, arrowroot starch or potato starch
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup / 1 stick (113g) unsalted vegan butter, slightly softened (*See note below)
  • cup (100g) granulated sugar (or organic cane sugar)
  • 4 teaspoons unsweetened nondairy milk (*See note below)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sanding sugar (optional)

Icing for decoration:

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • gel food coloring
  • sprinkled


  1. In a medium bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Toss to combine and set aside.
  2. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed. Add milk and vanilla extract, blend again.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed with your electric mixer until a dough forms.
  4. Place the dough ball on a piece of waxed paper and form a disk. Wrap the dough disk and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. It can be very difficult to roll out immediately, especially if it has been in the fridge for more than 3 hours).
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  8. Dust a piece of parchment paper with a little gluten-free flour and place the chilled dough on top of the flour. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is -inch thick.
  9. Cut out shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of space between cookies.
  10. Gather the scraps of dough and repeat rolling and cutting until all the dough is used.
  11. If using, sprinkle cookies with sanding sugar.
  12. Bake cookies. For softer cookies, bake for 11-12 minutes, for crispier cookies, bake for 13 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating.

To make the icing:

  1. Add all the icing ingredients to a small mixing bowl and mix until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more milk, a teaspoon at a time.
  2. Add color gel, if desired.
  3. Fill a piping bag with icing and using a small tip, decorate the cookies and top with sprinkles, if desired.

Cooking notes:

  • I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Flour.
  • For vegan butter, I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.
  • For non-dairy milk, I use Plant Oat Unsweetened Original.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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