St. George News 12 Days of Recipes: Check Out These Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies offer a healthy option for everyone, not just those who are gluten-free and/or vegan-friendly Location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Gene Cappillo, St. George News

Editor’s Note: For the 12 days before Christmas, St. George News is featuring staff members’ favorite holiday recipes. Here’s the latest installment.

scheduled tribe. george My sister-in-law Jenny Cappiello is affectionately known as “The Cookie Lady” in suburban New York City.

Jean Cappiello (back right), manning the cookie trays, oversees a cupcake and cookie decorating class, Nanuet, New York, date unspecified. Photo courtesy of Gene Cappillo, St. George News

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

A few years ago, Jenny and my brother John converted the kitchen of our home into a more industrial-sized but very warm and cozy cooking space, where Jenny’s mother “Omi” prepared many of the cookies. Her chocolate chip cookie recipe is hidden from view, taped inside a cabinet, safe like the memories she’s made over the years, reminding John, “Take one for your brother.”

I contacted Jenny, 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 brother, is almost impossible to replicate with the more traditional kind. ,

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

“As a child, I always remember my mom baking cookies during the holidays,” says Jenny. “One Saturday in December, my mom would let me choose one or two friends to come and cook with us.

“Over time my love for baking grew and so did food allergies in the family. My husband John and daughter Kayla are gluten-free. Both of my daughters, Kayla and Kristin, are crazy-free. And there’s me – I’m sometimes vegetarian or vegan. So how do you keep the family holiday tradition going?”

keep reading.

These sugar cookies offer a healthy option for everyone, not just those who are gluten-free and/or vegan-friendly Location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Gene Cappillo, St. George News

Sugar Cookies (gluten-free, vegan-friendly)


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

Icing for decoration:

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


  1. Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  2. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until mixed and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl if necessary. Add milk and vanilla extract, mix again.
  3. Gradually 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 shape it into 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 may be very difficult to take it out immediately, especially if it has been in the fridge for more than 3 hours).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Sprinkle a little gluten-free flour on a piece of parchment paper and place the chilled dough on top of the dough. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is ¾-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 dough pieces and continue rolling and cutting until all the dough is used.
  11. Sprinkle sugar over cookies, if using.
  12. bake cookies. For softer cookies, bake for 11-12 minutes, for crispier cookies, bake for 13 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring 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 use a small tip to decorate the cookies and sprinkle on top if desired.

Baking 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.

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