Sugar cookies rely on just a handful of ingredients and even minor adjustments can upset the balance. So when we plugged the test kitchen’s gluten-free flour blend into a recipe, we weren’t surprised that the cookies were starchy, greasy, and stale-tasting. To fix the greasiness, we cut back on the butter. But sugar cookies have such a simple flavor that eliminating any butter made the cookies too lean-tasting. We tried adding heavy cream and sour cream, but they made our dough thin, and it spread too much in the oven. Cream cheese, however, enriched the dough without making it loose. Replacing a portion of the flour blend with almond flour, as we did for our Gluten-Free Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, remedied the starchiness and gave our sugar cookies pleasing heft and chew. Do not shortchange the dough’s 30-minute rest or the cookies will spread too much and taste gritty. The final dough will be softer than most cookie doughs. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and as gently as possible when shaping the cookies.
- Yield: 24 cookies
- 8 ounces (1¾ cups) ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 4 ounces (¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons) almond flour
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 8¾ ounces (1¼ cups) sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Whisk flour blend, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum together in medium bowl; set aside. Place 1¼ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining ⅓ cup sugar in shallow dish and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in egg and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture with rubber spatula and mix until soft, homogeneous dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Dough will be sticky and soft.)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 2 soupspoons and working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, portion 6 cookies and place in sugar to coat. Roll each ball in sugar, then space 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in batches. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press each ball to ½-inch thickness. Sprinkle tops of cookies evenly with sugar remaining in shallow dish for rolling, using 2 teaspoons for each sheet. (Discard remaining sugar.)
- Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.