St. George News 12-Day 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 by Jean Cappiello, St. George News

Editor’s note: 12 days before Christmas, the St. George News offers our staff’s favorite holiday recipes. Here’s the latest batch.

ST. GEORGE My sister-in-law Jeannie Cappiello is affectionately known in the New York suburbs as “The Cookie Lady.”

Jean Cappiello (back right), manning the Cookie Tray, supervises the cupcake and cookie decorating class, Nanuet, New York, date not specified | Photo by Jean Cappiello, St. George News

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

A few years ago, Jeannie and my brother John converted their home kitchen into an industrial-sized, but very warm and cozy kitchen where Jeannie’s mother “Omi” made many cookies. Her chocolate chip recipe is hidden from view, taped to the inside of the cabinet, as safe as her memory for many years, reminding John, “Get one for your brother.”

I reached out to Jeannie, now the owner of The Cookie Tray magazine, for a sugar cookie recipe, and she provided her gluten-free, vegan-friendly version, which she and my brother say is virtually impossible to decipher from the more traditional kind. .

But this version was due to the original tradition and a few other factors.

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

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

Continue 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 by Jean Cappiello, St. George News

Sugar cookie (gluten-free, vegan-friendly)


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

Frosting for decoration:

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


  1. In a medium bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Mix and set aside.
  2. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until combined and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add milk and vanilla extract, mix again.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until a dough is formed.
  4. Place the ball of dough on the waxed paper and shape it into a disk. Wrap the dough sheet in cling film and put it in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
  5. Take out of the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. It may be too difficult to roll right away, especially if it has been in the fridge for more than 3 hours).
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Line the cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  8. Sprinkle some gluten-free flour on the baking paper and place the cooled dough on top of the flour. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is a centimeter thick.
  9. Cut out shapes and place on prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch space between cookies.
  10. Collect the dough scraps and repeat the rolling and cutting until all the dough is used.
  11. If using, sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar.
  12. Bake cookies. For softer cookies, bake for 11-12 minutes, for crispy cookies, 13 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating.

Making the frosting:

  1. Add all the frosting ingredients to a small bowl and mix until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add milk a teaspoon at a time.
  2. If you want, add color gel.
  3. Fill the frosting bag and decorate the cookies with a small tip and, if you want, sprinkles on top.

Baking notes:

  • I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1-1 flour.
  • For vegan butters, I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.
  • For non-dairy milk, I use Plant Oat Unsweetened Original.

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